Why aren't we exploring Venus?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by SagaLore, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Shawn

    Shawn Lifer

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    Well it's a good planet for experimenting with terraforming. If it can be done at all, it could probably be done on Venus.
     
  2. Ventanni

    Ventanni Golden Member

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    It would be far cheaper, and probably less time consuming, to fly a very high speed nuclear powered probe ship to a nearby constellation to search for habitable planets than it would to terraform Venus.

    Also, Earth isn't just the "Goldilocks" planet because it's just in the right orbital spot away from the Sun. Life exists here on Earth because of the powerful magnetic field protecting us from both solar and cosmic radiation. Neither Venus nor Mars have any appreciable magnetic field necessary to the survival of life, err, humans.
     
  3. SagaLore

    SagaLore Elite Member

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    No way would have be cheaper and less time consuming. We don't even know that much about the planets in our own solar system - trying to send a probe out to a massive area of space to look for another planet to inhabit would be like trying to win a 100x100 digit lottery.



    I propose we design self replicating nano-bots that will build an orbiting belt around the planet. It will both partially reflect sunlight and produce a weak electromagnetic field to help deflect solar wind. We'll just need to redirect asteroids into orbit to act as a matter source.
     
  4. epidemis

    epidemis Senior member

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    Cosmic radiation would be absolutely no issue since it has a super-dense atmosphere.
     
  5. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    "...there are a number of people who feel that we have problems right here on Earth that merit our attention before we spend billions of dollars on outer space."

    Vice President Price in Capricorn One.
     
  6. amdhunter

    amdhunter Lifer

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. QuantumPion

    QuantumPion Diamond Member

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    No, our atmosphere is what protects us from solar and cosmic rays. The magnetic field only deflects charged particles from the sun. A magnetic field might be important for a lower mass planet like mars to prevent its atmosphere from being gradually blown away by solar wind though.
     
  8. Brovane

    Brovane Diamond Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    NASA's annual budget << Annual spending on tobacco products

    NASA's annual budget < Annual spending on DVD movies

    Respect mah prioritahs!


    If that money were abruptly evaporated from NASA, you think it would go to anything else useful? It would magically disappear into the government - and of course you'd lose a good PR engine for the math, science, and engineering disciplines. For some reason, the culture in the US is typically one of disdain or condescension for those in those professions, as if being educated in those fields is some kind of negative mark. The real road to technological progress is making more football players and American Idol contestants.
     
  10. SillyOReilly

    SillyOReilly Golden Member

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    :whiste:
     
  11. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    :)

    I saw the same thing.
    Constellations don't work that way. The stars in a constellation are usually hundreds or thousands of light years from one another.


    I'm going to say that terraforming Venus would be much easier than 1) finding a habitable world nearby in any appreciable amount of time, 2) Starting a colony on this world, and 3) Ensuring that the colonists are able to remain alive for any appreciable amount of time.

    Let's say Alpha Centauri has habitable planets. (Which could be interesting, as it's actually a binary star system.)
    That's over 4 light years away.
    4 light years = 23,520,000,000,000 miles.

    Venus' orbital diameter is about 67 million miles.
    Earth's: 93 million. Difference: 26,000,000 miles, though the travel distance won't be a straight line; it would be an arc, going between Earth and Venus. (See the diagram at the bottom of this page.)
    Based on a visual approximation, I'm going with 235,000,000 miles for the travel distance....which is conveniently very close to 4 light years, except for just a few orders of magnitude.

    253000000
    23500000000000
     
  12. JTsyo

    JTsyo Lifer

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    The chances of finding a planet that's hospitable to humans without transforming is basically nil. Either you need to terraform the planet or manipulate human genes to work in the new environment. If you're going to terraform might as well start at home. I think we'll be living on Mars and in space before somewhere outside the solar system.
     
  13. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    Hmm...so we'd have to xenoform ourselves. I can live with that (word). :D
     
  14. olds

    olds Elite Member

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    That took entirely too long.
     
  15. slayernine

    slayernine Senior member

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    I guess we just need to start a new kickstarter project right guys??
     
  16. Ventanni

    Ventanni Golden Member

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    Sorry, not constellations. I wrote that late last night, and even realized my error upon re-reading my paragraph today. That certainly doesn't help my argument at all.

    I was actually meaning local star systems within 20 light years of the Sun, of which there are quite a few. I'm in no disagreement that practicing terraforming here would probably be highly beneficial before venturing out to a foreign star system, light years away from Earth. I&#8217;m also in full agreement that traveling out to a foreign star system for the sake of exploration is a heck of a lot of work, time consuming, and lacks any type of guarantee. But my point is, if we're going to spend the money and time to terraform a planet, we might as well practice terraforming something that has a chance, and I don't think Venus has that.

    I go back to my magnetosphere argument. Venus doesn't have any appreciable magnetosphere to protect itself like the Earth does, and Mars doesn't have one at all. You guys are right in saying that it's the Earth's atmosphere that protects us from harmful effects, but the magnetosphere protects the upper atmosphere from being ionized and blown away. Without it, the Earth's upper atmosphere (the part that contains the ozone that protects us) would be stripped away from harmful radiation and solar wind, much like is happening to Mars now. That doesn't mean that a planet the size of Venus wouldn't be able to contain an atmosphere. Afterall, it does have an appreciable amount of gravity, and it does very obviously contain an atmosphere, but the part that&#8217;s required to protect us would be ionized and blown away by the Sun. That makes any attempt to terraform Venus, along with Mars, temporary at best.

    Then there&#8217;s the Venusian day. This one is a bit tougher to correct. Perhaps it could be done, but given Venus&#8217;s close proximity to the Sun, likely also temporary. The Venusian day is long; the equivalent of 243 Earth days. Even if we were able to make the atmosphere habitable, you&#8217;d have far too much heating on one side, and far too much cooling on the other to actually sustain life. At least in this respect, Mars would be more suitable to terraform since it&#8217;s &#8220;day&#8221; is about 24.5 hours long.

    So I stand by my argument that terraforming Venus isn&#8217;t practical. It would be far too costly for something that would only last a short amount of time. The Sun&#8217;s local neighborhood (ever star within 20 light years) is quite populated. I&#8217;d honest say our chances of finding life are better there.
     
  17. Childs

    Childs Lifer

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    I've scrolled far enough, the obvious answer was because we are too busy exploring Uranus!

    Some times ATOT makes me sick. Nerds.
     
  18. destrekor

    destrekor Lifer

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    My answer to such nonsense:
    "We have enough problems facing Earth in the near- and distant-future, that require we start looking for answers in the stars, NOW, in order to save ourselves before its too late."


    That's the short version, which might not sell it nearly as well. I don't care to write a paper. :p
    My last post hits enough points that are of the same concept, and are more effective imho.

    We can't simply wait, do nothing, and just will ourselves to know enough and have the technology to accomplish grand concepts like colonizing other planets. We must start, with trial and error, to learn what we don't know, let alone learn anything new. Then, like we've slowly begun to do, we can start engineering new tests and new research ideas to grope and feel around just a little bit more. With continued resolve, we'll slowly develop better ideas that may allow us to reach must faster speeds, or find some other way to travel vast distances in a single lifetime. Right now, we have no hope of sending humans anywhere without committing many generations to life and death on a spaceship - and that would to be only reaching the nearest neighboring stars with planets, if we started building such ships today.

    Our species can only progress if science has a chance to try, fail, try, fail, and mark down a few successes. Many of our more fundamental pieces of knowledge have even come about through accidental discoveries, more or less. We know right now that we don't know a lot, but there's a lot of what we don't know that we can't even begin to state we don't know. ;) [I think I butchered that last statement - I can hardly make sense of it myself. It'll have to do, I'm bored of this :p]
     
  19. SillyOReilly

    SillyOReilly Golden Member

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    If we were to bother inhabiting either Mars or Venus, we'd just do it underground deeply enough to negate the lack of magnetosphere.
     
  20. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    But you know you want to.


    The fun part: If we do send out long-trip sleeper ships, and then eventually develop FTL drives, those sleeper travelers may end up seeing new Earth-based life forms before they see another planet. Or robots, or whatever homo sapiens turn into in the coming centuries - genetic manipulation, cybernetic augmentation, entirely synthetic life forms, who knows. :)



    Known knowns: Thinks we know we know.
    Known unknowns: Things we know we don't know.
    Unknown unknowns: Things we don't know we don't know.
    Unknown knowns: Spaceman.
     
    #70 Jeff7, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  21. destrekor

    destrekor Lifer

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    Let's consider this:

    Our fastest spacecraft, according to my brief google search, is Voyager 1. It has been accelerating for quite awhile, and is currently travelling at 3.6 AU per year ( ~ 0.005% C, C being the speed of light). At that rate, it would take, well, nearly 70,000 years to reach the nearest star.
    Let's say, for shits and giggles, we could produce a propulsion method that could take us to, eh... 3% the speed of light.
    That would take over 130 years (both of these assume constant speed, not continued acceleration which would likely happen - but that's way too much data for me to dig up).
    And, as of now, we are nowhere close to reaching a 3% capability. 1%? Without a miracle discovery of epic proportions (seriously, that would be a huge step for mankind), I don't see us even reaching that speed before the year 2100. IF we could reach 1%? Well, that would be roughly a 400 year journey to our nearest star! Given an ability to reach 1% C, there is probably acceleration, so depending how long it took to REACH 1%, that could be an 800 year journey.
    A few generations, and a colossal ship.
    Or a few drones, and we'd get the data back 4 years or so later. Imagine, we send a few drones out, 400 years later, we've discovered faster means of travel, we send new drones out, say 50 years later we get data back - and possibly a few hundred years later we'd get the data from the original drones! :D

    In short, it wouldn't be worthwhile to even begin blundering about in interstellar space (not with a specific mission in mind, anyhow) until we've come up with much faster travel than a few percent. Save those early discoveries to move about our own solar system first, maybe collect data from further out just to make observations. But actually sending anything to other planets just isn't feasible.

    Meanwhile, assuming we did send something out to another planet in the next 100 years, by time we got any data back, we could already have habitation domes/facilities on both Mars and the moon, and in space. (Venus is a whole different game - terraforming or super-insane structural engineering would be necessary)

    And doing this in our own backyard, where rescue, aid, and supplies are in the neighborhood, would be good practice (with lessons to learn) for when we are capable of reaching out and touching planets in other systems. There would be generations of data, specific materials to be taught to new generations of students and the pioneers willing to venture further away. Learning on the fly on a new planet when communication takes years back and forth (assuming we don't figure out FTL) - yeah, don't sign me up for that.
     
  22. destrekor

    destrekor Lifer

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    I almost did anyway.
    Ha. I came upon the same conclusion when typing the next post. Didn't realize I wasted so much time gathering the data and calculations. Dammit now I'm saddened. I could have already been ankle-deep in hellspawn in D3 by now. :(
    And didn't bother to check for new posts, not realizing how much time had passed.

    That, and damn sidetracks looking at other intriguing information in the hunt for what I needed.

    :awe:
     
  23. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    Destrekor - I'm pretty sure that the Voyager probes are decelerating. The strongest gravitational influence on them right now is the Sun, and it's still trying to tug them back. They're moving faster than escape velocity, so they will eventually leave, but they've still got to fight the pull.




    :)

    I don't remember where I saw it, but it's been said that the most likely "discoverers" of the Golden Records on the Voyager probes are going to be some descendent of humans, simply because of how slow they're moving, and how goddamn huge and spacious the Universe is.
     
  24. MichaelD

    MichaelD Lifer

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    God has already told us:

    If we try to go there, it's all over.
     
  25. BladeVenom

    BladeVenom Lifer

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