NASA develops the concept of a Grand mission that will take people to Venus. The astronauts will live in the clouds above the planet’s surface, flying in high-tech airships.
As shown by many missions of the last decades, Venus is a world of hellish temperatures, toxic atmosphere and incredible pressure on the surface. Despite this, NASA is working on the concept of human mission to Venus, called High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, or HAVOC, writes naked-science.
How is this mission even possible? The temperature on the surface of the planet (about 460 degrees Celsius) higher than on mercury, even though Venus is nearly twice as far from the Sun. This is above the melting point of many metals. In addition, the planet is relatively young in a geological sense: not so long ago, she survived a catastrophic event, triggered by the accumulation of heat beneath its surface through which it is melted, releasing the heat, and then froze.
However, NASA has no plans to pull the enemy earthlings on the surface of Venus. On the contrary, the Agency is planning to use its dense atmosphere, as the basis for research. No dates for missions of the type of HAVOC has not yet announced. HAVOC – long-term plan, which depends on a small test missions. In principle, the mission is possible even with the current technology.
Scientists plan to use airships that can stay in the upper atmosphere of Venus for a long time. As strange as it may sound, the upper atmosphere of Venus is so zeleboba place in our Solar system. At a height of 50 to 60 kilometers above the surface the pressure and temperature similar to the regions of lower atmospheric layers of the Earth. At a height of 55 kilometres, the pressure of the atmosphere of this planet is about half the pressure of the Earth. The temperature at this altitude varies between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.
The atmosphere above this layer is also dense enough to protect the astronauts from ionising radiation from space. A closer location to the Sun provides more solar radiation than the Earth (at least 1.4 times more), which can be used to generate energy.
The conceptual airship will fly over Venus, not falling under the influence of wind. The airship can be filled with a mixture of such gases as oxygen and nitrogen, to provide buoyancy. This mixture is lighter than the atmosphere of Venus, and thus be able to raise the unit up.
The atmosphere of the second planet of the Solar system, 97 percent of carbon dioxide, in the remaining three percent of the contained nitrogen and small amounts of other gases. Also present is sulfuric acid, which forms dense clouds and makes the planet so bright when observed from Earth. This cloud layer is located at altitudes between 45 and 65 kilometers and at an altitude of about 30 kilometres and below the formed droplets of sulfuric acid. Given this, the airship needs to be resistant to its corrosive effect.
Already developed the technology necessary to overcome the problem of acidity. Certain materials, including Teflon and some plastics, have a high degree of acid stability and can be used for the external layer covering the airship.
Of course, Venus is still much that is not known, although it is our nearest planetary neighbor. If the mission of HAVOC takes place, we can learn a lot about it. In the end, understanding why two planets so similar that a different past, we can do more to study the evolution of the Solar system and possibly the evolution of other stellar systems.