The US space agency NASA has announced plans to establish a permanent human colony in a floating cloud city above the Earth’s nearest planet Venus.
The decision to set up a colony has been taken after NASA researchers Dale Arney and Chris Jones proposed a prior visit to Venus before sending humans to Mars.
NASA will send helium-filled solar-powered airships to explore Venus’ atmosphere in order to eventually establish the colony.
The robotic version is expected to be 31m-long while the crewed version would be nearly 130m-long.
The crewed version would come with a small habitat and the ascent vehicle; a winged two-stage rocket slung below the airship, which will be used by the astronauts to return to Venus’ orbit and home.
NASA’s High-Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) mission aims to explore the atmosphere of Venus instead of exploring the surface.
According to researchers, the upper atmosphere of Venus is said to be an Earth-like environment and Venus offers one atmosphere of pressure and lower gravity compared with Earth.
The HAVOC programme involves a series of missions, including an inital robotic mission and a crewed mission later on to Venus’ orbit with a stay of 30 days.
Later missions would have a crew of two spend a year in the atmosphere, and a permanent human presence would gradually be set up there.