Venus

This is a page about the planet. For the Roman Goddess, see Venus (Mythology)

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Basic Information

Venus is the second closest planet to the sun in our solar system, falling between Mercury and Earth. After the Moon, Venus is almost always the brightest object in the night sky.

Venus is a particularly hot and barren Terrestrial Planet. It is believed to have once had oceans, but the water was boiled off by millions of years of exposure to solar wind and coronal mass ejection. Venus has an oppressively thick atmosphere, clouded with sulfur, and about 92 times as much atmospheric pressure as earth. The ground is very volcanic, but shows no signs of lava flow from or around any of the caldera on the surface. There are at least 167 giant volcanoes on Venus, each more than 100 km across. Due in part to the greenhouse effect, and in part to Venus's close proximity to the Sun, the surface of the planet is a blistering 730 K (nearly 900 F).

Surprisingly, there has been some scientific speculation about colonizing Venus. Not the surface, but rather the upper atmosphere. At high altitudes, the sulfuric acid isn't as prevalent and the temperature is much lower (than the surface temp). Also, the lower gravity, dense atmosphere, and high atmospheric pressure would allow ordinary oxygen and nitrogen (the main components of Earth's atmosphere) to be used as a lift gas. Which means huge balloons, aerostat bases, and floating cities would be a possibility. Mundane resources (water, oxygen, food) would be scarce, and have to be imported in the early days at least. All sorts of valuable (and rare back on Earth) minerals could be pulled from the native atmosphere, or raised from the molten surface by skyhook, and then shipped back to earth. Possible exports include Neodymium, Lanthanum and Niobium (plus either Yttrium or Ytterbium, it was unclear which from the source I was reading).

In terms of size, mass, and orbital length, Venus is very similar to the Earth. A Venusian year is 224.7 Earth days. It's rotation, however, is the slowest of any planet in our solar system. The solar day of Venus is 116.75 earth days long. Not only does it rotate slowly, it rotates backwards compared to the rotations shared by every other planet in the system. This backwards rotation implies a major asteroid or comet impact or other cataclysm in the planet's past. There are a number of theories suggesting that Venus might not have always been as it is today, that it may have been much more earthlike until some sort of disaster (the aforementioned impacts, or just runaway global warming) transformed it to the molten hellhole it is now.

Astrology, Alchemy, Mythology, and other traditions

  • In Astrology, Venus is the planet that dictates sexual desire and fertility.
  • In Alchemy, Venus is associated with Copper. See Net (substance) for the alchemical coded myth.
  • The Maya put great importance on Venus. They called it the Wasp Star, tracked it's motions to within a hundredth of a day, and used it to determine when to go to war.
  • The Romans named the planet for their goddess of love and fertility.
  • The aboriginal Yolngu people of Northern Australia believe Venus empowers them to contact their dead ancestors.
  • To some ancient peoples who did not understand the way orbits work, Venus was thought to be two planets, one that strode the sky in the morning, and another in the evening.
  • In Theosophy, the etheric plane of Venus is home to a great and ancient civilization with sufficiently advanced technology.
  • Immanuel Velikovsky claimed that the events of Exodus in the Bible told of a time when Venus nearly crashed into the Earth.
  • Science Fiction of the 1950s (and earlier) often depicted Venus as a jungle planet, or some other inhabitable / inhabited world beneath those heavy clouds. See Terraforming of Venus.
    • This is because the Nebular Hypothesis, the theory of the origin of the Solar System popular in the 19th Century and influential well into the 20th, suggested that the outer planets formed first as the Solar System cooled; therefore Mars would be an older world with ancient, perhaps ruined cities and a decadent (if not extinct) civilization, whereas Venus would be similar to Earth in its Precambrian period.

See Also:

Sources

Bibliography
2. Rocketpunk Manifesto blog - lots of ideas on how to colonize Venus

Game and Story Use

  • Pulp games can have dinosaur jungles, and amazon women on Venus
    • Or the advanced civilizations that contacted the theosophists. Lemuria and Venus interacted in ancient days.
    • In the RPG Space 1889 characters can go to Venus. In that game it's a swampy world drenched in constant rain, and populated by lizardmen and dinosaurs. The largest city is the German colony of Venusstadt.
  • Speculative Fiction games can incorporate the Terraforming of Venus into the plot or setting.
  • In mythology, Venus is the wife of Vulcan. More than a thousand years later we learned the planet Venus is highly Volcanic. Is this coded myth? How could the ancients know it? Did Ancient Astronauts tell them? Did the earliest civilizations have and lose telescope technology? Are the planets really gods? Or is it just a coincidence?
  • Sky cities, dangling from (or contained within) giant balloons, perhaps connected by walkways, and drifting amidst the currents. Far below, toxic clouds rage and lightning crashes. You probably need sky pirates for this setting as well. There's some real flavorful options here for a retro-sci-fi or even steampunk campaigns. For more on this idea, check out the Rocketpunk Manifesto website.
  • With all those supervolcanoes, something akin to a Verneshot would be very believable on Venus. A colony in the upper atmosphere (or even a spacecraft traveling near the planet), might be endangered as the surface suddenly erupts and hurls millions of tons of superheated rock into the sky (or even into space).
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