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What would you need to survive on Venus?
Question Date: 2013-12-18
Answer 1:

You would need oxygen because Venus atmosphere has none---only CO2 (carbon dioxide. This is because the temperature at surface of Venus is about 800 degrees Fahrenheit The surface of Venus is like a strong capsule because the pressure of the atmosphere is about 100 times that on earth, and this pressure would crush your chest in about 5 seconds or less.

Answer 2:

The temperature on the surface of Venus is so hot that there is no way that we know of that would enable a person to survive there for long. The pressure is also enough to crush any diving suit, but not enough to crush many submarines, but the submarines would still be roasted by the temperature. There are ways that the sulfuric acid could be dealt with (including that the sulfuric acid clouds are high up and not near the surface). Really, the big obstacle is just the temperature.

Answer 3:

That's a neat question. Let's start by thinking about what we need to survive anywhere: We need to breathe, not be too hot or too cold, be able to move around, and be able to come home again.

Venus has an atmosphere that is mostly carbon dioxide. So you would need to bring oxygen in your space ship to be able to breathe.

Carbon dioxide also happens to be a "green house gas," meaning that it absorbs the sun's warmth and heats up the atmosphere. Venus is closer to the sun than the earth is, so it is very hot and this carbon dioxide combined with Venusian winds makes it hot even if you are on the shady side of the planet.

So, how hot? It's about 450 degrees Celsius. This is definitely much hotter than it naturally gets in most parts of Earth's surface (except maybe volcanoes), but humans create furnaces that generate this much heat and even more, so we know what kinds of materials could withstand these temperatures.

But even if your space ship can stand the heat, you still need to keep cool. You would need a very large source of energy to power an air conditioner. This is where some problems come in:

You could use solar power, but solar cells don't operate well at high temperatures and don't generate much power to begin with.

You could bring a fuel like gasoline to burn and try to generate electricity to run your air conditioner. But normally when we do this on Earth, the heat from burning fuel is used to evaporate water into steam, and the steam spins a turbine (a wheel) to generate your electricity. BUT, if you are on Venus, chances are that all of your water has already evaporated in the heat.

But assume we engineer a system that can provide enough energy for at least a short visit to Venus, what other problems might we encounter?

The atmospheric pressure on Venus is very high--almost 100 times more than on Earth. This pressure has crushing power, and your space ship would need to be made of materials that can stand high heat while also being strong enough not to crush.

The atmosphere is so thick that it would be difficult for your space ship to move around, so even if you don't move while you are on the planet, taking off again would require very large amounts of energy that again would need to be supplied.

In short, you would need many many things to be able to survive on Venus. Organizing the technologies to ensure a safe trip would take many years of preparation and the safety would probably still be uncertain, but I guess we'll see what the future holds!

Thanks for the question. It was fun to think about!

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