As Musk Looks to Go to Mars, NASA Looks to a Manned Venus Mission

Digital Illustration of Planet Venus

Scientists at NASA are proposing a manned mission to Venus that would involve the use of a dirigible-type craft in order to study the planet’s atmosphere and deploy probes to its surface. Astronauts brave enough to accept the mission would spend a month in the Venusian atmosphere, setting the stage for missions involving more permanent residence in the future.

While a number of NASA probes have orbited and collected data from Venus, only Russian probes have landed on its surface. One of the Venera missions’ probes lasted just over two hours on the planet, due to its intense surface pressure – 92 times that of Earth – and heat reaching up to 864 degrees Fahrenheit.

But the latest mission proposal, dubbed HAVOC, or High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, intends to send a space blimp, as it were, to hover in the upper reaches of Venus’ atmosphere, while astronauts collect data. The blimp would unfold after being deployed from a rocket, shielding it from the intense heat upon entry. The blimp’s material will then have to withstand the planet’s harsh atmosphere, which consists of a dense haze of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid.

So, why would NASA want to study such an inhospitable planet? Surprisingly, air in the higher altitudes of Venus (roughly 30 miles up) is similar to air on Earth. With 20 percent oxygen and 70 percent nitrogen, the air is conducive to keeping NASA’s interplanetary zeppelin afloat, while providing breathable oxygen for its crew; air that actually has a higher oxygen content than what we breathe on Earth.

NASA is also interested in studying the planet’s atmosphere because it represents the runaway greenhouse effect, which could help us better understand the future of our climate and atmosphere.

The temperature at the intended cruising altitude is still pretty hot, reaching up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, though it’s far cooler than the infernal landscape below that could melt lead.

This proposal seems as if it could be, in part, a response to SpaceX’s mission to Mars that has reignited public excitement in space travel and astrophysics. And while both NASA and SpaceX regularly work in a cooperative function, there definitely seems to be some subtle competition between the two. And a manned mission to Venus would do more than just steal some of SpaceX’s thunder, it could build support and momentum for NASA’s own manned Mars mission.

If the plan ever comes to fruition, HAVOC’s next phase would involve more permanent floating structures in the Venusian atmosphere where scientists could spend years living and working, if they had the courage. Then soon enough, Venus may have to be renamed Bespin, as science fiction, once again, prefaces reality.


Watch David Wilcock explore the hyperdimensional evolution of Venus in this episode of Wisdom Teachings:

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