Note — Nov 15, 2020

Screw the Mars Hype. Here’s Why We Should Move to Venus.

Seen in → No.150

Source → thehypothesis.substack.com/p/screw-the-mars-hyp...

In this issue of the excellent new newsletter, The Hypothesis, Annalee Newitz makes the case for colonizing Venus (perhaps with cities inside balloons of breathable atmosphere) instead of Mars. Both invasions are still very much hypothetical (pun intended) but since they are so different and the bro-vision of Mars so capitalistic, “perhaps having to rethink what a habitat is in the first place will spur us to rethink social contracts, too.”

For the record, I’m always signing up for a Newitzian planet way, way before a Muskian one.

There’s also some evidence that Venus was once covered in oceans, and perhaps rich with life a billion years ago. But something catastrophic happened — or, maybe, a series of small changes that added up to a slow but planet-altering transformation — and the planet wound up with a superheated surface and permanent cloud cover. […]

Life on Venus would be wholly unlike Earth. The surface of the planet is unlivable for humans: the intense atmospheric pressure and heat is like being at the bottom of a very deep ocean that’s hot enough to melt lead. So we’d have to live in the clouds, right below the protective ionosphere that sucks up radiation. […]

[W]e’re at the thought experiment stage … we can be explorers who seek to find homes for ourselves in worlds that are already made. We can integrate into already-existing environments that are worth preserving. Maybe we’ll even construct settlements that serve the public rather than capital.