Can We Terraform Venus

The terraforming of Venus or the terraformation of Venus is the hypothetical process of engineering the global environment of the planet Venus in such a way as to make it suitable for human habitation. The Big Rain of The Psychotechnic League by novelist Poul Anderson, preceded it. 3. The addition of breathable oxygen to the atmosphere. These three changes are closely interrelated because Venus's extreme temperature is due to the high pressure of its dense atmosphere and the greenhouse effect. Prior to the early 1960s, the atmosphere of Venus was believed by many astronomers to have an Earth-like temperature. Earth-like. This hypothetical prospect, known as terraforming, was first proposed by Carl Sagan in 1961, as a final section of his classic article in the journal Science discussing the atmosphere and greenhouse effect of Venus. Sagan proposed injecting photosynthetic bacteria into the Venus atmosphere, which would convert the carbon dioxide into reduced carbon in organic form, thus reducing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the knowledge of Venus's atmosphere was still inexact in 1961, when Sagan made his original proposal for terraforming.

Venus terraforming, later discoveries showed that biological means alone would not be successful.

The main problem with Venus today, from a terraformation standpoint, is the very thick carbon dioxide atmosphere. The ground level pressure of Venus is 9.2 MPa (91 atm; 1,330 psi). This also, through the greenhouse effect, causes the temperature on the surface to be several hundred degrees too hot for any significant organisms. Therefore, all approaches to the terraforming of Venus include somehow removing almost all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The method proposed in 1961 by Carl Sagan involves the use of genetically engineered algae to fix carbon into organic compounds. Venus terraforming, later discoveries showed that biological means alone would not be successful. Difficulties include the fact that the production of organic molecules from carbon dioxide requires hydrogen, which is very rare on Venus. Because Venus lacks a protective magnetosphere, the upper atmosphere is exposed to direct erosion by the solar wind and has lost most of its original hydrogen to space. And, as Sagan noted, any carbon that was bound up in organic molecules would quickly be converted to carbon dioxide again by the hot surface environment. Venus would not begin to cool down until after most of the carbon dioxide had already been removed. Although it is generally conceded that Venus could not be terraformed by introduction of photosynthetic biota alone, use of photosynthetic organisms to produce oxygen in the atmosphere continues to be a component of other proposed methods of terraforming.

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On Earth nearly all carbon is sequestered in the form of carbonate minerals or in different stages of the carbon cycle, while very little is present in the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. On Venus, the situation is the opposite. Much of the carbon is present in the atmosphere, while comparatively little is sequestered in the lithosphere. Many approaches to terraforming therefore focus on getting rid of carbon dioxide by chemical reactions trapping and stabilizing it in the form of carbonate minerals. Venus's atmospheric evolution suggests that the equilibrium between the current 92-bar atmosphere and existing surface minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium oxides, is quite unstable, and that the latter could serve as a sink of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide through conversion to carbonates. If these surface minerals were fully converted and saturated, then the atmospheric pressure would decline and the planet would cool somewhat. One of the possible end states modeled by Bullock and Grinspoon was a 43 bars (620 psi) atmosphere and 400 K (127 °C) surface temperature. To convert the rest of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a larger portion of the crust would have to be artificially exposed to the atmosphere to allow more extensive carbonate conversion. In 1989, Alexander G. Smith proposed that Venus could be terraformed by lithosphere overturn, allowing crust to be converted into carbonates. Landis 2011 calculated that it would require the involvement of the entire surface crust down to a depth of over 1 km to produce enough rock surface area to convert enough of the atmosphere.

Natural formation of carbonate rock from minerals and carbon dioxide is a very slow process. It could therefore be theorised that similar technologies might also be used in the context of terraformation on Venus. It can also be noted that the chemical reaction that converts minerals and carbon dioxide into carbonates is exothermic, in essence producing more energy than is consumed by the reaction. This opens up the possibility of creating self-reinforcing conversion processes with potential for exponential growth of the conversion rate until most of the atmospheric carbon dioxide can be converted. Bombardment of Venus with refined magnesium and calcium from off-world could also sequester carbon dioxide in the form of calcium and magnesium carbonates. About 8×1020 kg of calcium or 5×1020 kg of magnesium would be required to convert all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which would entail a great deal of mining and mineral refining (perhaps on Mercury which is notably mineral rich). 8×1020 kg is a few times the mass of the asteroid 4 Vesta (more than 500 kilometers (310 mi) in diameter). Research projects in Iceland and the US state of Washington have recently shown that potentially large amounts of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere by high-pressure injection into subsurface porous basalt formations, where carbon dioxide is rapidly transformed into solid inert minerals. 47 kilograms of injected carbon dioxide.

The surface is about 90% basalt, and about 65% consists of a mosaic of volcanic lava plains.

According to these estimates a volume of about 9.86 × 109 km3 of basalt rock would be needed to sequester all the carbon dioxide in the Venusian atmosphere. This is equal to the entire crust of Venus down to a depth of about 21.4 kilometers. 1 cubic meter of basalt rock can sequester 260 kg of carbon dioxide. Venus's crust appears to be 70 kilometers (43 mi) thick and the planet is dominated by volcanic features. The surface is about 90% basalt, and about 65% consists of a mosaic of volcanic lava plains. There should therefore be ample volumes of basalt rock strata on the planet with very promising potential for carbon dioxide sequestration. Recent research has also demonstrated that under the high temperature and high pressure conditions in the mantle, silicon dioxide, the most abundant mineral in the mantle (on Earth and probably also on Venus) can form carbonates that are stable under these conditions. This opens up the possibility of carbon dioxide sequestration in the mantle. Venus with hydrogen and reacting it with carbon dioxide could produce elemental carbon (graphite) and water by the Bosch reaction.

39;s law. To bring down the pressure even more, nitrogen could also be fixed into nitrates.

Another possible source of hydrogen could be somehow extracting it from possible reservoirs in the interior of the planet itself. According to some researchers, the Earth's mantle and/or core might hold large quantities of hydrogen left there since the original formation of Earth from the nebular cloud. Since the original formation and inner structure of Earth and Venus are generally believed to be somewhat similar, the same might be true for Venus. Iron aerosol in the atmosphere will also be required for the reaction to work, and iron can come from Mercury, asteroids, or the Moon. Due to the planet's relatively flat surface, this water would cover about 80% of the surface, compared to 70% for Earth, even though it would amount to only roughly 10% of the water found on Earth. The remaining atmosphere, at around 3 bars (about three times that of Earth), would mainly be composed of nitrogen, some of which will dissolve into the new oceans of water, reducing atmospheric pressure further, in accordance with Henry's law. To bring down the pressure even more, nitrogen could also be fixed into nitrates. Futurist Isaac Arthur has suggested using the theorized processes of starlifting and stellasing to create a particle beam of ionized hydrogen from the sun, tentatively dubbed a "hydro-cannon".

This device could be used both to thin the dense atmosphere of Venus, but also to introduce hydrogen to react with carbon dioxide to create water, thereby further lowering the atmospheric pressure. The thinning of the Venusian atmosphere could be attempted by a variety of methods, possibly in combination. Directly lifting atmospheric gas from Venus into space would probably prove difficult. Venus has high escape velocity to make blasting it away with asteroid impacts impractical. 700 km diameter striking Venus at greater than 20 km/s, would eject all the atmosphere above the horizon as seen from the point of impact, but because this is less than a thousandth of the total atmosphere and there would be diminishing returns as the atmosphere's density decreases, a very great number of such giant impactors would be required. 92 bar to 1 bar would require a minimum of 2,000 impacts, even if the efficiency of atmosphere removal was perfect. Smaller objects would not work, either, because more would be required. The violence of the bombardment could well result in significant outgassing that would replace removed atmosphere. Most of the ejected atmosphere would go into solar orbit near Venus, and, without further intervention, could be captured by the Venerian gravitational field and become part of the atmosphere once again. Another variant method involving bombardment would be to perturb a massive Kuiper belt object to put its orbit onto a collision path with Venus.

If the object, made of mostly ices, had enough velocity to penetrate just a few kilometers past the Venusian surface, the resulting forces from the vaporization of ice from the impactor and the impact itself could stir the lithosphere and mantle thus ejecting a proportional amount of matter (as magma and gas) from Venus. A byproduct of this method would be either a new moon for Venus or a new impactor-body of debris that would fall back to the surface at a later time. Removal of atmospheric gas in a more controlled manner could also prove difficult. Venus's extremely slow rotation means that space elevators would be very difficult to construct because the planet's geostationary orbit lies an impractical distance above the surface, and the very thick atmosphere to be removed makes mass drivers useless for removing payloads from the planet's surface. Possible workarounds include placing mass drivers on high-altitude balloons or balloon-supported towers extending above the bulk of the atmosphere, using space fountains, or rotovators. In addition, if the density of the atmosphere (and corresponding greenhouse effect) were dramatically reduced, the surface temperature (now effectively constant) would probably vary widely between day side and night side.


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