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Would we be able to breathe on Venus?
Question Date: 2019-03-07
Answer 1:

The atmosphere of Venus is primarily composed of carbon dioxide, which is toxic to breathe for humans. In addition to this, the temperature at the surface of Venus is about 450°C so it would be way too hot for human life. To top it all off, the surface pressure is about 90 atmospheres, or 90 times the pressure on the surface of Earth. So, it would be very unlikely for humans to survive for very long on Venus.

Best,

Answer 2:

We can breathe on Earth because our bodies are used to the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere (there is about 21% oxygen in our atmosphere). Venus has an atmosphere with 96.5% carbon dioxide, 3.5% nitrogen, and traces of other gases. Since Venus does not have the oxygen we need, we would not be able to breathe there unless we bring our own oxygen tanks.


Answer 3:

Unfortunately we would not be able to breathe on Venus. Humans need oxygen to live, but the atmosphere on Venus is made up of carbon dioxide and thick clouds of sulfuric acid. Even if we wore oxygen masks, the temperature on Venus is way too hot for us to live on it. The surface of the planet is about 870 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to melt lead! Venus’ gravity is 91% of Earth’s, so you would be able to jump a little higher and objects would feel lighter. However, the atmosphere is so thick that moving around would feel like you’re in water.

Atmospheric pressure on earth is about 14.5 pounds per square inch, which is called a “bar”. On Earth the pressure is 1 bar, but on Venus it’s 92 bars, so it would probably crush us instantly! In conclusion, we would not be able to live on Venus because we couldn’t breathe the air, it would be too hot, and the air pressure would be too heavy.


Answer 4:

The atmosphere on Venus is very different from that of Earth. The composition is ~96.5 vol% CO2 and ~3.5 vol% N2 (vs. Earth's 78% N2, 21% O2, and 1% trace other gases). It has a temperature of around 900°F (480°C), compared to about -129 to 140°F (-89 to 58°C) on Earth, and the pressure (at ground level) is around 1300 psi (900 N/m2), which is 90 times that of Earth.

Surviving by breathing this atmosphere would be problematic for a few reasons. First, the composition. While there would be nothing wrong with the mechanical processes of breathing a gas of the composition of Venus' atmosphere, most living organisms ( anaerobes excluded) require oxygen for cellular respiration to release the energy stored in food. Because the Venusian atmosphere contains negligible oxygen, breathing only this gas would cause cellular function to cease and death would occur within a few minutes.

Next is temperature. Using the results of this study as a guide, the temperature would cause damaging burns after fractions of a second. The temperature is also roughly the same as that reached during the pyrolytic cleaning cycle of a common home oven, so it is safe to say that exposure for too long would be fatal. ( Pyrolysis is basically the process of burning off everything that isn't carbon. The cleaning cycle heats up enough that the non-carbon elements in cooking residues (grease (i.e., fat), sugars, etc.) are separated and a carbon powder remains.)

The pressure of the atmosphere poses a number of issues. Assuming "on Venus" to mean standing on the surface of the planet, then the sheer weight of the atmosphere would crush an unprotected human: at more than 1300 lbs per inch, the weight from the air would be far greater than any human could withstand. Even the tank-like craft of the Venera missions survived for minutes to a few hours at most. If one were to suddenly appear on the surface in some sort of armored suit but with lungs full of Earth's 14.7 psi air and inhale, the pressure difference (inside the chest cavity vs. outside) would result in a force of more than 20,000 pounds exerted on the rib cage, greater than what bone can withstand (but not by that much apparently). If the pressure inside and outside were increased slowly to prevent such a large difference, breathing would be possible - diving regulators do this for deep-sea divers, thereby allowing them to breathe under the pressure of several atmospheres. At such high pressures, gases from whatever atmosphere is being breathed become concentrated in the bloodstream (according to Henry's Law ) and can cause a multitude -- of -- issues, even for gas with a composition like Earth's atmosphere.


Answer 5:

No. Venus' atmosphere is made of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and sulfuric acid, none of which are breathable.


Answer 6:

Nope - the atmosphere would be quite deadly. We wouldn't be able to breathe on any planets except Earth, or on any of the moons.



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