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Saturday, December 29, 2018

How the Soviet Union tried to colonize Venus

How the Soviet Union tried to colonize Venus
Next to us is a unique planet with its properties - Venus. What does she hide? Can life exist there? The USSR at one time tried to answer such questions and took very serious steps to master this planet. More on this later.
Back in the 60s-70s. the previous century, the USSR with a serious intention wanted to master Venus. He even planned to organize a colony of immigrants on it. In December 70, the first in the history of cosmonautics spacecraft apparatus landed on the surface of the planet. In general, for more than 20 years, almost two dozen devices were able to be sent there. The world then called Venus "the Russian planet."

For what purpose is it necessary to conquer Venus?

Now we very often hear information about the polonization of Mars, but half a century ago Venus was considered to be much more promising for USSR scientists. Why so? There were several reasons for this, and the main one was concluded in Venus’s greatest resemblance to Earth: here, the size, mass, and composition. For example, Mars is too small, has a rarefied atmosphere and is located very far from Earth. But Venus is considered for scientists, one might say, an earthly twin.
As a second reason, we can assume that even in the 1st half of the last century, the surface of the planet was a kind of giant ocean. Just the presence of the ocean, according to scientists, to some extent explains the clouds, forever surrounding the planet. The ocean is life, and because of this, Venus is more attractive in this regard.
The third reason is the resources themselves. They say that Venus should have immodest reserves of solid elements, for example, uranium. Also, due to its proximity to the luminary, Venus is a real natural fusion reactor that can give a strong impetus to the development of energy.
Because of the above reasons, the USSR was forced to abandon Mars, the development of which was to be the responsibility of the United States. For a more detailed study of the planet created a space program called "Venus", which provided for sending a series of automatic interplanetary stations of the USSR. The program began in February 1961. It was stretched over more than 20 years.

How was Venus revived?

Very little was known about Venus, since behind its dense layer no telescope was able to examine the planetary surface, but because of this the USSR did not stop in terms of constructing active tasks for colonizing the planet. At the dawn of the 60s. last century, an astronomer from the United States, Carl Sagan, suggested the Soviet scientific community to spread Venus' terraforming plan. In other words, it is the creation of conditions on the planet resembling the earthly ones.
At the 1st stage it was planned to send unicellular green algae to the planet itself, which will rapidly multiply if there are no natural enemies. As soon as they overwhelm the ocean, the algae will begin to decompose in excess of the carbon dioxide on the planet and enrich the atmosphere with oxygen. All such processes will reduce the greenhouse effect, and the planetary temperature will gradually decrease. There have been suggestions that over the course of a century, temperature indicators may become lower to less than 100 ° C.
But in 1967, the 1st Space Station of the USSR flew to the atmosphere of this planet and transmitted information that violated all the plans of the scientific community, because, according to her, it turned out that there was no ocean on Venus. In 1969 another station flew to Venus, called "Venus-6", which gave even more accurate information, namely that the planet has more than 97% carbon dioxide, 2% nitrogen and 0.1% oxygen, and water vapor that can help life begin - even less.


"Flying Islands"

The above plan eventually curtailed, but it was replaced by a new concept. If the surface of the planet is so cruel and not suitable for life, is it not possible to settle on the clouds of the planet? At an altitude of 60 km. above the planetary surface there is a continuous cloud layer, the thickness of which is approximately 10 km.

The device "Venera-4" recorded that at this altitude the temperature readings reach -25 ° C. This, of course, is rather cold, but you can still make it if you compare it with +475, which is on the surface. The pressure in the zone of the cloud layer is also very similar to that of the earth. It is worth noting that the clouds, like the earth, are made up of tiny ice crystals, so there is water there, even though it is very small. All this makes the conditions of being there a person much more comfortable than on the moon and Mars. Astronauts will not need a spacesuit, because a lightweight mask with an oxygen-producing unit using chemical means is enough.
The main inconvenience here is that there is no solid surface familiar to humans, but astronauts should not need it. There were suggestions that the first colonialists would live on airship stations making drifts. Carbon dioxide is 1.5 times heavier than air, so that the light envelope with air inside will float in a carbon dioxide atmosphere and will not even sink.

Engineers of the USSR showed a possible device for such flying settlements. One drawing was placed back in 1971 in a magazine called “Technique of Youth”. The ship was a giant platform, surrounded by a spherical shell consisting of several layers of synthetic film, between which produce circulating movements of gas compositions that keep the airship itself afloat. The shell is transparent, and through it you can see the whitish sky of the planet. At the bottom of the platform there are living quarters, warehouses and laboratories, and above them is the land where agricultural crops grow.

Hope was killed

Alas, in the future it was the research work on Venus that managed to destroy this concept. In 1978, the Venera-11 and Venus-12 vehicles flew to the planet, which registered a significant number of electrical discharges in the atmospheric environment of the planet. Only during the landing of the Venus-12, the number of lightning was above a thousand.
After 4 years, in 1982, the 14th vehicle flew to Venus, which gave some more sad information: just at an altitude of 50-60 km. Strong wind phenomena are observed above the planetary surface. They are so powerful that an island in the clouds can easily rip apart.

It is worth noting that the devices 9-14 provided the USSR with a lot of valuable information regarding Venus: these are photos and panoramas of the planetary surface, the results of soil and atmospheric environment analyzes, temperature measurements, as well as pressure during descent in the atmospheric environment. However, the more scientists began to know about the 2nd planet from the Sun, the less interest was shown in this.
In 1984, the USSR decided to remake the Venus project into an international project, called Vega, in which Japan, the USA and 10 other European countries took part. But the mission did not provide any new data, and this was the last step taken by our country in relation to Venus.

Conclusion

Here we have provided readers with very interesting information. After all, the colonization of Venus is a very serious matter, and it turns out that the USSR sought to implement such ideas. Alas, all this is then curtailed. But in the course of these attempts at colonization, mankind learned a great deal about Venus. It is noteworthy that it is possible to create conditions there like earthly ones, and people can live there, moreover, there, as they say, would presumably be more comfortable than on Mars and even the Moon. We learned a lot from this mission to Venus and are still ahead, because technology, perhaps, can allow any old ideas to be realized, and we will become the colonizers of Venus, not Mars.

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