NASA is currently considering the concept of a floating city thirty miles above the surface of Venus.

The idea is called the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, or HAVOC. The settlement would house a team of astronauts for a thirty day mission. Eventually, this concept could lead to a permanent human presence in Venus’ atmosphere.

The surface of Venus is far from inhabitable, as its average temperature is around 462 degrees Celsius or 863 degrees Fahrenheit. Its surface atmospheric pressure is the equivalent of the pressure a mile underwater on Earth. It also has a cloud layer of sulfuric acid and more volcanoes than any other planet in the solar system.

However, scientists say that conditions thirty miles above the surface are the most similar to Earth out of the entire solar system. Venus’ temperature at that altitude is 75 degrees Celsius or 167 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much easier to deal with than the scorching surface.

In 1985, the Soviet Union’s Vega mission sent unmanned balloons into the atmosphere of Venus. The HAVOC plan strives for full-on airships with actual people on board. The launch would include airships with parachutes and protective shells that unfurl and inflate within Venus’s atmosphere. Some versions of the plan even include robot arms to help assemble the airship in air.

As of right now, HAVOC is a purely hypothetical plan. NASA doesn’t have any desire to turn this concept into a reality any time in the immediate future. Be that as it may, this plan may one day lead to human contact with our planet’s closest neighbor.

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