Let’s Fix Venus

Venus wants to kill you.


With its sulfuric acid clouds, dangerously high atmospheric pressure, absurdly high surface temperature, et cetera, et cetera, Venus has more options for killing humans than any other planet in the Solar System. But maybe we can fix that. Maybe we can make Venus more like Earth.

To terraform Venus (or any other planet) we must do two things:

-Add stuff that we need to survive, like water and oxygen.
-Remove or mitigate conditions that would harm us.

Most discussions on terraforming seem to overlook that second part, perhaps because the biggest threats to life-as-we-know-it are not always immediately obvious.

Turning Venus into Earth

Converting Venus’s noxious atmosphere of CO2 and sulfuric acid into a friendly oxygen/nitrogen mix will require some creativity. Since I’ve never personally terraformed a planet (yet), I can only guess about the tools required; but my educated guess is that some sort of bioengineered algae would work best.

We’d need something that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. Algae already do this. We’d need something that can endure prolonged exposure to sulfuric acid and solar radiation. Some species of bacteria can do that. We’d also need something that can survive, at least at first, in a high temperature environment where water is scarce. Again, life on Earth has already shown that this is possible. We just have to design a new species that puts all of these qualities together.

Once our bioengineered algae start gobbling up Venus’s CO2, removing Venus’s primary greenhouse gas, a process of global cooling should begin. Cooler temperatures would disrupt the sulfur cycle, so the sulfuric acid clouds would start disappearing on their own, and traces of water vapor in the upper atmosphere would be able to condense into liquid water.

Admittedly, this liquid water would only result in a few puddles, so we’d still have to transport in more water. Also, I’m not sure how to deal with the atmospheric pressure. But still, we’re off to an amazing start. Unfortunately, Venus has other plans.mr11-terraformed-venus

Turning Venus Back into Venus

I sometimes joke that I want to live on Venus because I’d have so many more hours in my day to get stuff done. From sunrise to sunset, a day on Venus is over 2,800 hours long.

Venus has an abnormally slow rotation. In fact, compared to the rest of the Solar System, Venus is rotating backwards (the only planet weirder than Venus in this regard is Uranus, which rotates sideways).

2,800 hours of daylight can have some peculiar effects on a planet, especially an Earth-like planet. The oceans that our algae worked so hard to create would soon boil. Water vapor would act as a greenhouse gas. The planet’s carbon cycle would come to a grinding halt, allowing CO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere once again, and the rising temperatures would kick start a brand new sulfur cycle.

Without constant efforts by us to maintain cool temperatures on Venus, the planet would rapidly turn back into its old self. In the end, Venus kills you.


UPDATE: The length of a day on Venus has been corrected in this post.  According to this article from Universe Today, the time from sunrise to sunset equals 116.75 Earth days (which comes out to 2,802 hours).  I apologize for my previous mistakes, in which I stated a figure of 1,400 hours and, before that, a mere 60 hours.

Written by James Pailly.

Visit James Pailly’s blog – Planet Pailly – for more articles about Mercury and the Solar System.

  • Leonardo Faria

    When finally we’ll get the technological wherewithal to terraform Venus by converting its obnoxious atmosphere with bioengineered algae I’d venture the guess that even to discipline global warming on Earth is going to be a cakewalk 🙂

  • John H Reiher Jr

    Well, if we could create bacteria or algae that can knit a graphene sheet instead of sequestering the carbon in their corpses, we might have a mineable resource afterwards. Graphene is transparent, so it’s a viable choice.

    As for water… well we could drop several water ice asteroids on Venus. We could impact those asteroids such that they add to Venus’ rotation and speed up it’s day. Now, I’m not saying we could get a normal 24 hour day, but we could make it 2780 hours…

    • Leonardo Faria

      RE: “We could impact those asteroids such that they add to Venus’ rotation and speed up it’s day”

      We should also slow down the rainfall of asteroids with some kind of control on the gravitational field as to reduce their kinetic energy and prevent that their mass pierces the solid surface of the planet causing another untimely and troublesome global resurfacing event.


      But in good planning I trust.

  • Peter Hanely

    I figure if you wanted to teraform Venus you’d start with a sun shade to cool it. Surface rocks should chemically absorb much of the CO2 and sulphuric acid given enough time. Then find enough comets to impact obliquely to spin up the planet.

    • michael pulleine

      i can see your profile picture. BEGONE FOUL DWARF AND TAKE YOUR SQUISHY PSEUDO SF WITH YOU!!!!!!!

  • Dan

    Before you can speculate about changing Venus you have to calculate energy and material costs. This requires hard math and engineering calculations. I’ve posted energy and mass numbers elsewhere but most people just don’t get it, using some silly idea they’ve heard elsewhere to hand wave my numbers away. So instead I’ll give the BASIC energy equations to do the energy and mass calculations. If you don’t want to do the hard math it’s not my problem.
    1-to get air to permanently leave an atmosphere you must accelerate it to escape velocity. Kinetic energy equals 0.5 times mass times velocity squared. Avoiding the math by speculating about chemically converting the air to something else is just mind masturbation without proposing a viable chemical process to do it and estimating the Gibbs free energy needed. Otherwise you might as well talk about praying to little blue fairy’s to give you the chemicals needed.
    2-Speeding up the day cycle. Putting mirrors and shades to make an artificial day/night cycle is so lame. Once again it requires energy and mass to create the shades/mirrors. Also they will not be stable given the solar wind and micrometeor erosion. I wouldn’t bet the life of a planet on one of those things. The kinetic energy to rotate a planet is 0.5 times the angular moment of inertia times angular velocity squared. This is basic physics. The good thing is that by throwing the air away at a velocity vector parallel to the planet surface you can speed up the planet in the opposite direction with the same energy. If you propel the entire atmosphere of Venus away at escape velocity the rotation increases to approx 3 earth days.
    3-Getting raw materials to Venus. Orbital mechanics is complicated. But fortunately the total orbital energy of a mass in orbit is equal to 0.5 times the mass times the orbital velocity squared. Subtracting the orbital energy of an object from the orbital energy of that same object at the orbit of Venus allows you to estimate the energy needed. You can cheat by saying your’e going to go to the Kriuper or Oort cloud and knock an iceteroid just right so it hits Venus but then you’re stuck with the question of how to get your nuke,rocket, whatever out there to do your dirty work and how to PRECISELY aim your hunk of stuff so it hits your target. Also you’ll be delivering a massive amount of heat energy to Venus when it hits. Venus doesn’t need more heat.

  • Christmas Snow

    There is a scientific article showing that Venus’s slow rotation contributes to a lower temperature compared to what it might have gotten to. The high albedo of the cloud cover allows Venus to receive less energy to its surface. It is the CO2 that causes the greenhouse effect. The gas releases less energy than it should.


    The article states Venus could remain habitable if rotation remains slow. Fast rotation creates global weather “bands” with cloud gaps allowing too much heat through them. It is best (and easiest) to keep the slow rotation. We still have to deal with the atmosphere.

    Atmospheric engineering is just one step, and you need to add a minimal amount of water to create the clouds which will reflect more heat back into space. Sequestering the carbon in the atmosphere to release oxygen is problematic, because you should keep the carbonaceous product stable when it falls down to the hot surface. Otherwise, it will combust in the presence of oxygen and move back into the atmosphere.

    One hope (I suppose) is nanotechnology, especially one based on carbon nano-tubes. The idea of self-replicating robots extracting carbon from the atmosphere for growth and replication is a self-sustaining “eco”system, albeit a man-made one. The robots can be engineered to stay afloat in the dense atmosphere. They don’t have to be able to fly, they just need a buoyancy bladder storing oxygen, a gas less dense than the current atmosphere.

    • Dan

      It’s an interesting article. The concept is counter-intuitive but the science seems solid. There is an additional scientific concept that may go a long way to provide a good ‘set point’ for a habitable Venus and that is the idea of maintaining Venus in a ‘dry’ state. Apparently water, while necessary for life and providing a mechanism for atmospheric heat transfer also is a greenhouse gas as significant as CO2. A relatively dry planet may have an ability to maintain habitable temperatures at a closer continuously habitable zone (CHZ) distance from the sun than an ‘aqua’ planet like the earth.


      A dry planet as described in the article need not be entirely dry of course. Local sources of water would be available especially at the poles but not the world girdling oceans we see on earth. The fictional planet Arrakis from the Dune series might be considered an example. The article suggests that Venus may have been such a ‘land planet’ one billion years ago before the increase in solar flux pushed it over the edge into a runaway greenhouse. Of course a runaway greenhouse event DID occur and now CO2 dominates the planetary atmosphere. How to reverse it? Well I ran a simulation on my Universe Sandbox application with the atmosphere of Venus reduced to 0.5 of Earth’s pressure. Even with the albedo reduced to 0.65 from the current 0.8 I was able to obtain a stable average surface temperature of 30 C within a century, a bit warm but well within bearable temperature for technology assisted humans. Of course the application uses rather simple modeling algorithms but it shows what may be possible. Removing that mass of atmosphere is still a challenge. A thing about nanobots. I’m sure the little buggers are going to one day be very useful, but today they sound too much like blue fairy dust. Sprinkling them on a problem like terraforming Venus is a bit like wishful thinking and magic. Sort of like our optimistic beliefs about atomic energy, lasers and computers when they first came out. Now if a REAL expert on nanotechnology were to describe the energy and mass requirements and give a real example or at least a prototype of a machine that will do what you have in mind I may be interested. Otherwise it’s all nonsense.

      • Peter Hanely

        Greenhouse gas theory is politically correct BS. The surface of Venus is hot because of the immense quantity of atmosphere pressing down.

        • Dan

          Immense quantity of atmosphere + gravity pulling it down to a planetary surface = pressure not temperature. This is why handicapped children should never be allowed to play with sharp objects.

          • Peter Hanely

            I take it you’re not familiar with adiabatic compression and lapse rate. Heat transfer in the dense lower atmosphere is dominated by convection, not radiation, making the IR blocking of “greenhouse gases” relatively insignificant.

            • Dan

              Parroting scientific words from a climate change denial website is not the same a understanding them. Adiabatic compression heating such as pumping up a tire is a transitory phenomenon. Afterwards the heated air cools down until it is again in thermal equilibrium with it’s surroundings. Venus has been in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings for hundreds of millions of years. Now the adiabatic lapse rate (air gets cooler with altitude) and the greenhouse effect work together to give Venus it’s radical temperature vs altitude gradient. The thick atmosphere just multiplys that fact. That’s why the searing surface is hotter than airless Mercury.

            • Peter Hanely

              Still starting with insults and inflammatory language?

              The transitory effect you describe ignores the gravitational potential gradient and the fact that atmosphere is not static. Lapse rate is an effect of compression and expansion with altitude. Otherwise convection would bring the atmosphere to much closer to equal temperature with altitude.

              The undeniable FACT is that the global circulation models lauded by the IPCC ignore multiple important effects and FAIL to reflect reality.

              Pardon my anger, but this greenhouse gas fallacy is being pushed to support policies that ruin economies and will kill people.

            • Dan

              Adiabatic lapse occurs in theoretically thermally isolated cells. It’s not really a rate as much as it is a gradient. In fact the lapse rate on Venus is not really adiabatic since convection and radiation occur. At the surface the vertical movement of gas is very slow so absorption and emission of infrared from carbon dioxide molecules predominate as a heat transfer mechanism. A searing dark calm where infrared takes a long time to get to higher altitudes. At higher altitudes where high velocity winds occur convection and reflectivity predominates. That’s how you get earth normal temperatures at 50 km. This is basic planetary science. If you want to believe something different and think you’re smarter than 99% of climate scientists be my guest. There are plenty of people who think evolution and heliocentric theory are liberal conspiracies as well.

            • Eric Voorhies

              First of all, arguing with the IPCC’s predictions for future climate change ON EARTH and arguing about the atmospheric models of VENUS are entirely different animals.

              The existence of the greenhouse effect was well established based on fundamental science long before the present climate change issue arose.

              If you want to hack at the science behind people saying “more greenhouse gases on Earth will heat the Earth,” do so. But don’t waste time trying to debunk the greenhouse effect altogether; you’ll lose.

              Or can you point to reputable published studies WITH NUMBERS, you know, actual math and physics, talking about how the greenhouse effect is not needed to explain why Venus is hotter than Mercury when Mercury gets four times as much sunlight per square meter of its surface?

            • The Greenhouse effect has been proven since the existence of,you guessed it, Greenhouses. That’s an enclosed environment translucent to light, both visible and invisible.
              However to say that it is the Greenhouse effect that is solely responsible for the environmental conditions on Venus is perhaps not the answer.
              Typing in capital letters to hammer your opinions home, won’t really help your case. It rather underlines a certain inability to conduct a discussion in an objective fashion.
              Perhaps a few sessions in a debate group might be indicated, to illustrate that any subject can be discussed without the need for emotionally charged statements.
              Would you not agree that a discussion revolving about the subject might be more productive in terms of coming to a consensus and even a vehicle to bring your opinions and viewpoints across in a conductive manner?

              As for Venus, The Greenhouse effect may indeed a major contributor to the climatic conditions on our sister planet, however I assure you the final verdict on all the exact causes has not been reached by any scientific body or community.
              Just a hint:
              The surface of Venus is dominated by volcanic features and has more volcanoes than any other planet in the solar system. I can assure you volcanoes and volcanic activity is a major contributor to climatic conditions. Just look a few billion years back, Earth atmosphere went through some major changes.

              But I am always eager to learn and I like to hear about your sources and more so about your own scientific work, perhaps a published paper?
              Otherwise one might come to to the conclusion you to parroted the material of others. Just saying

            • Dan

              It is true that volcanism may contribute to surface heating. There is a certain degree of speculation over the thermal budget of Venus due to the fact that we are at best 28 million miles away and have limited information from space probes. The best we can do is develop a model that is consistent with current understanding of chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics. A long term thermal equilibrium of the Venusian surface over a time frame of millions of years seem to be the best fit for facts as planetary scientists understand them. But as you say, the greenhouse effect is a real phenomenon and does have the potential to raise the temperature of the surface of a planet. My response to the previous poster was due to his denial of the greenhouse effect at all. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and Venus has plenty of it. The Bond albedo, insolation, and infrared emmision of the surface all point to the greenhouse effect being the principal cause of the elevated temperature.

              If emotionally charged statements are a negative in this discussion then why did you devote over half of your to post to a diatribe of my communication methodology. It would seem that the kettle is calling the pot black.

            • JeredNA

              This is a really fascinating argument. I know nothing about what causes Venus to heat up like you know. But I think Greenhouse gasses should be considered as a factor because even if you terraform and deal with the atmospheric pressure and thermal equilibrium etc (I don’t really know what I’m talking about) that contributes too the heat. Won’t the planet still boil up and the water vapour act as greenhouse gases, causing the carbon cycle to halt and the CO2 to accumulate, like the article said, due to the planets slow rotation. So it is fairly obvious like you say, that the greenhouse gas effect exists as we can see from our own planet anyway, and that it is still a relevant factor even if it contributes to very little of what is causing the planet to heat up now (which we don’t seem to know.)

              There is practically no right answer. So basically, the guy who’s shitting on the greenhouse gas effect, and the guy who is waving theories in the air aren’t wrong, they’re just more wrong than you are 🙂

              …And I’m probably far from right…

            • Venus has been in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings for hundreds of millions of years
              How do you know?
              How can you make this matter of fact statement? Please point to a source that has actual temperature measurements taken over a period of hundreds of million years. I don’t accept theories, speculations or assumptions. You are waving the science flag, so I am sure you understand the difference between an assumption and verified statements based on facts.
              I am eager to learn where found this amazing data.

            • Dan

              Did the Civil War occur since it supposedly happened before I was born? Does Africa exist since I have never visited it? Does Ceres? There are these wonderful time and distance travel devices called books that extend our experience range outside of our immediate existential surroundings. Since their invention other similar but more advanced devices had been developed. The acceptance of ideas in books must be tempered with mature judgement and logic of course to sort the wheat from the chaff. But I assure you that the universe did not begin when you were born and will not end when you drop dead. The scientific community has peer review to help insure that assumptions and theories are consistent with facts. Laymen can do calculations and fact checking of their own to determine if a scientific, economic, or any assertion makes sense. That’s why I do my calculations in joule/kg/seconds and avoid bloated words like terrawatt or megajoule. Leaves less possibility for error. Science is merely a centurys long process to explore and understand the working principles of the universe without having to rely on gods, demons, and fairys. That’s what the Enlightenment was all about.

            • Since there is scientific evidence that the civil war occurred, I can answer this question with yes.
              Since I am able to travel to Africa or converse with a person that has been there I can also answer this question with a definite yes.

              I am so glad I am able to help you find answera to these questions.

              However I am still in the dark to the question I asked you.

              You stated this as a matter of fact: Venus has been in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings for hundreds of millions of years
              Hundreds of millions of years is a long time even in terms of geological terms . No definite answers, no global inclusive body of temperature data for Venus exists.
              Yet you insist on this being a fact. So I can only assume you have access to a body of data, no one else has. Perhaps you are in the process of publishing a paper.
              I am all humbled by your expertise on the environmental conditions on Venus. You know we do have guest speaker opportunities at JPL and everyone there would love to hear how you accomplished that and what books you consulted.
              I really appreciate the tip about books. Now please be so kind and point to the exact volumes or titles.
              Thank you

            • Dan

              I’m hoping you’re joking. Scientific evidence that the civil war happened but not that Venus is millions of years old? LOL Yes Venus has been in thermal equilibrium for millions of years and the solar system is a little less than 5 billion years old. These ideas are so commonly accepted that planetary scientists rarely even comment on them any more. M. G. Tomasko of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona (The Thermal Balance of Venus in Light of the Pioneer Mission, Measurements of the Flux of Sunlight In the Atmosphere of Venus, The Thermal Balance of the Lower Atmosphere of Venus) has made that assertion as far back as 1980. The only people I know who dispute the million year thermal equilibrium of the Venusian atmosphere are new earth creationists and followers of Velikovsky who believed that Venus was expelled from Jupiter as a red hot comet during the time of the exodus. The ball is in your court, not mine. If you have written a peer reviewed document that explains why you believe the Venus has not been in thermal equilibrium for millions of years please enlighten us. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Where’s the beef?

            • You are a poor debater and must rely on insults. I was questioning your statement :Venus has been in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings for hundreds of millions of years

              It is not the existence of Venus but the matter of fact statement of the thermal equilibrium. Which can not be made as there is no data on the thermal conditions of Venus for any substantial period of time. Not even the most current observations are able to explain the conditions on Venus beyond theory and speculation.

              There is a difference between theory, models, educated guesses and assumptions.

              But do enlighten me, explain the term thermal equilibrium to me. And do be specific.

              Thermal equilibrium is defined as the state in which two objects connected by a permeable barrier don’t have any heat transfer between them. This happens when the two objects have the same temperature.

              The tectonic and volcanic activity of Venus is not very well documented due to the lack of actual data. Venus is the most active planet (known) in this regard. The internal mechanisms that lead to periods of more or less volcanic activity are also not entirely understood (otherwise Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions could be predicted) It may come as news to you but volcanic activity can indeed be an influencing factor.

              There is no data of impact events on Venus, however to assume Venus is the only planet where no such event occurred (in the last hundreds of millions of years, is perhaps not very scientific.

              Such impact events have significant influence over environmental conditions. Either permanent or over a period of time.

              I understand of course your need to revert to insult and ridicule. It highlights your character and disposition rather eloquently.

              parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus

              Have a nice day


            • Dan

              Your resort to personal attack and then whining that I am doing to same thing is too obvious to respond to. And an indication that you’ve lost the argument. As I’ve said Dr. Martin G. Tomasko has asserted that Venus has been in thermal equilibrium for millions of years since the 1980s and at present this view is accepted by planetary science. Radar imaging suggests that 600-700 million years ago there was a resurfacing event on Venus possibly as a last gasp thermal release of a dried out crust followed by a relative quiescent period that continues to the present day. This is covered in David Grinspoon’s (Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado) recent book ‘Venus Revealed: A New Look Below The Clouds Of Our Mysterious Twin Planet’.
              Your arguments are without merit and lack any supporting documentation. Cite your own references if you are so adamant about them. Put up or shut up.

              Thermodynamic equilibrium of a system occurs when energy absorbed from outside the system is equal to the energy radiated out. Temperatures within the system need not be uniform everywhere within the system.

        • Don’t worry Peter you are in the minority but not alone.
          Scientists need budgets, appropiated by left wing socialist dreamers of the militant “No other oppinion counts” university administrations. Scientists pointing to science facts that don’t fit the Political agenda, commit career sucicide or are ridiculed, just like you have been on this page.
          Their justification for insults and ridicule is swimming with the stream and yell with the masses. Its easier than thinking. Besides 10,000,000 flies eat sh..t every day. that manyflies can’t be wrong eh?

          • michael pulleine

            im left winged, but imn also open minded….

        • There are more theories and explanations why Venus is hot than there are fish in the ocean. Yes some are very well educated guesses based on impressive accurate computer simulations.However the verdict what causes it, lacks scientific data.
          Yes some speculations are quite possible but none is yet confirmed as fact.

  • Paulo R. Mendes
  • michael pulleine

    has anyone noticed the prolonged absence of vanessa?

    • It did not appear that my recent comments contributed much and scientific observations not really needed
      So I decided to take a hiatus from contribution.

      • michael pulleine

        oh, okay, by the way, you wouldnt happen to know the average rate of a pulsars pulses? its for a personal project.

        • There is no average as per say as each known Pulsar (Quasar) has a different one.. The longest pulse interval (known) is PSR J2144-3933 with 2.84 seconds and the PSR J1748-2446ad pulsar has the shortest with 0.001395 seconds. There are an estimated 200,000 pulsars in our galaxy. So it might be assumed that the average is somewhere in between.

          • michael pulleine

            thanks, im looking for a way to create a universal measurement of distance and the only way to do this would be to find a universal cyclic event, the distance light travels during each cycle could then become the measurement and voila, you have a measurement not centred on earth or its solar system!

            • What unit of measurement are you using for distance and time? You need to define the units first before you can measure a distance traveled. The pulses of Pulsars are measured using the time interval “Second” which is defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. Since we are pretty sure about the speed of time an we are able to define a distance in space (Line) we already got that universal measurement.
              It does not matter in what units you express the speed of light (meters, milimeters, inches, miles ) or in what system (decimal, duodecimal, hexadecimal, etc) it remains a constant (c)

            • michael pulleine

              well, lets say we pick a specific pulsar, the time between each “pulse” becomes one “Universe second” i would like to explain distance, astronomical units and parsecs are centred on our solar system, yes, anyway, i accepted this challenge from my physics teacher, im not going to stop until i find an alternativer to these units, anyway, what about years? see? not all units of time are universal, (i do understand that pulsars are not universal but i cant think of any other cyclic event, anyway, if we can observe 100 billion galaxies then an alien race from this galaxy could easily observe a pulsar in the same galaxy)

            • michael pulleine

              so, we have a universal measurement of time, maybe 100 Universal seconds makes one U minute, 100 U minutes makes a U hour and 100 U hours makes one U day?

            • There is that : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_time

              And of course the way time is kept in my universe:


            • The Main obstacle in your train of thought is the conception of measurements and units of measurement.

              Let me explain:

              A carpenter using a tape measure to cut a length of wood. He uses an American tape measure and cuts it to 6 foot length.

              He has a friend who’s from France and he uses a folding ruler divided in the metric system and cuts it at 1.8288 meters.

              Both pieces are exactly the same in length.

              If an Alien carpenter with three fingers and thus his math system is based on the number three cuts the wood using his measurement system

              based on the length the average Nuglu worm crawls on a particular moist afternoon, the length of timber remains the same. It’s length is just

              expressed in a different way. Makes sense?

              Given this example all Units of measurement, be it time, weight, mass, frequency, duration, size etc.etc. are just expressions.

              On Earth alone we have countless units of measurements, every country, epoch of time, society and group has or had their own units of measurements

              (That’s why we have an International standard so trade and industry has a common ground)

              Did you know that NASA crashed an European (ESA) probe on Mars because the engineers and technicians of NASA believed the data and measurements

              provided by ESA were in Standard instead of metric?.

              Now to your question of somnething universal relevant. A Carbon atom is the same on Earth at it is on a planet rightr across the Universe.

              It acts and reacts the same, no matter where it is.

              Forget Units of measurement. This is why Einstein expressed his famous equation as e=m*c2 instead of Energy = 100 Kilos * 300,000 km/sec 2.

              His equation is valid with any unit of measurement, using any kind of math.

              So your universal cyclic event happens on sbatomic levels anywhere in the universe.

              An atom will move at an exact cycle and within exact movements (spatial and temporal) at an exact temerature (or it will not move at absolute zero (a state that is defined where no movement is possible)

            • michael pulleine

              yeah, well i thought that the speed of light being constant in a vacuum would be the way to go, either that or something to do with the speed of the rotation of a hydrogen atom in an environment that is of a set temperature (X kelvin) this of course was inspired by the voyager probe

        • Lol. I may have begun something here. Every pulsar is different, that’s what makes them so interesting

          • michael pulleine

            i like Quasars more.

      • Vanessa, your comments are always welcome here, and especially when scientifically constructive.

  • Ashton Reed

    do the pictures even go along with the story or whatever? Just wondering.

    • Yeh. James creates the pictures for each of his own articles.

  • Dan

    There is an excellent article on Terraforming Venus that provides energy and mass requirements for various techniques that have been proposed to make Venus a habitable world.


    It’s quite readable and is even handed in discussing even the more far out Birchian ideas. I tend to favor a simplified version of the Dyson/Fogg motor technique for simultaneously spinning up the planet and getting rid of the suffocating atmosphere but I guess that’s just me. 🙂

  • Eric Voorhies

    The straightforward way to stop this process from undoing your terraforming work is, literally, to rig a sunshade. A big one.

    Earth’s “geosynchronous orbit” is located high enough that it takes 24 hours to complete a full orbit. Therefore, an object in geosynchronous orbit remains above the same point on the surface.

    Now, imagine if the Earth stopped rotating, but the object in geosynchronous orbit remained in its orbit. The object still circles every 24 hours. If it passes between the Earth and the Sun, it casts a shadow on the Earth below- predictably, at 24-hour intervals.

    Imagine then that you make the satellite large enough to blot out the Sun entirely- comparable in diameter to the planet itself. Picture a large sheet of mylar or something similar, preferably reflective on the sunward side so that sunlight is bounced out and away. This huge planetary parasol would thus block out the Sun every 24 hours, creating an artificial “night.”

    And this, we could do in orbit around Venus, creating an artificial day/night cycle of whatever length we needed.

    While rigging a sunshade big enough to cover a whole planet from the sun is going to be difficult and expensive, it is almost certainly less expensive than speeding up a planet’s rotation. Doing that would require a much greater manipulation of matter and energy.

    • Dan

      The idea of a sunshade for Venus is a very popular idea and many reputable scientists have proposed it as a solution. But I personally feel it has some drawbacks which need addressing.

      It’s dynamically unstable. While on the anti-sun ward side of venus solar light pressure will keep it unfurled once it gets to the sunward side it will start to collapse. Planetary rings are flat for a reason and the sunshade will experience stresses that will tend to pull the north and south edges of the shade towards the center. Even worse light pressure will push it towards the planet. Several possible solutions may increase stability. If the shade is, as you say, a ribbon surrounding Venus it could be spun at a speed higher than orbital speed. Centrifugal acceleration will then keep it from collapsing inward. But you’re talking about a VERY big and very strong ribbon. And you still have the problem of solar pressure pushing it into the planet.

      Placing a shade at the L1 point may be a more effective solution but to keep it stable you’ll need a counterweight hanging millions of miles into the sunward gravity well. That’s going to be a lot of mass from somewhere. A way of reducing the light pressure, and therefore counterweight mass on your shade might be to construct it not as a flat surface but as a reflective honeycomb where the individual ‘cells’ are canted slightly so that solar energy entering them is reflected enough to cause them to miss Venus. The solar light pressure on such a device might be considerably reduced but the cost would be increased complexity and mass. So how would we construct such a honeycomb? Easy! With mechanical bees. This is where my objecion to ‘magic wand’ nanotechnology is willing to make an exception. And the ‘bees’ don’t have to be nano. Micro or even mini-bees would work. We are currently experimenting with small robots with insect level intelligence so it’s not much of a stretch to imagine a colony of solar powered self replicating assemblers living on and maintaining a solar shield ‘beehive’ at the Venusian L1 point.

  • Leonardo Faria

    By over-oxygenating Venus’ atmosphere we would absorb all the sunlight over the red band of the spectrum, thus diminishing by some degrees the temperature of the planet. Just one of the measures of the terraforming tool array. It remains to be seen whether a never ceasing sunset-like illumination still qualifies as terraforming.

  • The Orion’s Arm universe has a pretty interesting timeline for the terraforming and colonization of Venus. Well worth a shufty.

  • After robot crews build giant atmosphere scrubbers powered by molten lava, the C02 problem should be resolved.

  • BlueJayCP

    Venus’ day is longer than its year.