NASA wants to to use the dense atmosphere as a base for exploration
Manned mission could place two astronauts above the surface for 30 days
Would follow 110-day trip to Earth's nearest neighbor
Popular science fiction of the early 20th century depicted Venus as some kind of wonderland of pleasantly warm temperatures, forests, swamps and even dinosaurs.
In 1950, the Hayden Planetarium at the American Natural History Museum were soliciting reservations for the first space tourism mission, well before the modern era of Blue Origins, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.
All you had to do was supply your address and tick the box for your preferred destination, which included Venus.
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NASA is currently working on a conceptual manned mission to Venus, named the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept – (HAVOC)
Today, Venus is unlikely to be a dream destination for aspiring space tourists.
As revealed by numerous missions in the last few decades, rather than being a paradise, the planet is a hellish world of infernal temperatures, a corrosive toxic atmosphere and crushing pressures at the surface.
Despite this, NASA is currently working on a conceptual manned mission to Venus, named the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept – (HAVOC).
But how is such a mission even possible? Temperatures on the planet's surface (about 460°C) are in fact hotter than Mercury, even though Venus is roughly double the distance from the sun.
This is higher than the melting point of many metals including bismuth and lead, which may even fall as 'snow' onto the higher mountain peaks.
The surface is a barren rocky landscape consisting of vast plains of basaltic rock dotted with volcanic features, and several continent-scale mountainous regions.
It is also geologically young, having undergone catastrophic resurfacing events.
Such extreme events are caused by the build up of heat below the surface, eventually causing it to melt, release heat and re-solidify.
Certainly a scary prospect for any visitors.
Luckily, the idea behind NASA's new mission is not to land people on the inhospitable surface, but to use the dense atmosphere as a base for exploration.