Winter on Venus

Winter on Venus

This episode is sponsored by Brilliant Everyone always talks about colonizing Mars and turning it green, but Venus might turn
out to be a far better candidate for terraforming… if we can just cool it down first. Last month we talked about terraforming Mars
and how to warm it up and thicken its atmosphere to bring Springtime to Mars. Venus, our other close neighbor, is something
of the reverse case. Mars and Venus, our two big first targets
for colonization, have almost the exact opposite strengths and weaknesses. Often Mars is seen as the most logical first
target, which can seem strange on reflection. It’s farther from us than Venus, our launch
windows to it just once every 26 months, whereas Venus’s is every 20 months, and it’s a
closer and more direct shot. Venus is also much bigger than Mars, with
a surface gravity nearly that of Earth. Venus has plenty of light and atmosphere to
work with, indeed we thought it was probably a paradise world well into the 20th century. Problem is, it’s a scorchingly hot hell
hole. Cool it down and it would be practically ideal
for terraforming, with just one other big problem, it spins very slowly. By weird coincidence Earth and Mars have near
identical day length, just 37 minutes longer on Mars, a little extra sleep, and nothing
in the solar system comes close to that. The next closest is Uranus at 17 hours, and
the various moons and asteroids almost all have either very long days from being tidally
locked to their planet or very quick days of just several hours. Venus though takes this to extremes, unlike
some objects whose day and year are the same length from being tidally locked, Venus’s
rotational period is actually longer than its orbital period because it spins backwards,
and while we’re not sure why it’s such a blisteringly hot world, beyond its proximity
to the Sun of course, we tend to assume Venus spinning slowly and backward is related to
it’s monstrously high temperature. A couple years back we looked at Colonizing
Venus and we mentioned there that up above Venus’s hideously hot surface, far in its
upper atmosphere which is much thicker than Earth’s, it’s quite possible to make rather
nice floating cities, and we focused mostly on that in the episode. I also mentioned though there have been plans
for cooling down Venus, most notably Paul Birch’s solar shade approach, and I wanted
to focus on that and other cooling techniques today. Now because Venus is closer to the Sun any
terraforming plan has to include not just cooling it down in the first place, but keeping
it cool. Also, we’ve mentioned that many planets
or moons could hold an atmosphere if only they had robust magnetospheres, and it’s
a little ironic that Venus has a very thick atmosphere and almost no magnetosphere itself,
and gets savaged by atmosphere-stripping solar radiation and wind far more than any world
but Mercury. Ironic but not actually weird. See Venus may have a very thick atmosphere
but has virtually no hydrogen in it, hydrogen and helium being the most common elements
in the Universe but rare in the inner planets precisely because they are so easily stripped
off those planets by the Sun, being lighter. We only have any on Earth because it bonds
to other atoms like oxygen and that slows the loss, once the initial unbounded hydrogen
blows away. Stick water on Venus and it will evaporate
away, even if we magically cooled it to Earth temperatures. As a result, Venus’ atmosphere is mostly
nitrogen and carbon dioxide, heavier stuff. So the problem with Venus is essentially the
Sun, it gets a bit too much of it and doesn’t turn fast enough to even contemplate a normal
day/night cycle. Needless to say, this being SFIA, the concept
of spinning it up faster and moving it away from the Sun is hardly a shocking idea, but
I am going to be making the case today that Venus is the most logical target for Terraforming
first, not Mars, and truth be told the only one where it really makes sense to even try,
as opposed to follow different pathways of colonization or resource extraction. With that in mind we’ll mostly bypass the
notion of moving it or spinning it up in favor of more near-term easier pathways. Now there’s quite a few ways to cool Venus
down and not all of them require decreasing how much sunlight Venus gets and retains,
and these are of interest to us more locally in regard to Earth. As noted, Venus’s atmosphere is mostly carbon
dioxide, 96.5%, with 3.5% being nitrogen and everything else being in the parts per million
with sulfur dioxide coming in a very distant third 150 parts per million, barely over a
percent of a percent, 6000 times less than its carbon dioxide content. Earth on the other hand only has about 400
parts per million carbon dioxide. It’s not just a percentage though, because
Venus’s atmosphere is around a hundred times thicker than Earth’s, so that it’s got
hundreds of thousands of times more carbon dioxide helping retain heat than Earth does. If we could get rid of almost all of that,
Venus would get to be rather livable, though civilization might cling to the poles rather
than the equator, opposite of what we’d expect on cooler Mars. Now there’s a lot of ways to remove that,
atmospheres are relatively light to move compared to trying to shove the planet further from
the Sun or increase its spin rate. You could go faster and dirty by using atomics,
the Mass of Venus Atmosphere is 4.8 x 10^20 kilograms. For context, while that’s only a small fraction
of Venus’s total mass, just 1% of 1%, a ten-thousandth, that’s about half the mass
of the dwarf Planet Ceres or a sixth of the entire Asteroid Belt. So it’s hardly trivial, but it’s also
already quite hot, and to remove it ultra-fast we need only get it hot enough to move at
the escape velocity of Venus, 10.4 kilometers per second. This involves adding around 20 billion, billion,
billion joules of energy, or the equivalent of 5 trillion megaton warheads, which incidentally
is nearly a hundred times what it would take to blow Earth’s atmosphere off. Sounds absurd, but as with all things it’s
rather relative, you’d pay about the same energy to truck it off to other planets or
habitats for use and a lot more to move Venus, you also need to spend about ten times that
much to get Venus spinning up to a 24 hour day. No need to memorize those numbers but we’ve
trotted them out because as is so often the case on this show, when we discuss things
that can seem ridiculously immense, it’s all relative. If you’re willing to remove that atmosphere,
quick or slow, you are getting into the range where giving the planet a serious shove is
on the table, and if we’re talking about superheating gases, well that’s what we
make rockets out of. Strategic application of energy to Venus Atmosphere
could be used to simultaneously remove it and nudge it a little bit further from the
Sun or give it a decent spin. Nor do you need use nukes, you could use a
big mirror or lens to focus sunlight on Venus, or the Stellaser concept we’ve often discussed
on the show and which we’ll come back to. As huge as that energy requirement is for
atmosphere stripping, it is only about a minute of the Sun’s power production, so even if
you’re only building enough mirrors and lenses to concentrate a tiny fraction of that
solar output, it can get the job done rather quickly. Just a couple of problems, though. First, this is obviously heating Venus up,
which is not our goal, even if it’s only temporary, and second it’s taken that nitrogen
away along with the carbon dioxide, and we’d rather keep that. It’s also a lighter element than carbon
dioxide, so it will fly off even faster on us. There’s also the matter of ‘where to’,
and if we blow trillions and trillions of tons of carbon dioxide off Venus it’s going
to meander away from Venus until it leaves the solar system or gets captured by something
else. The next nearest ‘something else’ is Earth,
and I don’t know that we want to be getting extra CO2. We wouldn’t capture that much of it, proportionally,
but as mentioned Venus has hundreds of thousands of times more of it than we do, and we already
have plenty. You can avoid Earth wandering into a cloud
of liberated CO2, via timing and directing outgassing from Venus, and if you can do this
then CO2 at home isn’t much of a concern anymore anyway, but at the same time don’t
think of this as super high-tech. As we mentioned in Colonizing the Sun, where
we first discussed the Stellaser idea and in more detail, a Stellaser really is just
a pair of big thin mirrors orbiting high above the Sun using the Sun’s atmosphere as a
lasing medium, and this is handy because it means you’re not mega-engineering any super
huge mirrors and lenses or shades. Obviously our alternative approach is to simply
shade Venus, and none of these options are high tech, just require a lot of building. What’s nice about a stellaser approach is
that it’s more compact than just big lenses at Venus’s Lagrange Point or in orbit, so
less building, and the laser is at a discrete frequency, not just raw sunlight, so it opens
options like zapping Venus with light that Carbon Dioxide absorbs better than nitrogen
does. Indeed you can break that carbon dioxide up
into carbon and oxygen by hitting it with ultraviolet but that’s less useful than
it might sound like because carbon dioxide is a low energy state so random carbon and
oxygen floating near each other after being disassociated by UV light, would generally
just recombine. Ideally we’d like to keep all that carbon
dioxide on Venus, just as carbon and oxygen, so while using it as a rocket propellant is
an option, it’s maybe not the best one. However, as we’ll see in a moment, our timetable
for cooling Venus down by just blocking the light off is a couple of centuries, so options
on the more energetic side might be preferred simply because they save time. Building several million square kilometers
of millimeter thick shade or lens might sound like quite the endeavor but honestly it’s
well inside our modern industrial capacity groundside here on Earth, so a space based
one that was also more automated than modern manufacturing might crank that out fairly
easily. Those shades might run a few tons per square
kilometer and you might need a few billion tons of them, but that is around our current
annual metal production. You just need to have the capacity up in space,
but power and raw materials for it are superabundant there, so it’s basically how good your robots
and automation are. Be it shades, mirrors, whichever, that’s
why we tend to be pretty casual on the show about suggesting you can shade planets or
warm them with mirrors, there’s nothing high-tech about them and they aren’t colossal
endeavors. If I had to guess, I’d say the level of
automation we need to setup some moon or asteroid factory that just sucked in rock and spat
out millions of tons foil a year with minimal human on-site oversight already exists, we’re
just not setup and practiced with that kind of remote manufacturing yet, and you’d have
a lot of kinks to work out. I generally tend to figure this will end up
as the preferred final solution for our own carbon dioxide concerns so we may get a lot
of practice and core infrastructure developed before we decide on tackling Venus’s carbon
dioxide. Also keeping to context, throwing up a foil
that’s not even millimeter thick around a planet is a lot easier than doming over
a whole planet like we often contemplate for terraforming Mars, or rather para-terraforming
it. This method of shading Venus and letting it
cool down was discussed in Paul Birch’s 1991 paper Terraforming Venus Quickly, and
the ‘quickly’ part is rather relative. Shade Venus so no sunlight gets through and
he estimates a cooling time of 90-200 years. He discusses some ways to speed that up but
I’ll add the notion that blowing its atmosphere off by laser-ing sections might be the most
expeditious approach and sometimes time is worth a lot more than effort, and even more
so if most of that effort is being done by stupid little robots that are being spat out
by giant and mostly automated factories. The other issue that makes blowing the atmosphere
off sound sane is what happens as you cool carbon dioxide down. Now as you know, normally here on Earth CO2
is a gas or a solid, dry ice, there’s no liquid phase, but that’s only true at low
pressures, like on Earth, and indeed at low enough pressure substances generally do not
have liquid phases at all, in a vacuum you basically only have solid or gas. CO2 is a substance that needs pretty high
pressures to have a liquid phase but Venus happens to have that. As the planet begins cooling, cut off from
light, it will begin to rain carbon dioxide, as opposed to just sulfuric acid which is
what the rain on Venus is these days. This won’t be instant, indeed it won’t
happen until you cool to 304 Kelvin, 31 degrees Celsius or 88 Fahrenheit, versus its current
temperature of 463 Celsius or 86 Fahrenheit. So this happens about halfway through or so
in, when you’re almost cooled down to comfortable temperatures. At this point you will now have an ocean of
CO2 accumulate on a place that’s rather warm but livable already, temperature-wise. But the pressure is still quite high, and
that’s problematic. As it rains that atmospheric pressure will
begin to drop and we need to keep cooling the planet more, because carbon dioxide’s
liquid phase is based on pressure and temperature, the lower the pressure, the lower the temperature
needs to be to keep it a liquid not a gas, and that craters out at 194 Kelvin, or -78
Celsius or -109 Fahrenheit, and 5.2 atmospheres of pressure. Even ignoring that pressure being too high
for us to be comfortable in, you can only get to that pressure by dropping to that temperature,
and if you don’t, if you just cooled to normal room temperature, you’d have most
of that CO2 still in the atmosphere and some in the new oceans of CO2 and a constant rain,
at a pressure you could probably survive in with reasonably advanced Spacesuits, or Venus
suits. To clear the CO2 out, we have to keep going
even colder. We need it down to that 194 Kelvin, very nearly
the record low temperature recorded in Antarctica, so that it will stop raining CO2 and begin
to snow dry ice instead. It’s now officially Winter on Venus. At that temperature Dry Ice can exist at for
normal Earth pressure so the CO2 will just keep falling. If you’re wondering, all that nitrogen will
still be there as it doesn’t liquefy till even cooler, 77 Kelvin at normal Earth Pressure,
and while you can Liquify Nitrogen at higher temperatures under higher pressures, they’re
lower than carbon dioxide’s, so you’ll have lost all that pressure the CO2 provided
before you got down to the needed temperature. Such an approach could be done on a planet
that had far more nitrogen than CO2, but Venus isn’t such a case. Anyway, all that CO2 falls down and your oceans
crusting over into dry ice glaciers, but you still have that nitrogen, and it’s enough
that down on the frigid surface the pressure is still too high for comfort anyway, we’ve
got around twice the gas and pressure than we want, and still none of it oxygen. Now, oxygen itself is easy to get, most rocks
have plenty of it so it’s never a terraforming issue anywhere but all that CO2 is mostly
oxygen by mass, so we’ll save energy converting it, that produces heat though and a lot of
it when trying to make an atmosphere’s worth. We can also start fixing that nitrogen into
plants but at the moment there is no sun and they don’t care for those temperatures,
so for now we just have to decide if want to keep chilling till even the nitrogen rains
down or just deal with a thick nitrogen atmosphere for a while, and that is probably the better
option, particularly as it will take longer and longer to cool Venus each extra degree. Hot things radiate energy faster. Of course the moment we start warming the
place back up to start terraforming, all that Dry Ice is going to blow off right back into
the atmosphere, so we need to deal with that. We’ve got carbon sequestration, turning
the carbon into other stuff like calcium carbonate – or limestone – or we can just pave over
the stuff and rely on the sheer weight of rock to keep it at pressure. This is an iffy proposition though since you’d
need to pile dozen of meters of rock over it to keep it as a liquid at room temperature
and more like a kilometer to keep it as a solid at that temperature. It’s entirely probable we’ll have gotten
quite good at carbon sequestration by then, and although we don’t know the chemical
composition of Venus’s surface very well at this time, it’s likely to have plenty
of things like Calcium or Magnesium to bond that carbon to, as well. Of course carbon need not bond with anything,
but by default carbon dioxide dissociated into carbon and oxygen will form coal and
oxygen, needless to say that’s not a combination you want together at high temperatures or
it will just burn up. At low temperatures we can start separating
it into those two but we’d need to sequester most of the oxygen into rock as well, we’ve
more than a hundred times more oxygen in all that atmospheric CO2 than we’ll want in
our terraformed atmosphere. All of this is doable but takes time, even
if you’ve got a big energy budget, because you can only use so much power at once since
it will end as heat, the thing we don’t want to add. So you really have to take your time doing
this. This is further complicated because all that
air, or new ocean or glacier, has a lot of mass, and as it drains out of the sky and
pools up in lowlands you will begin getting earthquakes, great big earthquakes, or venusquakes
I suppose, and probably volcanic eruptions, neither of which is helping you store sequestered
CO2. You can probably start seeing why the notion
of just ripping the atmosphere off has some appeal, we don’t want virtually any of that
carbon dioxide and we’ve got a lot more nitrogen than we need, and dealing with them
this way is rather time consuming. I should also note that we’ve got very little
water right now, we are desperately short of hydrogen. However if we’ve got the industrial capacity
and technology for it, we can take some more proactive steps to speed this all up and do
it better. Before getting to that though we do have another
brute force approach for getting that water, or hydrogen. We could of course truck it in from places
like Jupiter or send massive bombardments of comets in, but I mentioned just shooting
the place with a stellaser earlier and that’s not the only kind of beam we can blast a place
with. The Sun has tons of hydrogen, most of our
supply of it, and it’s not that hard to get the ionized stuff magnetically shot at
Venus, which is a big target. We’ve talked about starlifting before, mostly
for mining other elements off the Sun, but it is mostly hydrogen you get when doing that
and you either dump it back down on the Sun or take it off somewhere, and there’s a
lot to be said about just blasting Venus with it. I will just go ahead and name a giant hydrogen
particle beam from a star a ‘hydrocannon’, because it’s seems appropriate. That heats stuff up too, but three main elements
in Venus atmosphere are carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, and carbon is the lightest and
the one that we can blow away easiest. So if you knew what you were doing you might
be able to get away with basically Death-Starring Venus with a giant laser and hydrogen particle
beam until you got a nice mix of water, oxygen, and nitrogen. I don’t think that is a very wise approach
but it’s certainly an amusing one and might turn out to be the fastest method. Ultimately it all depends on your technology
and what your controlling factor is, time, energy, manpower, money, etc. To speed cooling we have the option of using
great big convective towers on the planet, or hanging them down off orbital rings, and
you might hang a bunch of orbital rings and radiators above the planet and do some chemistry
up there, extracting CO2 and nitrogen either for export or to sequester it into something
that would be a solid at higher temperatures. Early on you could actually float such factories
and convection towers, as that atmosphere is very thick, rather than using active support
tech like orbital rings and space towers, but it only takes around half a century to
cool Venus enough you could walk around and just feel warm and would take even less time
if you’re using such a setup, so at most you’d erect the basic structures as buoyant
objects initially and begin adding in your active support as the atmosphere and buoyancy
went away. Going this way you can cool the planet faster
but more importantly you don’t have to cool it below room temperature. You might be slowed a little because running
all that forced sequestration and cooling towers does take energy and produce heat,
but it’s a lot like running a fan and dehumidifier to cool a room, both add more heat but in
the process of removing that heat. So you’ve got giant cooling towers and active
support and big sequestration facilities processing out that atmosphere, which begin running as
soon as the planet is cool enough that you can drop the sequestered materials back down
without worry they’ll just unsequester themselves right back into CO2 and nitrogen. You might have big centrifuges being powered
by beamed in energy and hydrogen from the sun that took dissociated carbon dioxide and
turned into coal or graphite and water. Or you might truck your hydrogen in from Jupiter. Ultimately, and probably in around a century,
you’ve got a planet cooled down to Earth temperatures with the right amount of Nitrogen,
CO2, and water, and you can start letting some light back through your shade. You don’t need a magnetosphere to protect
that atmosphere though because that shade is still keeping you shielded from the Sun. Put you’re probably not just opening the
shade but rather altering into a dish that’s going to bounce light at another orbiting
mirror that rotates around Venus every 24 hours, just a bit lower than geocentric orbits
on Earth would be as Venus has slightly weaker gravity. That second mirror, our geocentric Sun essentially,
would want to be about a tenth as wide as our Moon, or about 200 miles wide or 300 kilometers,
not too big, though in this case not very thin at all, you want it to be fairly massive
so all that light concentrated doesn’t shove it away like a solar sail. Presto, you now have a perfect candidate world
for terraforming and in this case all you’ve got to do is drop in the bacteria and slowly
introduce more complex life and colonists as the world finishes settling into its new
setup, it’s likely to be fairly tectonically active for a while now that it has oceans
over some spots and thin atmosphere only over others, shifting around weight. The gravity is a little lower, and the weather
will be a bit different because the sunlight isn’t coming in totally uniform but from
a more point like source near at hand, whereas the Sun is so far away we can treat it’s
light as coming in parallel. If you stick a light bulb near a wall, you
get a bright spot on it, unless the bulb is very bright and far away compared to the size
of that wall, or planet, so that every part of the wall is nearly the same distance from
the light bulb, which is the case for the Sun as light bulb, see the Mega Earths or
Making Suns episode for further discussion of how to do geocentric lighting correctly. Back to tilt, Venus has very little axial
tilt anyway so you’re likely to cyclically adjust that mirror-sun a fair amount to fake
seasons anyway. I should note that while I just said Venus
has very little axial tilt it’s actually got the most, being effectively flipped over
180 degrees, 177.3, but from most practical standpoints the upside down world has a very
small axial tilt of 2.7 degrees compared to Earth’s 23.5. You do want those seasons, as while you could
doubtless genetically engineer Earth-life to different or no seasons, way too many plants
and animals have the seasons wired into their life cycles so it’s probably a good idea
to aim for a close approximation of Earth’s own, and though Venus’s year is shorter
than ours, if you’re faking your lighting this way anyway, you can put a 365 day year
into play instead if you want. As always with terraforming, you have to decide
what’s good enough and which approach for getting good enough makes the most sense or
least effort. Dragging Venus further from the Sun, spinning
it up and flipping it over seems like overkill compared to a thin sunward shade and thick
mirror-sun. Regardless, more technology in terms of biology
or sequestration or automation can all let us do this much faster, but while it takes
a little more time to start terraforming Venus compared to Mars, since you’ve got to let
it cool down a bit before you can mess with the surface, I suspect you’d be able to
get the job done faster and certainly more complete than Mars. Ultimately all you need is that solar shade
and mirror system and a source of hydrogen, which if necessary can be slowly collected
from the Sun’s own Solar Wind, though that would be quite slow. This gives you a nice terraformed planet,
fairly quickly and also fairly low tech, we could keep going of course, slowly spin the
planet up and just remove the Sun Mirror and much of the shade later on. We could drag in Mercury and make it a moon,
though it would be more like a double planet at this point, something we’ll look at more
down the road, and of course we could just dissect Mercury, reform part of it into a
moon, dump the rest on Venus to add some mass to bring it a bit closer to Earth Normal size
and gravity, and shove the whole thing into a counter-Earth orbit on the opposite side
of the Sun, but I’d consider that overkill. As we mentioned in Springtime on Mars, you
can never really replicate a planet perfectly nor would you really want to, and so it’s
just a matter of deciding what’s good enough, and the options discussed today in terms of
shading are potentially within our capacity in this century, especially considering the
necessary first step is that simple shading and everything else can be added later as
it cools. We’d just need a robust space industry,
preferably heavy on automation, and I really don’t think it’s a big stretch that we
might have that in the 21st Century. So it’s entirely possibly you could see
dry ice snow on Venus in the 22nd century. Our hot twin might see its first winter in
a mere century or two from today, even without any particularly huge advances in technology. Winter on Venus, though, until you truck the
hydrogen in for normal water and purge or sequester all that CO2, is not one you’d
want to introduce reindeer to. As is often the case on this show, we brought
up a lot of concepts that seem so immense and challenging that they can seem almost
equally difficult, a planet size solar shade can seem harder to build than blowing off
an entire atmosphere, rather than vastly easier, just by the sheer scale of everything involved. To understand how these things can be accomplished
under known science and encapsulate the scales involved, or to think up new ideas yourself,
it helps to have a solid grasp of math and science, and that’s where our friends at
Brilliant can help. Brilliant is a problem solving website and
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challenges in the archives and access dozens of problem solving courses. Venus is a pretty hostile place, and the folks
working to terraform it one day might be exposed to great risk, and much of humanity’s hopefully
bright future includes some risks and some dangerous new challenges. Next week we’ll take a look at some of those
future dangers and some of the new technologies and methods we might have available to help
avoid them or get people out off danger, in High-Tech Search and Rescue. Of course one of the ways we might avoid such
dangers, for those people or for those rescuing them, would be through remote piloting, and
in two weeks we’ll look at that and some other options that may become available to
us if we develop a way to interface the mind with the machine. For alerts when those and other episodes come
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100 thoughts on “Winter on Venus”

  1. The most recent research on the subject suggests that Venus once had water on it, until the tidal forces from the sun caused it to become tidally locked and lose its magnetic field. Then it picked up a slight retrograde rotation from wind forces since the wind only sweeps in one direction around the equator. Ironically it was the tidal drag from the water (and indeed being too close to the sun) that turned it into a hellhole, and it adds yet another condition for a planet to support life.

  2. Wouldn't humans do the slower looting of carbon air and nitrogen for the Over nine thousand Fully automated luxury gay space communism Rotating soda cans?

  3. What if you use some big asteroids to help block the sun light,, Find some 400 miles in diameter move them in between Venus and the Sun rocket engines can be place on them to move them and keep them in place,,

  4. Wife in hospital, having bad Parkinson spells myself past 3 days, car broke down, had to walk 4 miles to get a part 4 miles back today, really huring like crazy had to watch Isaac Arthur, Got me a peanut butter sandwich made big glass of Tea cannot do anything else today Parkinson will not kill you just make you feel like your dying all the time,, That will be a good show for you to do Mr. Isaac, do one on healing people with diseases like Parkinson work security just on weekends will not be able to make it tonight first time I had to call in

  5. Invasive species show that animals can very quickly adapt and thrive in environments wildly different from their usual. I'm sure an ecology without seasons could function perfectly well enough.

  6. I was wondering about using the carbon in the atmosphere to manufacture the sun shield. Carbon can be fashioned into sheets of carbon nanotubes or graphite. It can also be engineered into diamond at high pressures,, instead of mere coal. Just a thought.

  7. Another thought, as the atmosphere is thinned out with the removal of mass quantities of carbon dioxide the planetary rotation may well speed up and actually correct itself. There’s long been a theory that the thick atmosphere acted as a brake slowing down the spin and eventually reversed it.

  8. But the slow rotation is probably what's preventing Venus from having a magnetosphere. If we sped it up to match earth, the magnetosphere would most likely be active again.

  9. All of this just highlights the need to make human beings smarter. Technology on earth facilitates our lives, but technology on other worlds is essential to our survival. People will need to have a deeper understanding of the technologies that are required for survival, whereas on earth we only need to know how to use our devices. We don't really need to understand how they work. Therefore I propose we begin to genetically engineer the human race to be smarter. Not lawyer smart either. Engineer smart. If we start now, we will be ready to act once the technologies become available to travel to and live on other worlds. Of course, these technologies will arrive sooner if we have more smart people around to create them.

    So we will need to shed the moral constraints we have against genetic engineering, such as the one against cloning humans. We can already clone many animals. Were we to put the effort into it, we could probably reach a point where we could successfully clone humans reliably. Then we could come up with a list of the people that have the smarts we will need into the future, and create clones of those people. These clone babies can be distributed throughout the population via adoption. If we cloned 1,000 Elon Musks, it would be as if Elon Musk himself had thousands of kids. There are plenty of people who want to adopt and they almost always prefer smart babies when possible.

    Something we could do with today's technology would be to encourage, via financial incentive (tax breaks for example), our smartest people to donate sperm and eggs to fertility clinics. Even now, there is quite a demand for eggs from women attending Harvard. So we are already doing this. We just need to scale up. Let's get people attending MIT and CalTech to donate reproductive material as well.

    Isaac, I would love to hear your thoughts. Oh, and you can get cloned too. Your speech impediment would just make cute clone babies.

  10. I've been watching and listening for a few days now…pretty much every time I'm in my car. This channel is outstanding. Thank you so much for all of this.

  11. Could we like do that with a large shade to stomp like global warming or climate change and stop the ice caps from melting here on Earth

  12. Excellent episode! I agree, Venus is a better candidate for terraforming. What did the Russians know back in the 1970's when they began focusing their planetary probes on Venus?

  13. ? ISAAC…
    Off ubject from video (incidentally another amazing & informative upload👍)…but unsure where to ?…think you'll address Navy UFO videos makin web rounds? I'm skeptical myself for PRECISE reasons I've learned from your channel but I'd like your take.
    .. thnx again for all that you do!

  14. Hi Isaac.

    I would love to know your thoughts on this topic.
    I would assume it is possible to compute same level activity as the human brain, on today’s existing hardware. However not in real time. I mean if only we knew how to simulate a consciousness. Might it be possible to do on like a raspberry pi, but the intelligence on it only experiencing 1 hour of normal time, every year it is running. Does it make sense?
    There might be some storage issues, but if speed is not important, one could use a hard drive as ram.
    Just a random thought 🙂

  15. "We're not sure why it's such a blisteringly hot world . . ." Really? It's well known that Venus suffers from a runaway greenhouse effect that accounts in large part for its high temperatures . . . but apparently too "trivial" for you. Ah well. Cheers!

  16. If you're advanced enough to do any of these things to Venus, you're advanced enough to NOT FUCK UP the Planet you already fucking got! So how about setting up research stations and small colonies and getting a grip while we're at it.

  17. Immanuel Velikovsky a shameless self promoter of spooky wuwu Bermuda Triangle, Ancient Aliens crap wrote in his book "Worlds in Collision" that among other things Venus was previously a solo body that Jupiter ejected into our solar system. I wouldn't know about that but neither should Velikovsky. It is only recently accepted that the moon was the result of an impact and that big scratch on Mars and the meteor that ended the Cretaceous. So he thought outside the box and it's a fun short read. I think Joe Scott mat have a few ideas about Vlikovsky's speculations.

  18. no one does crazy speculative space stuff that you almost believe can actually be done someday like sir isaac arthur, the pride of ashtabula.

  19. What about adding radioactive stuff into the core of Mars to create the magnets field. Mars may have thorium like Earth. Which would only need some purring of this stuff to get started?

  20. What is even more interesting for me is how a thick cloud covered planet could get that hot? The cloud cover should reflect at least 60% of the incoming solar radiation and the surface should be actually almost freezing if not just nice and warm …

  21. While Venus is still terribly cold, separate the CO2 into coal and oxygen. Send the excess coal into space with a few orbital rings. Use that carbon to build O'Neill habitats, Bishop rings, space elevators, etc. I mean, if Venus has nearly as much (or more!) carbon than the whole Asteroid Belt.

    Leave the atmosphere two or three times as thick as Earth's. People can adjust to that, and it allows human flight with just a little extra oomph built into the wingsuit.

  22. Inject hydrogen with some catalyst down to the surface, and it'll react to produce methane and water, both of which are lighter than CO2 and espace easier. Or you could create hydrocarbons and make a gooey mess.

  23. Capture a Pluto sized body, make it zoom close to Venus and induce a spin. After a few hundred thousand years, it might gain a spin.

  24. I particularly loved this episode because I constantly dream of terraforming Venus. I have some follow up questions and ideas: (1) Would it be possible to plant colonies in Venus' thick atmosphere and then suck the carbon from this aforementioned atmosphere that could be processed into carbon nanotubes to be taken to build McKendree cylinders in space and perhaps a rungworld? Perhaps before we really began the terraformation of Venus, we could use a sizable portion of the carbon in the famously thick atmosphere for this purpose and also help reduce the temperature.
    (2) As suggested by Kim Stanley Robinson in his novel 2312, after the shade has been put into use cooling Venus down, could we use nanobots to disassemble Saturn's moon Dione (which is mostly ice is my understanding) and then bombard Venus with the pieces, thus giving Venus both oceans and perhaps hitting it in a manner that would alter its orbit?
    (3) Would we be able to convert Venus' atmosphere to an Earthlike air pressure or would it be something like 3.6 atm after terraforming to breathable, as Chris Wayan of the World Dream Bank website has suggested? I think the 3.6 atm thick breathable atmosphere would be intriguing because, as Wayan has pointed out, one could strap on wings and fly with this air pressure and 0.9 g.
    I hope Aubrey de Grey manages to work his magic, because I would love to see the day that Venus becomes a Megazoic version of Earth. (Megazoic is Wayan's term for a warm moist climate beyond supertropical.) I also like the idea of building SuperMcKendree cylinders and a rungworld of SuperMcKendree cylinders out of access carbon if this is possible.

  25. Siphoning off the atmosphere… CO2… dry ice… torching it… giving it an umbrella… Are we just turning Venus into a really over-complicated tiki drink?

  26. Counter-earth overkill? Well, you know what they say about overkill:

    There is no "overkill". There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload."

    or, in this case:

    There is no "overkill". There is only "teraforming in process" and "I need to move the planet to teraform it".

    EDIT. I just noticed a lot of the clips shown now have watermarks pointing us to the people or companies that both made them and made them available for you to use. Nice.

  27. How on earth Issac manages to cover these topics so comprehensively is beyond me, he not only presents and details a premise but then explores that premise fully within the confines of the topic, very rarely leaving you with a question that goes unanswered.
    Another half an hour well spent.
    I would love to see Issac do an episode questioning the origins of UFO's with the premise being that "atleast some ufo sightings are real" i know we've touched on this before in (hidden aliens) but alot of people love jumping straight to aliens rather than fully considering the facts, for example, we've never seen a ufo in space or entering earths atmosphere which we're pretty unlikely to miss, so assume they're of earthy origin but fully explore not only the silurian hypothesis where a dinosaurian civalisation secretly survives but the possibility of unknown humans or our close relatives like homo habillis, a Neanderthal cousin that evolved a very lean bone structure due to living in caves and needing to squeeze through tight passages, surviving and evolving their technology more or less at the same rate as us, could we be sharing earth with another civalisation? And what would such a civalisation be like, what would the near infinite thermal electricity available under the earth enable them to do? How would they're evolution diverge if they separated from us a million years ago?
    I feel like issac is basically the only youtuber equipped to attempt a video like that as the more you think about it the more questions arise.
    Unfortunately i know Isaac kind of dislikes the whole concept of UFO'S being anything other than schizophrenia and classified technology though so ill probably never see these topics fully explored here 😢😭

  28. I personally don't look at it that deeply. I just wait for her to calm down, but I don't think it will work when she's really angry.

  29. Well, it seems that this video had two conflicting idea. The first one freezing down the atmosphere or at least the CO2 and the second just blowing the atmosphere away or using a more starlifting approach. I think just freezing down the CO2 should be sufficient. There is always the possibilty to break CO2 into carbon and oxygen or to just store it in mines. There are nitrogen oxygen combinations too and the possibility to chemically bind the rest of the venus atmosphere after the CO2 is frozen down. There can always be underground habitats or domes for humans. Frozen CO2 and nitrogen combinations can be exported with orbital ring technology.

  30. Cold: the air and water flowin'
    Hard: the land we call our home
    Push, to keep the dark from comin'
    Feel the weight of what we owe


  31. Genius! First freeze the CO2 and then release it again as gas after decades or a century of waiting for it to freeze! I mean, this is absolute genius!

    1) BTW blocking the sun to cool Venus down is let's say it politely – at best mentally challenged. You just need to eliminate the CO2 and make O2. No mega structures and machine automation needed. We already know of biological automatons that reproduce. We're working on it.

    2) Another way would be just to bombard Venus with hydrogen. That's more unrealistic as we cannot extract it from the gas giants and transport it to Venus in any economical way, yet.

  32. I feel like people don't quite understand the sheer size of these planets, like thinking a couple nukes will warm up Mars enough for us, or you know just firing a giant Beam at Venus will save the day. On top of these massive assumptions we have no clue what the long-term effects of any of these actions will be, we could try and calculate the best we can with math and assumptions ultimately even if we didn't have the power to do such a thing we wouldn't know what the heck would happen after a little while

    Mars will always be more of a viable option that Venus simply because we can go underground and expand outward, unlike Venus we would have to create Cloud City's but then we would never be able to see the surface and we would have to live in the atmosphere and just scan the surface from above, it would take so many resources just to expand to a small City and these resources would have to come from outside the planet. It makes no sense to create a cloud city on Venus

  33. About mercury, we can shade that planet too, and bombard it with excess co2 from mars to make a mini venus there, we will need a radiation shield there i think

  34. 17:40 why not catch the rain phase of CO2 and turn it into graphene and nano-tubes for construction of O'Neil cylinders?

  35. "Venus might be a better place to colonize than mars"

    100% wrong. Venus might be more capable of "aero-forming", adjusting upper atmospheric conditions to keep a type of inert nitrogen blimp there indefinitely. Terraforming, however, is literally one of the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The heat is not the problem. The sulfuric acid and storms are. And if you get rid of the heat, the atmosphere will condense.

    I get this isn't an educational or science channel it's an info-tainment thing, but this is still idiotic.

  36. I think Venus would be the first to be terraformed, not because it's physically easier but because Mars would already have people on it and wouldn't want their homes wrecked.

  37. How do you determine what the land masses of a planet will look like after terraforming, or is it just a hypothesis? Anyhow it's excellent concept images.

  38. If there are oceans of Co2, could O2 be harvested from asteroids, or just crash them into those oceans(at an extremely oblique angle with the rotation, to get a physics cheat, and speed it up) to create H2O, and a breathable atmosphere? I don't know how they could create a magnetosphere. Is there a rotating planetary core? Maybe build a copper or iron ring on the surface that spins faster than the planet using a gauss effect, like mag-lev?

  39. Best Venus terraforming episode since Carl Sagan! Well done! Blowing off the gas with stellaser and hydrocannon are very new (at least for me). We are one now a step closer to terraforming Venus. After all, ladies first!

  40. Honestly, I personally would be pretty worried about venus suddenly turning inside out as a venutian colonist… If we hadn't ruled that out by now that is.

  41. theoretically speaking. you could send a massive permanent super magnet as an attractive core source and grow your own moon magnetically to start the process. the magnetic core would just orbit Venus collecting metallic dust onto its surface. until it grows into a moon with gravitational drag. if the moon becomes big enough it would help the spin of Venus increase in revolution. speeding up the planet. but this process would take a while to grow and be effective and the moon would be located in just the right spot in orbit to cast a shadow upon the planet. imo.

  42. first off, the latest research indicated Venus was habitable less than a billion years ago and could have had life. There seems there was a relatively recent runaway event there and not because Venus is closer to the Sun (volcanic, massive impact, etc). Remove the greenhouse gases and it's likely you would get a return to habitable temperatures for us. Also, it's an open question of whether having a strong magnetic field like Earth's contributes to more atmosphere loss or less than a planet like Venus or Mars with weak to no magnetic field. It's currently being studied by probes at Venus, Mars, and a satellite at Earth, to try to answer the question.

  43. This all seems to be a physicist approach. Let the biologists at it. Do what we are starting to do best, create new life forms that become airborne on Venus, converting CO2 to a solid fixed form and generating loads of Oxygen.

  44. Seriously, after all my years on youtube I only discover your chanel a few weeks ago. Oh well on the bright side I have a lot of awesome catching up to do!

  45. one major future flaw. 5 billion years when the sun bloats into a red giant Venus is doomed to be engulfed when the sun expands into red giant mode. So the target of terraforming Venus is in my eyes absolutly a no go zone. best chance is to focuse on mars. since you Issac are loosing sight of the fact that Venus's clouds are laced with Sulphuric Acid in adition to C02 and other elements.

  46. wait.. Just got a second thought..
    venus hasca weak EM field due to it's Ionosphere.. Right?

    why not add a planatary ring 💍that is basically a huge magnet, and accelerate it so it boosts that Ionosphere based EMF into something that doesn't lose quite that much air.

    Or Even Better!!

    At the lagrange point A(?) you have what is basically a huge rod.(Two O'neal Cylinders linked together) their Spin producing that protective EMF, And it also helps run a small swarm. Thick and Big enough to mildly darken Venus.
    Less Light. EMF. We can modulat it for night, day & Seasons..

    And you have people already living there.

    then You have the floating cities:

    The floating city radiate its heat up.
    and under it, you have another plane. the center is a hole. the rest stretches beyond the perimeter of the city. in is a few meters bellow. it is heat insulting. like the city above, the bottom is as smove as possible. its top is ridges to guide any currents of air to the hole in the middle. That is the part directly under the city. the area closer to the edge curves up, like a bowl.
    not closing the gap.
    in the citys shade. the air cools flows to the center and sinks down. in the probable force of a gail. and this will help the city get some more lift.

    and the planet cools faster as a by product.

  47. No, Venus is a terrible choice. No matter how much humans fuck up Earth, it'll not be as bad as Venus. And it's all because there's 94x as much atmosphere as on Earth. The amount of atmosphere is far more important than what it is actually made out of. The funny thing is, that both Venus and Mars's atmospheres are mostly carbon dioxide. So obviously the thickness of the atmosphere is the most important, since all the greenhouse gas on Mars ain't doing it no favors. Even if Venus's atmosphere was oxygen it would still be the same, provided it was 94x as much as Earth's.

  48. I don't understand why we would tie ourselves to yet another rock! We need gravity, atmosphere and a biosphere. Doing this absent a rock seems far safer since the destruction of one unit (Ringworld?} has a less important effect on the population as a whole! Of course EVERY person has the same intrinsic value so such an event would still be an unimaginable tragedy! Then there is mobility. Non rock based habitats are mobile so they can be dispersed all over the galaxy! I personally believe our Creator intended this for Humanity to begin with. Dune expressed this rather well Nobody but us Humans (what ever we made of ourselves) here!

  49. As far as I know, there is one bigger problem here as well, that is no plate tectonics on Venus, which would help to get rid of internal heat. On Earth, super continents formed several times during the eons, but always ended in massive volcanic periods because of the size of those "all in one" plate (well, my English is kinda bad …). In fact, recently it was theorized that Venus was a kind of great place (compared to now at least!) for surprisingly long time (including water too, maybe), and only something happened about 700 millions years ago, introducing the current hellish conditions there. Anyway, what my point is: a global surface renewing process is kinda fatal for anything, which happens on Venus some time … And it's more about the internal heat of the planet rather than the external as far as I can understand. But surely, it's just me, thinking, and I'm not even near an expert or anything, but faaaar from that 🙂

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