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Terraformed Venus

Venus Terraformed

This is a simulation of what one would expect to find on a terraformed Venus, using formulas from Math And Terraforming. Please note that not even the supercomputers at NASA can provide us with a perfect simulation. The information showed here is only an approximation.

Basic data Edit

  • Distance from Sun: 108.208 million km
  • Diameter: 12104 km
  • Solar Constant: 3.779
  • Mass: 0.815 Earths
  • Mean density: 5.243 kg/l
  • Orbital period: 225 Earth days
  • Synodic period (day length): 584 Earth days
  • Rotation axial tilt: below 10 degrees

Atmosphere Edit

See Atmosphere Parameters

Data varies, depending on what type of atmosphere we want to have. Venus has many low-altitude plains and in some aspects can be considered a Plain Planet. This will allow air currents to circle more easy.

Now, Venus has a dense atmosphere. It might not be possible to reduce atmospheric pressure to a similar level with Earth. For this simulation, we will consider atmospheric pressure at sea level to be five times higher then Earth's.

Important: Venus rotates very slow in one direction, but its atmosphere rotates fast in the other direction. Some scientists described Venus even as a tidal locked planet because the energy of both movements counterbalance each other. So, if we remove 95% of the atmosphere and the remaining will circulate slower, we might actually slow the rotation period. In that case, terraformed Venus will rotate much slower and a day might last about 30 Earth years. We will analyze both cases in the following simulation.

  • Atmosphere stability for oxygen molecules:
    • Earth's gravity (15 degrees C): 4.116
    • Venus's gravity (15 degrees C): 4.44
    • Venus's gravity (50 degrees C): 4.98
  • Atmosphere stability for water molecules:
    • Earth's gravity (15 degrees C): 7.320
    • Venus's gravity (15 degrees C): 7.90
    • Venus's gravity (50 degrees C): 8.86
  • Atmosphere stability for hydrogen molecules:
    • Earth's gravity (15 degrees C): 65.88
    • Venus's gravity (15 degrees C): 71.09
    • Venus's gravity (50 degrees C): 79.72

notes: A value below 10 means stability for over a million years, a value between 10 and 100 means stability between 0.1 and 10 millions of years, while a value higher then 100 means stability for less then 10 thousand years.

This calculation does not include solar wind erosion.

Conclusion: The atmosphere of Venus is stable for both oxygen and water vapors, below and above the anti-greenhouse layer. On a lengthy period of time, UV radiation will remove hydrogen, which is less stable. The planet appears to be able to hold its water for a long period of time.

The atmosphere will look like this:

  • Ground average temperature: 15 degrees C
  • Surface pressure at sea level: 5
  • Atmosphere total mass (Earth = 1): 2.24
  • Atmosphere breathable height: 9 km
  • Atmosphere total height: 32 km

Temperature Edit

Main article: Temperature.

Once we remove the dense, carbon dioxide rich atmosphere, Venus will cool down. The Solar Constant is still high (3.779), compared to Earth (1.98), but manageable. Anti Greenhouse Technology provides us with a few solutions. Anti Greenhouse Gasses exist and might be suitable for Venus, because there is not much light we need to reflect. Micro Helium Balloons, a principle described in a Soviet sci-fi novel, could also be a solution. There are many other alternatives. The Greenhouse Calculator shows us that Venus needs to reflect about half of the light it receives from the Sun.

Climate Simulation Edit

Main article: Climate.

On Earth, the average temperature is +15 degrees C. The anti greenhouse technology will try its best to keep this average temperature for Venus too.

Venus has a diameter similar to Earth. This will make difficult for air masses to travel long distances. On the other hand, the absence of massive Geographic obstacles and the fact that the atmosphere is denser, will allow for the air to mix faster, cooling hot areas and bringing heat to the cold regions.

Average temperatures for each latitude:

  • poles: 9 C
  • 75 deg: 14 C
  • 60 deg: 16 C
  • 45 deg: 18 C
  • 30 deg: 19 C
  • 15 deg: 20 C
  • equator: 21 C

One can notice that, surprisingly, an atmosphere 5 times denser then Earth's and wind speeds 3 times higher then on Earth can create a very nice climate pattern.

For an atmosphere as dense as Earth's, we have the next values:

  • poles: -29 C
  • 75 deg: -4 C
  • 60 deg: 5 C
  • 45 deg: 13 C
  • 30 deg: 19 C
  • 15 deg: 24 C
  • equator: 29 C

Day - night cycle variation:

Venus has a very long day (584 Earth days). Because of this, there will be significant temperature differences between day and night.

  • Daily temperature variation: 28 degrees C
  • Equator day-night variations: 0 to 28 degrees C
  • Near pole day-night variations: 7 to 35 degrees C.

Assuming an atmosphere with the same density as Earth's, values change dramatically:

  • Daily temperature variation: 69 degrees C
  • Equator day-night variations: -5.5 to 63 degrees C
  • Near pole day-night variations: -38 to 34 degrees C.

If rotation period is linked to atmospheric movement, then a day will increase to 32 Earth years. In such conditions, temperature variations between day and night will be the same.

Seasons:

Venus has a very small axial tilt, so that seasons are almost unnoticeable.

Conclusion. Venus will have an unique climate. Assuming an atmospheric density of 5 bars, Venus will have a moderate climate. Close to the poles, it might occasionally snow in the long nights. However, even at the equator, it will never be as hot as a summer day around the Mediterranean Sea.

On the other hand, assuming an atmospheric density similar to Earth, temperatures will drop around the poles low enough to allow ice caps to form. During night, it will snow at the equator, while polar regions will experience -40 C. During day, it will be pleasant to live close to the poles, but around the equator it will be too hot for humans to survive. This temperature variation will keep powerful winds blowing.

As the planet already has a circular wind pattern, we can expect that to remain after terraforming. Venus will have a strong and permanent wind, that will make climate very predictable.

Assuming a dense atmosphere, humans will be able to survive more easy. If the atmosphere has a similar density with Earth's, humans will need to migrate periodically.

Geography Edit

See also: Geography, Geographic Pattern - Erosion and Geographic Pattern - Tectonic.

Venus is mostly a Plain Planet. Altitudes are low, which allows atmospheric currents to freely circulate. It has some hills and mountains, but usually they are not high. There are a few natural valleys.

Oceans. On Venus, there will be a global ocean, that will help meliorate temperatures. In most part, it will be shallower then Earth's oceans. Because of this, Venus can be considered a Shallow-oceaned planet. A planetary ocean has the advantage that it mixes temperatures. However, because it will be shallow, it will not have the same effect as Earth's oceans.

Basically, there will not be much land around the poles. So, even if some ice might form (if atmospheric pressure is low), there will not be many ice caps.

Rivers. Venus has some natural valleys, which are supposed to be made by flowing lava. The rivers that might form will use these natural canals. In addition, water that will start to flow on the surface will build its way through erosion and sedimentation, creating canyons and silting lakes. The process will not be too violent, because of the low altitudes involved.

Mountains. Places with high altitude will have a different climate. Because atmospheric pressure will be lower, mountains will experience very hot days and extremely cold nights. In addition, mountains that block air currents can feed large rivers.

Deserts & wet lands. Winds will usually blow in a single direction. Air will gain moisture from the ocean and will lose it when it encounters natural barriers. If a large continent is crossed by an air current, deserts can form.

The Sky Edit

The sky will be blue. If the atmosphere is denser then Earth's, then stars in the night sky will not be as visible as they are on Earth.

We don't know what Anti Greenhouse Technology will be used. This technology might create a haze that will reflect visible light, allowing infrared to pass, further diminishing visibility. A very interesting scenario, depicted in a Soviet sci-fi novel, is of Venus having a sky that changes color between red and blue, with many intermediate colors.

Still, assuming the sky will allow settlers to see celestial bodies like we see here on Earth, the sky will be interesting.

  • The Sun will appear 10.2 units wide (like an object 10.2 mm wide will appear if you look from a distance of 1 m, see Angular Size for details).
  • Mercury will have a Magnitude of -7 to -4.
  • Earth will have a magnitude of -8 to -4.
  • Moon will have a magnitude of -5 to -1.
  • Mars will have a magnitude of -1.7.
  • Jupiter will have a magnitude of -2.
  • Saturn will have a magnitude of 0 to +1.5, depending on ring phase.

Human Colonies Edit

  • Population limit: 2336 million
  • Land population feeding capacity: 156 people fed from one square km
  • Largest city supported by environment: 9 350 000 people

Assuming it will have similar types of terrain Earth will have, Venus can support a Population Limit of 2336 million people.

As one can see, assuming atmospheric density is 5 bars, Venus will have a friendly climate. People will be able to stay in their towns during both day and night.

But, at a pressure of 1 bar, things will be different. Close to the poles, surviving the cold night will be difficult, while at the equator, it will be almost impossible to resist the hot days. People will have to migrate. Given the length of the equator, people will have to travel 65 km every Earth day, to remain in the twilight. However, if rotation speed is correlated with atmospheric behavior and the day will become 32 Earth years long, people will have to travel 3 km daily.

Industry Edit

Venus has all the ingredients to become a new Earth. Even in the early 70's, space probes detected radioactive materials on the surface. The exact composition of the crust is not clearly known because of the dense clouds, but certainly Venus has various minerals. This can support an industry probably as powerful as Earth's. On the surface and in the crust there are metals, silicates (suitable for making cement and building) and significant amounts of sulfur.

The high gravity limits the exports Venus will send throughout the Solar System. Instead, the industry on Venus can focus itself on making small products, like microchips, medicine and small electronics, which are lighter.

The main source of energy should be wind turbines, since Venus has strong and continuous winds.

Agriculture Edit

On Venus, seasons are in fact correlated with the day-night cycles. Days are long enough for plants to develop and mimic the seasons on Earth. So, Venus will most of sure produce all the food its inhabitants will need.

Transportation Edit

First of all, Venus will not have a single continent. Unlike Earth, where it is possible to build a road crossing all continents, on Venus, this will never be possible. So, each continent will have its own separate infrastructure. The oceans will allow cargo to move around. Airplanes can use the very predictable air currents.

Venus has long-term stable orbits and that will allow the construction of the Venus Space Station. On the surface, one or more bases need to be built, to handle passenger and cargo traffic. Trade Routes to other planets allow flight windows to occur usually at less then an Earth year.

It is impossible to have a geostationary satellite around Venus. There will be a suite of satellites used for telecommunications, that will circle the planet on various orbits.

If the anti-greenhouse technology chosen is to use space mirrors and lens, this will dramatically affect space vehicles. Other solutions, like micro helium balloons, will block radio signals.

Tourism Edit

Venus will not offer spectacular views. Still, the beaches, with long days, can be touristic attractions. Touristic resorts will have to move from place to place as the day-night cycle will change.

The name Venus, associated with the goddess of love, can be a motto to build touristic destinations. Still, tourism will never be the main source of income for the economy.

A major challenge is that Venus will attract settlers and tourists only from Earth. Other celestial bodies will avoid this destination because of the high gravity.

Wild Life Edit

It is very interesting to see what can survive on Venus. Basically, we have three climate simulations, each one with different conditions.

  1. Dense atmosphere (5 bar). In this situation, temperature never drops too low, but also never rises too high. Plants and animals can live without any problem during the day. During night, some plants might think it is winter and will prepare themselves. However, as long as it is not cold enough, plants will try to grow, to catch light... which does not exist. Many plants will not survive, while some animals will die of starvation.
  2. Earth-like atmosphere (1 bar). In this situation, plants and animals will adapt like on Earth in temperate regions. They will associate morning with spring, noon with summer, evening with autumn and night with winter. The night will be long and cold, forcing plants to lose their leaves and animals to hibernate. However, around the equator, there will be a major problem. Temperature at noon will rise to 60 degrees C, killing many animals and starting many fires. Vegetation will be destroyed and hardly will recover in evening.
  3. Long day simulation. If day length is correlated with atmospheric movement, then, after terraforming, rotation period will further decrease to roughly 32 Earth years. This will cause nights to last 16 years, too much for animals to hibernate. Because there will be isolated continents, animal migrations will be impossible and they will die. Trees will not survive the winter, but their seeds will do. Many insects will also survive. In this situation, humans will have to pick plants and animals and move them to other continents.
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