NASA believes the next place humans could inhabit would be above Venus, in solar-powered airships that would be full-fledged functioning cities in the air.
NASA has been focusing a vast majority of their research and energy on understanding Mars, and possibly examining whether the Red Planet could support life today, or even could support life at one time. However, the powers to be at NASA believe that as it relates to putting human life on another planet – the answer is Venus instead of Mars. While the Red Planet may seem like the obvious choice, Venus is actually significantly better for a number of reasons.
First though it has to be understood what exactly NASA is aiming to do. They’ve coined what they want to create at Venus as a “Cloud City,” and it will be almost exactly as it sounds. It all revolves around the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, or HAVOC, and it’s a spacecraft that is still in the conceptual design phase. Scientists would be able to sit in the HAVOC spacecraft, just above the acidic clouds of Venus, and collect information from the planet.
The craft would likely sit 30 miles above the surface, and at that height – Venus doesn’t differ that much from Earth. A slightly lower gravity, and an atmospheric pressure that rivals Earth as well. The temperature would be around 75 degrees Celsius – which would be uncomfortable, but not something a trained astronaut manning the mission couldn’t handle.
The missions would start out as educational, to really learn more about the planet and how it functions – but after that would be to develop a long term plan for a group of people to live and provide permanent housing. Even better, the technology that is going to be used on this type of craft already exists, or is exceptionally close to being in existence. Meaning, the technology that would be used to make this type of craft happen – would not be technology years, and years out.
However, they did note that this would take at least a decade, or two to come to fruition. The spacecraft would also house a 130 meter Zeppelin that would be filled with helium, and solar panels for power taking advantage of the Sun. The spacecraft’s would essentially be like floating blimps above Venus, and would ultimately pave the way to making science-fiction come to fruition.