Ok, so the Earth is filling up, finite resources, and as we all know, there are no plans for us to reduce our resource hungry ways,...and Mars has no magnetosphere apparently which means we couldn't survive solar radiation on it, which means that apart from Titan, which would be very cold, we are left with Venus.

So if we need to terraform Venus how would we:

  1. Move it into the habitable zone around the Sun
  2. Terraform it so that it could be liveable for humans

4 Answers 4


I recall a story where a million rockets are used to cause the entire atmosphere to change and become habitable, via a huge explosion.

Another more recent story used a sunshade to freeze the atmosphere, and then sequestered the dry ice under foamed rock.

Sure it could be done, and moving the orbit is not necessary: the sun shade can let through the right amount of light. The rotation rate is inconvenient though. The shade can make day-night cycles on the one side; a mirror can make the sun appear elsewhere.

  • $\begingroup$ yes, we'd also need to speed up the rotation rate...maybe we'd be better off moving Titan into a counter Earth orbit...now wait a minute! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ With this you would still need to tackle the lack of a magnetosphere. And even if the atmosphere were safe from being stripped away, a lack of a field would cause serious problems for any technology that you bring to the planet. Any large flare or CME could wipe out all electronics on the surface at any given time. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ I don't recall the magnetosphere being addressed in stories I've read. Older works probably ignored it as below the awareness of the readers. I agree that a contemporary story needs to consider this. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 4:47

Forget rockets for moving a planet. That is ridiculous. You'd have to expel huge amounts of mass in the opposite direction.

The advantage, and necessity, of moving a planet or some other planet or moon is that you get your raw materials. The planet is your raw materials and gravity creating mass.

So to move Venus, up 30 million miles, against the gravitational pull of the Sun, you are probably talking technology that is able to generate artificial gravity. But at that point, it seems like it would be better to use that technology to simply mine the materials you need to create the environment you want, in a space station like environment. I'd favor a cube like arrangement for space distribution advantages. A spherical arrangement is unnecessary if you can create artificial gravity. Mine the materials out of Mars or Venus, carry them to a near earth orbit (for convenience of being near - technology that can create artificial gravity can certainly do cosmic ray shielding), and build away.


Forget it. Practically speaking, we can't. In a videogame or novel, if you stick to hard science, you are going to have to do a real real REAL lot of work for that. We are talking about a planet with:

  • very high temperature issues. Venus is hotter than Mercury (average 460°C versus 179°C).

  • extremely dense environment. The atmospheric pressure is several times that of earth's.

  • extremely toxic and corrosive environment. We are talking about acid rain here and the acid rain on Venus would be concentrated sulphuric acid. Don't forget the sulphur dioxide you inhale with each breath!

  • far closer to the Sun than Earth. 93 million miles (Earth) versus 67 million miles (Venus). This means a lot more heat to deal with.

  • no ozone layer to shield the planet from ultraviolet and X-rays.

  • closer to the Sun also means the solar magnetic storms would have a far more devastating effect.

  • very less water, as compared to Earth. We don't need water only for drinking, but for agriculture too. Also, on our planet oceans help keep a stable climate. Dry planets have horrible brain-reeling vortices and cyclones on them.

So on the whole, no. It would be more feasible to create a space colony like the one shown in Elysium movie.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is not an answer at all. He is asking about moving Venus into a near earth orbit, and making it habitable. You say it isn't practical because Venus is closer to the sun (points 1,4,and 6 in your answer all derive from that). But that is a total non-answer on moving it. And you speak of the chemical and atmospheric conditions that make it inhabitable (points 2,3,5, and 7), and those are also non-answers. You are saying it's not practical to move it and terraform it, because it is in the wrong place and not terraformed. $\endgroup$
    – user11864
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you bring a grown up T-Rex or Giganotosaurus home and tame it? No you cannot. Because it's too big and dangerous and risky and it's mouth has a culture of deadly bacteria etc etc etc. So yes, you cannot terraform Venus because landing any space-ship or rocket there is impossible due to acid rain and extremely high atmospheric pressures. And you cannot successfully land there or begin any meta or tera forming because it is going to melt all the terraforming equipment. And you cannot terraform it because the winds there will crush the equipment. And because it's big, bad and rude. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ Can you bring a T-Rex home and tame it? No, if you assume current technology and abilities. Yes if you imagine a world where we can alter its genetics to make its mind trainable and clean up its mouth, and where we have personal force shields that make us impervious to its attacks. Can you move and terraform Venus? No - again, only if you assume current or similar to current technology. Who says we have to land there to move it? What if we can project a singularity to a point 100,000 miles above its surface? $\endgroup$
    – user11864
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ If we can employ tech much superior than what we have now, then the best option would be to time travel backwards when Venus was young and fresh and blah blah. Start a colony there and stop it from becoming the fiery monster it is now. It happens we cannot travel back in time. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ and on terraforming Venus, you are again limiting technology too near what already exists. Imagine we can send factories that are protected by forceshields that keep the atmosphere out, except through a funnel (made of the forceshield, not matter) that brings it into the processing area where it is transformed into breathable air and pure water. Why "land"? Why use equipment that can "melt"? $\endgroup$
    – user11864
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:27

There are a few ideas on how to do this.

  • The first is to use a giant space-shade to block all of the incoming sunlight. With no energy, the temperature would start to drop, and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would freeze and fall to the ground as snow. Then we would collect all of that carbon snow and, somehow, either get all of it off the planet or store it permanently.
  • Another idea involves filling the atmosphere with bio-engineered algae or nanomachines to separate the carbon from the oxygen. Then we'd do the same thing to the carbon that we did to the carbon dioxide.
  • The craziest idea, which is okay because we're talking about terraforming the most hellish planet in the solar system, is to throw asteroids at it until the atmosphere is mostly gone. This is unfortunate because Venus has an archipelago topography due to its many volcanoes, and with terraforming it could be an island planet. We'd also have to sacrifice some land, because only the highlands will be livable unless we want boat cities.
  • Once the sun-shade has gotten Venus down in temperature, and once we've somehow gotten the pressure to manageable levels for human life, it's time to start using mirrors to warm it up in a way that we can control to temperatures that support liquid water. Water doesn't come out of nowhere, and Venus has very, very little of it. We'd probably have to sacrifice Europa, or else more asteroids, those ones made of ice. This is probably the most morally dubious part of the process. There are already questions of ethics regarding terraforming, and because it's believed that Europa could already harbor life it will be even more controversial.
  • You're going to have to decide here how much water you want on Venus. The bigger the ocean, the more stable the temperature. The smaller the oceans, the more land for people to live on. I tend to want more oceans rather than less. Some artists have imagined Venus terraformed, and it looks nice. For reference, the northernmost "island" in the the western chain of islands is probably about the size of mainland China.
  • For the long rotation, you can speed it up (somehow, but if you've made it this far you'll probably find a way), use a sunshade and mirrors to create a day-night cycle, or rely on the oceans to distribute the temperature.
  • The next step of the process would be getting plants and animals to grow there. You could either keep the sun-shade and use Earth life or get rid of the sunshade and bioengineer animals to live during the long days and long nights. Arctic animals manage in the real world. This would be inconvenient to humans, though - there might be a few months when we'd have to stay indoors, or at least wear warm clothes at night, depending on whether or not the water cycle is enough to distribute everything. And the storms would be severe this way. As inconvenient as it is, an artificial day-night cycle is probably the easiest way to tame the planet.
  • Maybe give the poor planet a moon? Grab one from the asteroid belt? Its axis is a little unstable without one. If you want it to be a habitable twin for Earth long-term, it's probably a good idea. It also gives something back to the planet you've been altering. I know planets aren't sentient, but it seems like something nice to do.
  • The final step is creating an artificial magnetic field. We don't know how Earth does this, to be honest. There are theories, but we don't know exactly where it comes from, nor how to replicate a new one. (Do this before you bring humans and animals. I just put it here because it's the only disappointing "we don't know how to do this.")
  • Luckily, one reason why Venus might not have plate tectonics is because it's hot and dry, which you've just remedied. I'm not sure how long it would take for the tectonics to get going, nor can I know for sure whether it would help replicate the magnetic field we have here on Earth, but it gives the planet a chance over the next eons - especially if you've sped up the rotation somehow.

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