Cloud City On Venus?
It's not easy to find comfortable places to stay elsewhere in the solar system. However, Geoffrey Landis, a scientist at NASA's Glenn Research Center, suggests that Venus might be a good place to look.
I know what you're thinking. Venus? Surface temperature of 490 degrees centigrade with about 92 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth's surface? Doesn't sound very hospitable.
However, Landis, a science fiction writer in his spare time, suggests that we think a bit outside the box. In a recent interview, he suggested building a city in the clouds about fifty kilometers above the surface.
At that altitude, the atmosphere of Venus is at it's most Earth-like. The atmosphere has an air pressure of about one bar and the temperature ranges in the 0-50 degrees centigrade range. You'd need breathing apparatus, but probably not a space suit.
Landis adds that a city might not be as difficult to build - and to keep afloat - as you might think.
"Because the atmosphere of Venus is CO2, the gases that we live in all the time, nitrogen and oxygen, would be a lifting gas," Landis said. "On Earth, we know to get something to lift, you need something lighter than air. Well, on Venus, guess what? Our air is lighter than air, or at least lighter than the Venus atmosphere."
"If you could just take the room you're sitting in and replace the walls with something thinner, the room would float on Venus," he remarked.
SF fans are no doubt hoping that Lando Calrissian will be available to act as administrator; as long as you're building Cloud City, you might as well do it right.
(Cloud City above Bespin in Star Wars)
Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin, first seen in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Bespin has a habitable layer from about 150 - 180 kilometers down from space with an oxygen atmosphere and normal pressure.
Update 18-Dec-2016: Take a look at this early reference to the idea of cities floating in the atmosphere of Venus in Fritz Leiber's humorous 1958 short story Bread Overhead!. End update.
From Colonizing Venus with floating cities.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/23/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?' - Jane Webb Loudon, 1828.
Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Life imitates art imitates life.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'
A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'
First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.
Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.
Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’
Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.
Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.
Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'
Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'
Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'
Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'
China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'
Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories