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Sending Men To Venus
gndonald
post Jul 20 2005, 04:40 PM
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While it is likely that future Venus missions will be robotic craft, at one point someone in NASA carried out an interesting contingency study on sending a manned craft to orbit Venus.

The file (Click here:Manned Venus Mission 1967) works on the assumption that either the NERVA project had been carried through to completion or that NASA had retained the capacity it was developing for Apollo.

While the author does not rule out the possibility of a landing on Venus, he notes that owing to the unknown surface conditions they would be highly unlikely.

Launch times are given as being between 1975-1986 and are designed to allow 40 days in orbit at Venus.

As someone who was growing up during the period mentioned I would like to say that such missions would have been far more interesting than what actually occurred.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jul 20 2005, 07:04 PM
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Keep in mind that one of the main reasons for being hesitant to land men on Mars if we DO discover proof of either present or fossil life (which is virtually the only thing that could conceivably justify such a staggeringly expensive feat for at least the next 50 years) is that manned landers obviously cannot be sterilized -- which means that any attempt to use manned landers to study evidence of Martian life will disastrously contaminate the very thing they're trying to study. (I call "the Martian Catch-22.")

For this reason, it might be far more defensible to limit any manned Mars expeditions -- for a long time to come -- to orbiting the planet, so that the crew could teleoperate sophisticated sterilized surface rovers, sample-return landers, etc. without the lengthy radio time lag that makes it so extremely dificult to study any other planet by remote control directly from earth. But exactly that same kind of manned expedition -- a manned orbiter telecontrolling a large array of unmanned surface vehicles in a fast and efficient way -- could be used to explore Venus. So a manned Venus mission is not quite as crazy an idea as it might at first appear to be.
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gndonald
post Jul 21 2005, 03:14 AM
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I don't think that a manned Venus mission would be either a crazy or fruitless idea, in fact a program of manned missions leading to an ISS style station in orbit around Venus as a permanent base for running remote surface surveys would have been a wonderful objective for NASA during the 'post-Viking' period.

But that would have required a degree of political backing that was sadly lacking during the 1976-1986 timeframe.
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JRehling
post Jul 21 2005, 03:45 AM
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[...]
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mike
post Jul 21 2005, 05:07 AM
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Shielding would have to be a part of the design, but even then, it's space, it's dangerous. I think the astronauts realize that, and I think people in general know that. I dare say that the danger is no small part of the appeal of exploration. If it were completely safe, it would also be completely boring.
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edstrick
post Jul 21 2005, 06:59 AM
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Note that Venus actually includes environments where a non-spacesuited human can actually go outside. At (I don't have the exact number) about 50 or 55 kilometers altitude, the atmosphere temperature is about 70 F and the pressure is very roughly 1/2 atmosphere. The concentrated sulfuric acid clouds are actually a moderatly thick haze of 2 micrometer droplets with visibility of at least many hundereds of meters to a few kilometers

With a 40% oxygen/nitrogen air supply and goggles, and an acid blocking/neutralizing cream on the skin, and acid-resistant clothing, you could actually work on the outside of a "Buoyant Venus Station" for extended periods.
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Bob Shaw
post Jul 21 2005, 09:08 AM
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Here's a thought: Venus, at closest approach, is only about 100 times further away than the Moon, and about 25 times further away than Earth's furthest LaGrange point...


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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ljk4-1
post Jul 21 2005, 03:25 PM
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In his 1997 book Venus Revealed, David Grinspoon included a drawing of a proposed manned research station floating in the Venerean atmosphere.

Here it is:

http://www.funkyscience.net/imagebank/imag...archstation.jpg

He also has some interesting speculation on the life forms that might dwell in those "nicer" regions.


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Chmee
post Jul 21 2005, 03:35 PM
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Larry Niven wrote a good short story back in the seventies about a manned landing on Venus, (who got stuck on the surface and had to find a way to get off). I beleive the main character had an environment suit that had a layer of liquid nitrogen in it so he could stay cool enough to walk around the surface for an hour or two...
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Bob Shaw
post Jul 21 2005, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Jul 21 2005, 04:25 PM)
In his 1997 book Venus Revealed, David Grinspoon included a drawing of a proposed manned research station floating in the Venerean atmosphere.

Here it is:

http://www.funkyscience.net/imagebank/imag...archstation.jpg

He also has some interesting speculation on the life forms that might dwell in those "nicer" regions.
*


Just so long as there's no light-sabre fights down near that downward-pointing antenna... ...gotta hand it to you, Dad (Ouch!)!


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Chmee
post Jul 21 2005, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jul 21 2005, 04:31 PM)
Just so long as there's no light-sabre fights down near that downward-pointing antenna... ...gotta hand it to you, Dad (Ouch!)!
*


Dont worry, if there is a fight, the Millenium Falcon will come back and rescue Luke.
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ljk4-1
post Jul 21 2005, 08:55 PM
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QUOTE (Chmee @ Jul 21 2005, 03:33 PM)
Dont worry, if there is a fight,  the Millenium Falcon will come back and rescue Luke.
*


Just what the heck did hold up Bespin? Could anti-grav units really do the trick? And just what were they mining up there anyway?

And how can we relate this technology to a manned Venus platform?


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jul 22 2005, 01:19 AM
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QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Jul 21 2005, 08:55 PM)
Just what the heck did hold up Bespin?  Could anti-grav units really do the trick?  And just what were they mining up there anyway?

And how can we relate this technology to a manned Venus platform?
*


I believe they were mining hot air, of which there was an impressive supply in the Star Wars saga.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jul 22 2005, 01:27 AM
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The Niven story was "Becalmed In Hell", and he wrote it all the way back in (I believe) 1965. I don't remember any liquid nitrogen in that suit; what I do remember was that it was supposed to be only for emergency use because the joints tended to lock up after a fairly short time in that heat.

The story -- although it's often reprinted -- really was another demonstration (there were quite a few) of the fact that Niven, early in his career, was pretty much a scientific ignoramus. Consider: Venus is said to be pitch-black below the clouds (although, in that case, there's obviously no way the greenhouse effect could heat it up); they drop a "small probe" from the ship which is just an atmospheric probe (as if they wouldn't have done that countless times before dispatching a manned ship into the atmosphere); and there have been no unmanned surface landers before this expedition, with the result that our heroes are the very first to ever find out what Venus' surface actually looks like close up, or to obtain surface samples. Gaaakk! Amateur night.
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Phil Stooke
post Jul 28 2005, 06:07 PM
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Actually, there are a few people I would like to send to Venus. And strangely, most of them are men.

Phil


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... because the Solar System ain't gonna map itself.
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