New Video: How to Terraform Venus

I recently wrote a peer-reviewed paper about a speculative way to terraform Venus. I got the idea last summer after Kurzgesagt made a video on the topic. I was originally just going to make a video of my own, but after discussing the idea with some colleagues, I decided to write a full paper on it. That paper has now been published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (may not be listed online yet while their website is being updated). You can read the preprint version of the paper here. And I did also make the video, which you can watch below.

About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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3 Responses to New Video: How to Terraform Venus

  1. Cigarshaped says:

    Why would you want to terraform a planet that has not cooled down from its birth 10,000 years ago?

  2. Adam Crowl says:

    Hi Alex
    Nice discussion of the idea in your preprint. The space elevator analysis was particularly welcome, since the water delivery question is integral to the process. However the atmospheric super rotation would require some tricky coupling between the floating Cythero-Shell and the moving air. Lots of tethered balloons or sails? Clever artificial mountain ranges?

    My favourite option is to use the Bosch Reaction to decompose the CO2 into water and carbon. It does require a temperature of ~600 C to work and requires importing a lot of hydrogen from Uranus, but because Uranus is higher in the Sun’s gravity well, there’s a net energy gain if payloads are braked regeneratively. The energy gained can be beamed across the Solar System via a particle stream to power the Uranus operations. Of course it takes hundreds of years, which is one down side.

    Alternatively if a significant fraction of the Solar Wind can be focussed on Venus, then some atmosphere will be stripped and some will react to make H2O/C. If one can imagine a magnetic focus on the required scale, it can be tuned to act like a mass spectrometer, with the hydrogen impinging on Venus, while the helium etc, mostly flows right past it. Total mass flow from the Sun is about ~1.9 million tons per second, of which about 1.4 million tons is hydrogen. If it all went into Venus and all reacted to make water/carbon, it takes about a thousand years. But the energy and momentum input would strip atmosphere in a shorter time frame and require a smaller fraction. It just seems wasteful of that immense potential carbon resource, so it’s not my preferred option.

    I discuss the proposed options at my blog here:

  3. claysculptor says:

    Hi Alex,
    I’ve read your idea of living in the clouds of Venus with interest.
    You may be interested in my vision. As an artist, I created a series of old school traveling posters to other places in our solar system with the goal of engaging in extreme sports. One of those paintings is of Venus.

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