NASA Envisions Floating Settlements Above Venus

NASA's High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) program will feature an evolutionary exploration of Venus' atmosphere that could one day lead to semi-permanent colonies.

High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (a.k.a. HAVOC) sounds a lot like a plot point from a 1970's James Bond film. But unless NASA decides to turn into an evil SPECTRE-like organization, don't expect Roger Moore to step in anytime soon.

HAVOC refers to an as-of-now theoretical project from the American space agency that strives to explore and potentially colonize Venus' atmosphere. Here's how Sravanth Verma of Digital Journal describes it: 

"The High Altitude Venus Operational Concept or HAVOC project plans to create a city of multiple zeppelins, floating 31 miles up in the Venetian atmosphere at a temperature of 167 degrees Fahrenheit. That is only 17 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than Earth's highest recorded temperature, and probably easier to deal with for current technology than Mars' chilly -81 degrees.The NASA project will first send a robotic scout to test the environment before sending a 30-day manned mission in a helium airship."

NASA has released a promotional video on YouTube (embedded below) to highlight HAVOC as a way to explore Venus:

"The atmosphere of Venus is an exciting destination for both further scientific study and future human exploration. A lighter-than-air vehicle can carry either a host of instruments and probes, or a habitat and ascent vehicle for a crew of two astronauts to explore Venus for up to a month. 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."

Read more at NASA and Digital Underground

Photo credit: NASA

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