With all of this talk of going to Mars, NASA might have another planet in mind as well: Our nearest neighbor, Venus. Only 26 million miles from Earth (compared the the 33.9 millions miles from Earth to Mars) Venus is about the same size as Earth — and that’s where the similarities end.
Venus’ atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide and the average surface temperature is more than 860 degrees Fahrenheit. Those factors, along with many others, make the surface of Venus totally inhospitable to humans.
But, NASA is thinking of sending humans to Venus…just not on the surface.
A program called “High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC),” hopes to send a small floating flotilla to the high-altitude skies above the boiling-hot planet.
According to iflscience.com, the crafts would be situated about 31 miles above the surface of the planet and remain there for about 30 days.
“The mission requires less time to complete than a crewed Mars mission, and the environment at 50 km is relatively benign, with similar pressure, density, gravity, and radiation protection to the surface of Earth,” NASA said of the potential mission, in a press release.
The lighter-than-air craft would be used to garner broader understanding of the planet named for the Roman goddess of love, and potentially expand humanity’s quest to explore the heavens — beyond our current realm of possibility.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond