View Poll Results: Which planet should we focus on more to terraform?

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  • Mars

    6 30.00%
  • Venus

    4 20.00%
  • Neither.

    10 50.00%
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Thread: Venus vs. Mars

  1. #1

    Default Venus vs. Mars

    When we talk about terraforming a planet the first option that comes up is Mars. There are some good reasons for that as the initial price for creating a kind of space colony is exponentially much less compared to many other options. However, the long term effect of Mars' gravity and lack of magnetic field poses long term problems. Venus, on the other hand, presents a very different option.

    As the closest planet to Earth, Venus is considered as the sister planet. It's composition is fairly similar to Earth. Compared to Earth's 9.80 m/s2 surface gravity, Venus' is 8.87 m/s2, while Mars enjoys a mere 3.72 m/s2. This is the most important argument in favor of Venus. Gravity of any planet is one thing we will likely never be able to change within the foreseeable future. No matter how well we terraform Mars its gravity will still not be at a comfortable zone to keep our body healthy in the long run.

    Another argument for Venus is that its core composition is thought to be very similar to that of Earth's. That potentially means that the planet can generate a magnetic field of its own to keep life safe on the surface. We just need to find a way to help the planet spin as fast as Earth to imitate Earth days and nights. Currently, one day on Venus takes over 116 days of time from Earth's perspective. Meanwhile, Mars' days are almost identical to that of Earth's at one day plus 37 minutes.

    The most important problem with Venus that we would have to tackle first is its atmosphere. It's so dense yet so violent that its winds can alter the rotation speed slightly that manage to create noticeable differences in day lengths on Venus based on measurements at different times. With a mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere, atmospheric pressure on the surface on Venus is over 92 bars and contains thick clouds made up of sulfuric acid. If you can reach the surface you'll be trying to survive at a temperature of over 450 Celsius degrees.

    Two major tasks are required to make Venus hospitable; calm the atmosphere and increase the spin speed of the planet. While Mars seems to have a low initial cost but a high long term cost of living, Venus seems to have a high initial cost but immense opportunity for the long term.

    Which one would you want to focus on? Mars? Or Venus?
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  2. #2
    antaeus's Avatar Cool and normal
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    If I had my way, and we could eliminate the vast majority of defence spending... we wouldn't need to choose, we could do both and start sooner than people think...

    As an aside, higher up in the atmosphere, Venus' climate is probably the most friendly to human habitation of any other place in the Solar System other than Earth, and balloons filled with oxygen will float at 50 or 60km up. As a bonus, pressure at that altitude is also not going to crush you nearly as horribly...

    Just don't stay out if it rains...

    If we wanted to head into Kardashev + territory, we could fix a lot of Venus' problems by shoving Ceres into orbit... (or one of Jupiter/Saturn's moons)
    Last edited by antaeus; June 11, 2021 at 07:37 AM.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    I used to think Mars as the first place for colonisation but i'm more drawn to Venus' roughly 1:1 scale with Holy Terra. This means gravity on Venus would be about the same as it is on Earth which means human colonists in protective bubbles on Venus should be able to have roughly similar bone density and structure as back on Earth.

    Other than that, Venus' geography might prove...troublesome along with the acid rain.


  4. #4
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Artificial gravity and protected domes are much easier to pull off that completely changing the atmosphere and accelerating the spin of a planet. We should focus on what is easier now so we can get boots off the ground and work through the trial and error period of early colonization. After that, once the processes and procedures have been perfected, we can start thinking about Venus. Though to be fair once we have the tech to make Venus viable we kind of have the tech to make Mars viable too.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    how are you going to solve the gravity problem? children born on Mars are going to have weak bones and muscle mass compared to humans born on earth; the tv series "The Expanse" portrays this wonderfully.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Artificial gravity on the surface of a planet is near impossible. It could only work in space where you can have rotation. We will never be able to increase the gravity of Mars. Lack of Earth-like gravity is an immense problem in the long term. Along with making bones and muscles weak it also messes up with bodily fluids that can cause major neurological problems. The most obvious ones is astronauts that spend a year in space losing their vision.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    PoVG old mate your poll needs another option. I choose both.

    Venus is in the Goldilocks zone AFAIK, but you're right it'd be soooo much work.

    Your point that Mars has a frozen heart so can't generate its own magnetic field is the clear decider; it's been stripped of its atmosphere by the solar wind, so terraforming it would be a fools errand. Even if you could restock its atmosphere faster than its being lost (it still has a faint ghost atmosphere) its far more exposed to solar radiation than Earth or Venus.

    If it's only either/or then Venus might be viable with some heavy interference. Mars seems to be unviable short or long term.

    Best bet would to collide the two, hopefully retaining enough mass to form a new planet on or around Earths orbital path (obviously not an intersecting path, I'm not Lars von Trier). The force involved would reliquary Mars core, added to Venus suitably moist centre. Shake, bake, let it stand for half a billion years, seed it with suitable Cyanobacteria etc, and occupy at our leisure.
    Last edited by Cyclops; June 11, 2021 at 09:19 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Not entirely sure either are worth effort big picture human species goal. That is a ton of effort to terraform and both Mars and Venus have the same end of date not going to exist sentence when the sun decides it running out of gas (last I checked red giant failing sun does for all three planets). If you think long term really long term I vote Moons around the gas giants or floating about in their atmosphere at the right level and building Orion type ships to send people or robots off to exoplanets and see if one gets a good result.
    Last edited by conon394; June 11, 2021 at 09:20 AM.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    The sun has about 7 billion years more in its engine. I believe there is enough time to terraform planets in our system and make use of them. I especially think that for the vast majority of humans leaving the solar system will not be feasible. Why terraform and colonize? To ease Earth's resources and space. The drive to solve new problem in such an endeavor is also a great drive for coming up with new technologies. Sun expanding after 7 billion years and collapsing into a white dwarf would alter our solar system's all planets drastically. So I doubt the outer belt would fare better.

    Mars is suitable for machines but no so much for humans. It could serve as an automated production where no concern for the planet's atmosphere is required. No need for terraforming for that purpose, just ways to come up with construction techniques in harsh environments.
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  10. #10
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    The sun has 4.5 billion years left, of which 3.75 billion will be as a deatball for anything inside the inner solar system.700 million years from now everything this side of the asteroid belt will be boiling rock. That being said the sun is not really what's causing the urgency, it's the fact that we are slowly but surely killing our ecosystem.


    Quote Originally Posted by Exarch View Post
    how are you going to solve the gravity problem? children born on Mars are going to have weak bones and muscle mass compared to humans born on earth; the tv series "The Expanse" portrays this wonderfully.
    There are multiple fixes for that until we discover a means to create planetary artificial gravity. One patch solution for the short term is to not have births occur on mars at all but in an artificial gravity environment in orbit. We already know how to make that, we didn't until now because it is expensive and not really worth it.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    The problem is not giving birth on Mars. It's living healthy on it. Our physiology is simply not geared to work properly on low gravity environment for a long time. If we can somehow create planetary artificial gravity then we can probably do anything we wish. Its pointless.
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  12. #12
    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    The sun has 4.5 billion years left, of which 3.75 billion will be as a deatball for anything inside the inner solar system.700 million years from now everything this side of the asteroid belt will be boiling rock. That being said the sun is not really what's causing the urgency, it's the fact that we are slowly but surely killing our ecosystem.
    But that begs the question. Better than to fix our own that we know works before we started breaking it than to throw resources at actually putting humans on Mars or Venus. I would think robotic exploration and extraction would be a very good thing anywhere in the Solar system. But that still needs to deal with the cost of getting out of the earth's gravity and leaving an ever larger pile of space junk orbiting the earth.
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  13. #13
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    It's too late to fix our own.
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  14. #14
    antaeus's Avatar Cool and normal
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by PointOfViewGun View Post
    Artificial gravity on the surface of a planet is near impossible. It could only work in space where you can have rotation. We will never be able to increase the gravity of Mars. Lack of Earth-like gravity is an immense problem in the long term. Along with making bones and muscles weak it also messes up with bodily fluids that can cause major neurological problems. The most obvious ones is astronauts that spend a year in space losing their vision.
    We do artificial gravity on earth all the time. Doing artificial gravity on a scale large enough to live in isn't a question of whether it's possible, but rather whether we want to spend the money on developing the required engineering. It's certainly doable - particularly in places where low gravity leads to lower stresses on machinery - and the physics of a number of different options are well understood.


    Of course, before we ever completely terraform either, there will be millions or even billions of people living in rotating habitats in space - by which time it might be more cost effective to just mine the two planets into dust to use their mass to enclose the sun more effectively with artificial habitats.

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    But that still needs to deal with the cost of getting out of the earth's gravity and leaving an ever larger pile of space junk orbiting the earth.
    Even with existing technology, this is just a matter of economics - the price of getting into orbit has dropped drastically over the last decade with the plethora of small lift and private sector players coming online. So even before we start getting into left field technologies - the price of getting into space is going to continue to drop until it is well within the reach of most large corporations.

    Cleaning orbit again is just a case of economics... sooner or later the value of space junk will make cleaning it up or recycling it into valuable raw materials that don't have to be shipped into orbit much more attractive.
    Last edited by antaeus; June 11, 2021 at 08:51 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Spending most of my life near the ocean I am a big fan of cleaning and harnessing the seas/greater lakes. Plus sciencing people with gills and a few other tweaks to make amphibious and maybe even sea life possible doesn't seem all that out of our reach in the posthuman era we bear witness to. Colonize the deserts and those en route too. Posthumanism is the likely future. Space beyond mining it for resources is super unlikely. Too great a cost for too little reward. Dreamy though.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Venus has significantly more potential to be turned into a self-sustaining ecosystem. Gravity most similar to Earth means it's much more possible to give it a similar gas composition. Getting rid of the clouds would be the big challenge, but any civilization advanced enough to exploit the solar system could probably do it with enough resources being thrown at the problem.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by antaeus View Post
    We do artificial gravity on earth all the time. Doing artificial gravity on a scale large enough to live in isn't a question of whether it's possible, but rather whether we want to spend the money on developing the required engineering. It's certainly doable - particularly in places where low gravity leads to lower stresses on machinery - and the physics of a number of different options are well understood.

    Of course, before we ever completely terraform either, there will be millions or even billions of people living in rotating habitats in space - by which time it might be more cost effective to just mine the two planets into dust to use their mass to enclose the sun more effectively with artificial habitats.
    The idea is not to create gravity in a closed space for entertainment purposes for a short period of time but create planetary artificial gravity on the surface. Not sideways for sure. We need gravity perpendicular to the surface, not parallel to it.
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  18. #18
    antaeus's Avatar Cool and normal
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by PointOfViewGun View Post
    The idea is not to create gravity in a closed space for entertainment purposes for a short period of time but create planetary artificial gravity on the surface. Not sideways for sure. We need gravity perpendicular to the surface, not parallel to it.
    Crazily enough... it has been speculated for some time... having large rotating habitats laid flat on the surface of low gravity planets... The benefit being that low gravity planets also generate much lower wear and tear on ground anchored centrifuges, or much lower resistance for those lifted by mag-lev so take less energy to get spinning. Initially the idea is that they could be used for things like emergency surgery or extended health care, but scaled up to create work spaces or long term habitation.

    Isaac Arthur has speculated about them in his discussions about settling on Mars. But of course it would be better to spin up a drum in space and not live on mars... but that won't stop people doing it.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    It is amazing how these wild fictions become a plausible reality to some when repeated enough. There will be no terraforming of anything on a planetary scale. The whole idea is ludicrous. We seem to be unable to reverse a little climate change but we could turn an entire planet with a fiery hot and crushing atmosphere and acidic rain into a nice and cozy planet like Earth? Just because someone said it would be cool doesn't make it feasible.

  20. #20
    Morticia Iunia Bruti's Avatar Praepositus
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    Default Re: Venus vs. Mars

    Terraforming Mars or Venus will not technically be possible in the next 100 years.

    Its nothing more than fantasy with the aim to distract from the harsh reality, that something now must be done about climate change. We can't have the same way of life in the future like since 1850.

    Personally i don't like the idea of Mega Corps like Bezos' Amazon or Musk's SpaceX exploit the solar space, destroy our in principle egalitarian democracy and controll our future too.

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