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From: mbclapp@aol.comSkipSpam (Mitchell Burnside Clapp)
Subject: Re: Venus exploration
Date: 07 Mar 2000 03:25:24 GMT

The fun fact to notice in the context of Venus exploration is that there is a
spot in the atmosphere there that is both 300K and one bar pressure. Because
the atmosphere is mostly CO2, air as we breathe it is buoyant there.

So imagine if you will a gaseous envelope with air inside. It can float around
Venus and permit the crew to oberve the planet in both pressure and temperature
equilibrium with their surroundings.

The breathable air can be enriched by various ISRU technologies, which are
enhanced by the availability in decent concentrations of both water vapor and
nitrogen gas, both of which are scarce on Mars.

Furthermore, there are at least three sources of industrial levels of power:
Solar (flux under the clouds is about the same at Earth's surface), thermal
gradient (drop a line down into Hell and use the heat differential), and wind
gradient (go fly a kite!). So power is more available, resources are more
available, and the life support burden is drastically reduced. You get global
mobility for free, because you take a lap of the planet every four days.
There's a possibility of using bathysphere technology and perhaps open loop LN2
boilout to make a brief sortie to the surface, drop probes, and do some
seismology, which at Venus is potentially a very interesting question.

Case for Mars? What about a Case for Venus?

One snag: Getting home. The delta-V is pretty high and then you have to do the
whole interplanetary thing. I haven't got a quick answer to that one yet.

Still, it's fun to think about. It'd make a dandy place to hide from alien
invaders, or perhaps to set up a penal colony.....(SF authors, if you use this
idea make me a minor character, that's all I ask.)

Mitchell Burnside Clapp
Pioneer Rocketplane
"The glass is neither half full nor half empty. It is twice as large as it
needs to be."

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