Human beings have had their eyes on Mars for a long time and many studies have been carried out on the red planet. It is known that there was a day that had conditions similar to those of the Earth, enormous rivers of water, and probably once in its life it would have been a perfectly habitable planet.
The latest discoveries of Mars are not few; Ice has been found in the subsoils of the planet and there are reasons to believe that it could harbor small microorganisms, which would confirm the existence of life on Martian lands.
But Mars is a dead planet, it is desert, its temperatures are enormous and it is loaded with a hype cancerous level of solar radiation. So much so that each grain of dust can become poisonous. The only viable possibility is to install ourselves underground, away from all radiation and sunlight, in complete darkness.
But Mars does not have to be the only possible alternative to colonize and establish bases on another planet, in fact Mars is a hypopsychroplanet, it is not even among the best candidates to be habitable planets. But it is the only one in the habitable zone of our Solar System that meets the best possible conditions in terms of temperature. The other two are Mercury and Venus, two potentially deadly planets for humans.
But Venus could also be a possible alternative.
When we talk about Venus we are talking about the hottest planet in the Solar System, with a temperature of 463.85 ℃. Its atmospheric pressure is strong enough to crush a soda can, its entire volcanic surface is highly active, and to further encourage hope, it rains sulfuric acid. And he could still be a possible candidate.
The key to all of this is that the problem with Venus is on its surface, not its atmosphere. In fact, one of the reasons is that the ground level is well below the level one of the atmosphere, unlike the Earth, a reason that influences its wild conditions. This means that the atmosphere of Venus can be more friendly to humans, in other words; you could live there.
To begin with, a space suit would not be necessary except as a precaution, at most an oxygen tank and a mask to be able to breathe without problems. At the top of Venus, the atmospheric pressure and temperature are comparable to those of Earth. In addition, the atmosphere of Venus itself is already responsible for burning the vast majority of meteorites that enter its orbit, something that we cannot boast of on Mars.
Of course and an important fact to keep in mind, Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth and especially than Mars, what happens then with solar radiation? The atmosphere of Venus is highly dense and makes any observation of the surface impossible; imposing cloudy conglomerates that cross its skies at high speeds, going around the planet in just 4 days. These huge clouds of the Venusian planet are responsible for repelling and absorbing much of the solar radiation, leaving it in conditions similar to those on Earth.
Gravity wouldn’t be a problem either. On Mars its gravity would cause all kinds of physical problems and complicate the growth of children and young people. Contrary to Venus, whose gravity is 90.4% like Earth’s.
And a larger gravity well means less deceleration in orbit needed to travel there. This is another advantage to consider, Venus is closer and it only takes 97 days to get there, as opposed to the 7 months it takes to get to Mars.
From Bespin to Venus
And how could we do to settle colonies on Venus? The only scientifically supported alternative is the one offered by NASA scientist Geoffrey A. Landis. His vision is for aerostatic habitats based on the idea that breathable air is a rising gas in the atmosphere of Venus. In other words, habitats held in the air by huge and gigantic balloons, something very worthy of the most classic steampunk. But not crazy either.
Still, if Elon Musk says he wants to settle colonies on the Martian surface, why shouldn’t we dream big too? Let’s build floating cities on Venus, let’s make Bespin a reality. After all, it is a dream that human beings have pursued for many years, and there are already those who are looking to develop a first prototype.
One of the most important aspects is that thanks to the proximity to the Sun, solar panels would be much more efficient, up to 40% more than on Earth and 240 times more than on Mars. Building floating cities with sustainability based on solar panels and nuclear reactors (the only other viable energy source) doesn’t sound as far-fetched as getting to Mars, digging in the ground and building a colony.