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(io9)   Should we terraform Venus first?   (io9.com) divider line 114
    More: Interesting, greenhouse effect, magnetosphere, positive feedback, sulfur dioxide, James Oberg, runaway greenhouse effect, reflecting telescopes, GMO  
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4534 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Oct 2012 at 11:00 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-12 10:33:47 AM
I imagine we could probably harvest a lot of energy from Venus
 
2012-10-12 10:56:31 AM
Nah, let's do Serena first.
 
2012-10-12 11:03:31 AM
It's called a shake and bake colony.
 
2012-10-12 11:09:06 AM
Sure, we'll get there, but all we'll find is a little girl for us to thrill.
 
2012-10-12 11:12:24 AM
Mars is too far from the sun and too small to be a place for us to live. Venus is too close to the sun. Making sure we don't trash Earth is what we need to do. Star Trek is never going to be real.
 
2012-10-12 11:14:25 AM
Or maybe we are already terraforming this plant for some other species.

/I'm not saying it was aliens, but...
 
2012-10-12 11:15:01 AM

spelletrader: Or maybe we are already terraforming this plant planet for some other species.

/I'm not saying it was aliens, but...


FTFM
 
2012-10-12 11:15:44 AM
She could probably use a bit of landscaping around the bikini area, but "terraform" is fairly harsh, and I just hope is not a racially-motivated term.
 
2012-10-12 11:17:03 AM
Except for the severly toxic atmosphere we could never live in... yeah, Venus would be great. You just go first and let me know how it works out.
 
2012-10-12 11:18:00 AM
Sure, first we will have to hit it with a big rock just right so that it speeds up and bleeds some of that nasty atmosphere into space.
 
2012-10-12 11:18:59 AM

macdaddy357: Mars is too far from the sun and too small to be a place for us to live. Venus is too close to the sun. Making sure we don't trash Earth is what we need to do. Star Trek is never going to be real.


I like how the author starts with "As a future terraforming species". Fark, we can't even get a hockey season underway.

/bitter
 
2012-10-12 11:23:01 AM
I think that the reverse logic is more likely. Instead of creating technology to terraform Venus then using it to reverse climate change on Earth, we develop technology to reverse climate change or at least allow a portion of the population to survive it, then with that technology in our tool belt, Venus will seem a more attractive site for colonization.
 
2012-10-12 11:23:07 AM

Calmamity: Nah, let's do Serena first.


This is a dumb, dumb joke. And yet I laughed and laughed and laughed.
 
2012-10-12 11:24:12 AM

Lego_Addict: macdaddy357: Mars is too far from the sun and too small to be a place for us to live. Venus is too close to the sun. Making sure we don't trash Earth is what we need to do. Star Trek is never going to be real.

I like how the author starts with "As a future terraforming species". Fark, we can't even get a hockey season underway.

/bitter


I told my co-workers that since I can't grow a playoff beard this year, I'm going to start growing one for every set of training classes I have to run. Each set of classes runs seven weeks, and since I'm Scottish/German, I can probably be in full on ZZ Top mode by then
 
2012-10-12 11:26:50 AM

Slaves2Darkness: Sure, first we will have to hit it with a big rock just right so that it speeds up and bleeds some of that nasty atmosphere into space.



That already happened back in 2003, when that icy comet smashed into Venus (remember?) ... then we started sending colony ships over in 2007 (c'mon, you really don't remember?).

By 2089, there's gonna be millions of people living there, on two separate continents ; they'll probably go to war with each other. Maybe they'll call it ...

thanmoreseries.files.wordpress.com

/an under-appreciated  anime classic
 
2012-10-12 11:32:34 AM
Terraforming is a terrible idea. If it doesn't seem dumb the more you think about it, think harder.

If you have the capacity to transfer large populations to another planet, you have the technology to have them all live comfortably indoors, in very large structures, or underground. Or just live in space, where there's plenty of space. Terraforming is a ridiculously long-term, inefficient use of resources.

Mars is a perfectly good planet. Its main issue is the low gravity. Insolation really isn't an issue for any civilization that can move large numbers of people there from Earth.
 
2012-10-12 11:33:41 AM
Let me just throw out some numbers. You have to get rid of 89 Earth atmospheres of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. You have to bring in several oceans worth of water to replace what's been lost. Don't forget that you're deep in the solar gravity well, which makes all that harder. Then you have to cool an entire planetary surface by at least 500 degrees Kelvin. You have to somehow deal with solar flux 2.4 times that of Earth. And either you just live with a 243 Earth-day rotation or you have to somehow speed up the rotation of an entire planet. Sure, Venus is a better sized planet for long-term viability of the atmosphere. But it's a really crappy place to terraform.

Compare that with Mars. You need to add two Earth atmospheres (you need some extra for gradual loss, for radiation shielding and for greenhouse effect). You need to warm an entire planet by 50 degrees Kelvin. You need maybe an ocean's worth of water. Rotation is fine. Maybe you need to put in to place some safeguards to keep the atmosphere up (maybe putting comets into orbits that cause them to impact every 50,000 years to replenish volatiles), but it's a much easier deal.
 
2012-10-12 11:45:04 AM
Miranda.
 
2012-10-12 11:47:03 AM
DRTFA, although a study of Venus can be beneficial to keeping up Earth's atmosphere.

Also, to those who are pooping all over the idea that living on other planets is a silly concept, so was having a space station, going to the moon, having telephones so small you can carry them around in your pocket... If it does happen, it will never happen in our lifetimes.
 
2012-10-12 11:48:22 AM

Grapple: Except for the severly toxic atmosphere we could never live in... yeah, Venus would be great. You just go first and let me know how it works out.


I think it would be easier to live on / change a world with too much toxic atmosphere than on a world with to thin an atmosphere.
 
2012-10-12 11:49:47 AM
Why terraform it at all? Just build an extensive underground city. Power it with solar panels on the surface or something. Much simpler.
 
2012-10-12 11:53:09 AM

noazark: Slaves2Darkness: Sure, first we will have to hit it with a big rock just right so that it speeds up and bleeds some of that nasty atmosphere into space.


That already happened back in 2003, when that icy comet smashed into Venus (remember?) ... then we started sending colony ships over in 2007 (c'mon, you really don't remember?).

By 2089, there's gonna be millions of people living there, on two separate continents ; they'll probably go to war with each other. Maybe they'll call it ...

[thanmoreseries.files.wordpress.com image 380x532]

/an under-appreciated  anime classic


Just checked IMDB. You may have just found me something to do this weekend.
 
2012-10-12 11:55:58 AM
I just read a sci-fi short story that is about this exact topic so I am getting a kick.
 
2012-10-12 12:01:45 PM

AngryPanda: Also, to those who are pooping all over the idea that living on other planets is a silly concept


Why dive down into another gravity well? There should be more practical options.
 
2012-10-12 12:06:50 PM
Wouldn't be easier to "terraform" (I realize this is an incorrect term because I'm talking about Earth) the parts of Earth that we consider uninhabitable (deserts, the arctic, the ocean) than to colonize another farking planet or moon?
 
2012-10-12 12:14:41 PM
It's an impracticable goal post that we shoot for realizing we will never get there.

We will invent cool technology along the way though.

Terraforming Venus or Mars is the exact same thing as throwing away your son or daughter because you think trying turn a piece of black burnt bacon into Natalie Portman is a plausibility.
 
2012-10-12 12:20:26 PM
Should we maybe focus on actually getting ourselves to Venus first?
 
2012-10-12 12:20:36 PM

macdaddy357: Mars is too far from the sun and too small to be a place for us to live. Venus is too close to the sun. Making sure we don't trash Earth is what we need to do. Star Trek is never going to be real.


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-10-12 12:30:04 PM
No?

images.danbirchall.multiply.com
 
2012-10-12 01:03:02 PM

Mr_Fabulous: Calmamity: Nah, let's do Serena first.

This is a dumb, dumb joke. And yet I laughed and laughed and laughed.


New question: tennis player or Sailor Scout?
 
2012-10-12 01:12:17 PM

mikefinch: I think it would be easier to live on / change a world with too much toxic atmosphere than on a world with to thin an atmosphere.


Is it easier to add two atmospheres or remove eighty-nine? Is it easier to heat up a simple pressure suit or cool an armored undersea diving suit that's immersed in sulfuric acid hot enough to melt lead?
 
2012-10-12 01:24:26 PM

theorellior: mikefinch: I think it would be easier to live on / change a world with too much toxic atmosphere than on a world with to thin an atmosphere.

Is it easier to add two atmospheres or remove eighty-nine? Is it easier to heat up a simple pressure suit or cool an armored undersea diving suit that's immersed in sulfuric acid hot enough to melt lead?


Tums
 
2012-10-12 01:46:58 PM
mankind will long since be extinct before we have the technology to terraform anything
 
2012-10-12 01:58:08 PM
Why not just terraform both planets? Why create this dichotomy?
 
2012-10-12 02:17:07 PM

Mugato: Wouldn't be easier to "terraform" (I realize this is an incorrect term because I'm talking about Earth) the parts of Earth that we consider uninhabitable (deserts, the arctic, the ocean) than to colonize another farking planet or moon?


Yes and no.

We certainly have access to the deserts, arctic areas, and oceans right now, and we have the technology to live there, although that's more building sealed enclosures than actual terraforming.

However, to try and terraform the currently inhabitable areas would have severe effects on the rest of the planet. Deserts are deserts because they don't naturally get much water. We can pipe in water, but that reduces the water that other areas have available, and potentially dries up nearby rivers and lakes, again having bad effects on the nearby areas.

If we were to warm up the arctic areas enough to actually live there easily... well, that's called global warming, and I think that's been discussed enough already.
 
2012-10-12 02:27:45 PM

Ramien: Mugato: Wouldn't be easier to "terraform" (I realize this is an incorrect term because I'm talking about Earth) the parts of Earth that we consider uninhabitable (deserts, the arctic, the ocean) than to colonize another farking planet or moon?

Yes and no.

We certainly have access to the deserts, arctic areas, and oceans right now, and we have the technology to live there, although that's more building sealed enclosures than actual terraforming.

However, to try and terraform the currently inhabitable areas would have severe effects on the rest of the planet. Deserts are deserts because they don't naturally get much water. We can pipe in water, but that reduces the water that other areas have available, and potentially dries up nearby rivers and lakes, again having bad effects on the nearby areas.

If we were to warm up the arctic areas enough to actually live there easily... well, that's called global warming, and I think that's been discussed enough already.


I understand that and it would be hard to teraform the rest of the world. All of the desert can't be Las Vegas. But even if we had to build domes or underwater habitats, it's be easier than colonizing other planets.
 
2012-10-12 02:30:35 PM

RandomAxe: If you have the capacity to transfer large populations to another planet, you have the technology to have them all live comfortably indoors, in very large structures, or underground. Or just live in space, where there's plenty of space. Terraforming is a ridiculously long-term, inefficient use of resources.


Yep. If we can terraform, we can almost certainly build a habitat with a few acres of solar panels large enough to house a significant number of humans. Put it inside Venus's orbit and it would have virtually unlimited energy, which makes closed system recycling practical.

If you're really ambitious you can add a particle scoop facing the sun to collect a few kilos of new mass every year.
 
2012-10-12 02:42:12 PM
Even if you were to shield Venus from extra sular energy, a day on Venus is 243 earth days, which is actually longer than the Venutian year. Venus has been impacted by something large enough to stop it's rotation, not so long ago. It has been completely resurfaced as well by the impact. This is why Venus is so much hotter than the Earth. An impact, not a runaway greenhouse effect has caused the current conditions on Venus.
 
2012-10-12 02:50:42 PM

macdaddy357: Mars is too far from the sun and too small to be a place for us to live. Venus is too close to the sun. Making sure we don't trash Earth is what we need to do. Star Trek is never going to be real.


The saddest part of this is that I'll likely be dead before his is proven wrong, so I won't be able to point and laugh at you.
 
2012-10-12 02:52:52 PM

RedVentrue: Even if you were to shield Venus from extra sular energy, a day on Venus is 243 earth days, which is actually longer than the Venutian year. Venus has been impacted by something large enough to stop it's rotation, not so long ago. It has been completely resurfaced as well by the impact. This is why Venus is so much hotter than the Earth. An impact, not a runaway greenhouse effect has caused the current conditions on Venus.


ER... no. Venus is still rotating, that's why it has a day. It is rotating slowly, but rotating nonetheless. How on Earth you can say it has a day and then say it's rotation has stopped is beyond me.

The impact did not resurface the planet, and that statement is preposterous. An impact resurfaced an entire planet? What hit it? Farking Neptune? Nonsense. It was resurfaced by volcanism, which also accounts for the greenhouse effect.
 
2012-10-12 02:54:28 PM

Grapple: Except for the severly toxic atmosphere we could never live in... yeah, Venus would be great. You just go first and let me know how it works out.


That's what terraforming is for, to alter the atmosphere. It happened on Earth when the atmosphere was heavily oxygenated, facilitating the invasion of land and explosion of life on Earth.
 
2012-10-12 02:57:10 PM

Der Poopflinger: mankind will long since be extinct before we have the technology to terraform anything


We could do it now. The issue is not technology, it is political will.
 
2012-10-12 02:59:37 PM

RedVentrue: This is why Venus is so much hotter than the Earth.


Lol. Right. It has nothing to do with its proximity to the sun...
 
2012-10-12 03:00:27 PM

theorellior: Let me just throw out some numbers. You have to get rid of 89 Earth atmospheres of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. You have to bring in several oceans worth of water to replace what's been lost. Don't forget that you're deep in the solar gravity well, which makes all that harder. Then you have to cool an entire planetary surface by at least 500 degrees Kelvin. You have to somehow deal with solar flux 2.4 times that of Earth. And either you just live with a 243 Earth-day rotation or you have to somehow speed up the rotation of an entire planet. Sure, Venus is a better sized planet for long-term viability of the atmosphere. But it's a really crappy place to terraform.

Compare that with Mars. You need to add two Earth atmospheres (you need some extra for gradual loss, for radiation shielding and for greenhouse effect). You need to warm an entire planet by 50 degrees Kelvin. You need maybe an ocean's worth of water. Rotation is fine. Maybe you need to put in to place some safeguards to keep the atmosphere up (maybe putting comets into orbits that cause them to impact every 50,000 years to replenish volatiles), but it's a much easier deal.


You would also need to generate a global magnetic field on Mars, not so simple.
 
2012-10-12 03:01:20 PM

Honest Bender: RedVentrue: This is why Venus is so much hotter than the Earth.

Lol. Right. It has nothing to do with its proximity to the sun...


Actually he is right. It is the atmosphere. Mercury is closer but you wouldn't want to sunbathe on the night side.
 
2012-10-12 03:10:04 PM
Teraforming isn't possible to do without MASSIVE capacities like the ability to move the planets to a safe distance.

In order for venus to be teraformed it would have to be moved further out, close enough to perturb earth and it would need a moon added during the trip so as to keep the core molten.

This doesn't even begin to address the chemical makeup of the planet being completely wrong or the need to blow the current atmosphere completely off.
 
2012-10-12 03:18:49 PM

Honest Bender: RedVentrue: This is why Venus is so much hotter than the Earth.

Lol. Right. It has nothing to do with its proximity to the sun...


Venus has a VERY slow retrograde spin as compared to the all the other planets in the Solar system. What happens when you hit a spinning object at an oblique angle against the direction of it's spin? The spin stops or reverses depending on the size and trajectory of the impactor. Venus has an amosphere density of 65 kg/m³, as compared to earth's 1.217 kg/m3. Density and pressure have a large effect on how much heat an atmosphere can hold. You can't compare then extrapolate Earth GW to Venus GW as the conditions are very different.
 
2012-10-12 03:20:51 PM

prjindigo: Teraforming isn't possible to do without MASSIVE capacities like the ability to move the planets to a safe distance.

In order for venus to be teraformed it would have to be moved further out, close enough to perturb earth and it would need a moon added during the trip so as to keep the core molten.

This doesn't even begin to address the chemical makeup of the planet being completely wrong or the need to blow the current atmosphere completely off.


That or build a solar shield the size of the planet. You would still be crushed by the atmosphere.
 
2012-10-12 03:36:04 PM

prjindigo: Teraforming isn't possible to do without MASSIVE capacities like the ability to move the planets to a safe distance.

In order for venus to be teraformed it would have to be moved further out, close enough to perturb earth and it would need a moon added during the trip so as to keep the core molten.

This doesn't even begin to address the chemical makeup of the planet being completely wrong or the need to blow the current atmosphere completely off.


As long as we are playing God with the SS. Why not swing Mars in system into orbit around Venus? Mars warms up, and Venus gets a new moon. I imagine the final orbit would have to be much farther out than the Earth/ Moon orbit.
 
2012-10-12 03:36:06 PM

Bubbageegee: You would also need to generate a global magnetic field on Mars, not so simple.


That's why I gave the terraformed Mars 2 Earth atmospheres of air. The lesser gravity would keep the surface pressure manageable, and the extra air would shield better against solar radiation.
 
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