Have you ever wondered how wonderful would it be to have another earth-like planet. How wonderful would it be to migrate to that planet or at least to go on a vacation to the planet? You may be thinking that I may be talking about some other exoplanet which may be a few light years away from the Earth. No, I am not talking about any exoplanet, neither am I talking about Mars. With almost the same gravitational force as of Earth and given its proximity to Earth, Venus is not a bad place to be (well, at least after it has been terraformed). ‘Terraforming Venus! But its way too hard.’ You may think. And I agree. It is hard; And that’s what makes it so exciting.
Venus has long been neglected as a potential second Earth as opposed to Mars and has failed to capture the imagination of scientists and visionaries alike. While it’s true that Mars is a much easier place for humans to consider a settlement and should therefore be given the first priority, it turns out that the idea of terraforming Venus is not that farfetched as well.
Terraforming Venus requires the overcoming of four major obstacles. Decrease the temperature, decrease the atmospheric pressure, create a breathable air and create liquid water. However, these problems are interconnected and scientists do have solutions for these, at least, theoretically.
Putting aside all the challenges of Venus for a while and assuming that mankind is able to terraform both Mars and Venus, which planets would the humans prefer to settle in? I guess the answer would be Venus. The one advantage that stands out in favour of Venus is its similarity of gravitational force (90% of Earth’s gravity) with Earth. Having the same gravitational force as Earth, its not required to have any artificial gravity, which is created by spinning wheels, to maintain weight. Moreover, unlike Mars, it is more likely to hold on to its atmosphere. Gravity is really important as evolutionary scientists have found out it’s role in the formation of physical structure of every living being. The height, the muscular structure, the agility and the lightness of body of all the plants and animals owe to the gravity of Earth. Living in Venus for generations has less chances of altering any living being in any significant way and thus will maintain its affinity with Earthlings.
With visionaries like Elon Musks and the likes set to colonize Mars, it is only a question of time that the mission is accomplished. After having human settlement on Mars, the next inevitable question that is bound to be asked is where next? Well, with no solid surface to land on and with a distance of almost five times that of the sun from earth, Jupiter does not offer the best option given our current technological advancement. The same goes to the other gas giants like Saturn, Neptune and Uranus; neither are the moons of these planets which are too small in size. So the only realistic option that remains is Venus.
Over the decades, concerns have been expressed over the human space exploration and with such ambitious projects as terraforming Mars or Venus there will be a few eyebrows raised. While the ethical concerns over the suffering of a vast majority of people cannot be downplayed and need to be resolved, it is also equally important that humans do not confine themselves until these problems have been resolved. I mean, consider the Columbus discovery of America. Spain did have problems back then and it still has problems. On the contrary I think those voices should be sympathetic as becoming multi planetary also means the insurance of human survival over a longer period of time. The Earth’s history is filled with a number of asteroid impacts which have wiped out almost all life forms.
My enticement with Venus is due to the prospect of being able to stand on a solid ground without any protective suit and walk without the fear of being hit by a deadly cosmic radiation. Shining brightly over the western sky just after dusk Venus has always fascinated dreamers like me. Described as the goddess of love and beauty in the ancient Roman mythology, Venus however, has turned out to be a hellish land with sweltering temperature. Though its present condition does not resemble the title, I believe Venus is destined to justify this title one day in the future.