We haven’t even laid eyes on the surface of Venus yet, but that’s not deterring NASA from daydreaming about sending manned missions to the planet. Although much of Venus is still a completely mystery, we do know that the surface of the planet is far too hot, and the atmospheric pressure too high, to sustain human life. As such, rather than targeting the planet itself, NASA is shooting for the clouds: the space agency recently announced its intention to send the robotic airship HAVOC (High Altitude Venus Operational Concept) to collect initial observations before delving into the planning of a manned mission.

NASA, space, planets, space exploration, atmosphere, Venus, astronautsSince we don’t know our nearest planetary neighbor as well as Mars, for example, there are a lot of questions to answer before that stage would come to fruition. HAVOC engineers speculate that a blimp-like vehicle, kept aloft with helium, would house astronauts around 50km above the surface of Venus, where the atmosphere more closely resembles the density and temperature that one would find on Earth. Initially, a two-astronaut team would venture on a 30-day mission. If that goes well, the next phase would include longer-term zeppelin missions and potentially a more permanent human presence in the Venus’s atmosphere.

Up until now, the only information we’ve been able to get about our “sister planet” has been via Earth-based observation and robotic probes on the planet’s surface, so it’ll be exciting to find out how much more detail the HAVOC airship will be able to glean.If these missions don’t work out, perhaps we can just send Lady Gaga there instead, per her request.

+ Source: NASA

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