It must be very dark and hot on the surface of Venus, but my humans want to change that and make a Venusian colony. The problem? The extremely thick atmosphere would make it problematic to say the least. There would be a contest between heat and atmospheric pressure to see who can do the colonists in first. The colonists solution? Send atmospheric drainage ships into orbit around Venus and extend a giant robotic Proboscis into the Venusian atmosphere.

The gas from the atmosphere will be drained into massive "Drainage Ships" that will be sent to Mars to add some of the atmosphere to it. The rest will be sent away, out of the Solar System. Since Venus is in inner fringes of the habitable zone of our system we can now place a permanent colony on Venus.

Is this realistic? How could I make it more realistic?

  • $\begingroup$ Why would you want to send carbon dioxide to Mars? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 10 '15 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ Please select a different planet, Venus is too hostile for any life. The thick CO2 rich atmosphere traps infrared radiations emitted from its rocky surface causing sulfur, fluorine and chlorine to release from rocks and combined with other elements to form acidic vapors. Since Venus is 30% closer to Sun, the solar winds blew away the hydrogen layer thus there is no water which is essential for life. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Apr 10 '15 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ Terraforming Venus has been a subject of much speculation, discussion, and research, for the past 50+ years. $\endgroup$ – Seth Apr 10 '15 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Obligatory mention that the upper atmosphere of Venus is actually quite pleasant by Earth standards. Just don't live on the ground, live in floating cities. $\endgroup$ – GrandmasterB Apr 10 '15 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ Not worthy of an answer, but why Mars and outer solar system? The effort level to migrate out of solar system (or mars for that matter) seems to be larger than the effort to drain the atmosphere of venus in the first place. Whats wrong with sending it into the sun or just dumping it into space? $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Apr 10 '15 at 19:39

Venus is a great place for a colony as long as you don't put it on the surface. About 50 km up the atmospheric pressure is the same as that at earth's at sea level. The temperature at that height there is like the south of France. As a bonus on Venus Air (the stuff we breath) is a lifting gas. Because of the surface albedo solar panels work as well on the bottom and top of your balloon.

There is also a fantastic amount of carbon for making plants and carbon-based tech. The water problem at least for a limited colony could be solved by acid harvesting H+ for the taking.


I proposed something like this in another question, but it might work better here.

Put something in orbit between the sun and Venus to cut down on the amount of sunlight. If you can block it completely, then the atmosphere would basically freeze, and you'd be able to scoop it up or seal it away.

The original suggestion was for some kind of soletta, kind of a giant solar umbrella made from solar sail material, but it would have to be very very big. Other ways that might work would be to ring the planet with a dust cloud, or possibly a cloud of small solar sail satellites, which would reflect the solar radiation and heat away. They could even collect the energy and beam it down to the planet to power the teraforming. When the work is done, you remove some of the satellites/cloud to bring the temperature up to the point you want it, while still keeping it cooler and cutting down on the radiation.


The atmosphere of Venus is a nasty place. The surface is 900 degrees Fahrenheit at 100 atmospheres of pressure. The upper atmosphere has constant winds exceeding 200 mph and sulfuric acid clouds. The major constituent is carbon dioxide, with trace amounts of noble gases, water vapor, and corrosive sulfur-containing compounds. Ingesting this stuff into your spaceship would probably be a bad idea, as would dumping it on Mars.

Note also that removing the thick clouds (again, make of friggin' acid) would expose the surface to intense solar radiation, as Venus's magnetic field is much weaker than Earth's; probably also a bad idea.

(Side note: there would be no contest between temperature and pressure. The later Soviet Venera probes were all done in by the high temperature. It is easy to build something that can withstand thousands of atmospheres of pressure [think of deep-diving submarines], but much harder to make something that can survive a bath in molten lead [and even higher temperatures].)

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    $\begingroup$ -1. While all this is true, it does not answer the question "how to render Venus semi-habitable," or specifically address the "drainage ships" idea. $\endgroup$ – user243 Apr 10 '15 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JonofAllTrades tl;dr, my answer is you couldn't/wouldn't want to try and make Venus habitable. As for the 'proboscis' idea, I said, "ingesting this stuff [the atmosphere] into your spaceship would probably be a bad idea." $\endgroup$ – 2012rcampion Apr 10 '15 at 21:47

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