Venus Is Not For Lovers

Venus2With Venus in the western sky complimenting the waxing crescent Moon, I thought it appropriate to review the true nature of the solar system planet most associated with our feelings of love.

Any serious student of astronomy knows that Venus is not a planet for lovers, but is instead a miserable place.  The atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide, with a pressure of 93 bar.  (One bar is 100,000 Pascal.)

Venus’ surface temperature is a steady 872 degrees Fahrenheit, day or night, due to the greenhouse gas effect, a temperature high enough to melt lead, and so desolder all the electronics in your space capsule.

Venusian clouds are made of sulfur dioxide with droplets of sulfuric acid.  Lightning in those clouds accompanies your descent to Venus’ waterless surface.

Venus has no magnetic field to protect you from the solar wind particles striking your cells’ DNA.

Air speed at the top of the Venusian cloud cover is a staggering 220 miles per hour, but at the surface of Venus a mere 2.5 miles per hour.

A Venusian day can be pretty gloomy too: only 5,000 to 10,000 lux of sunshine illuminates Venus’ surface, compared to 100,000 lux of sunshine on a bright Earth day.

And your gloomy day, accompanied by the occasional volcano, will be long, roughly 117 Earth days.

One good thing though for you, our planetary messenger: as you struggle to move about on Venus in your lead free spacesuit, against a crushing atmospheric pressure 92 times that of Earth, you will weigh about 16% less, 10% from the g of Venus (8.8 meters per second squared vs 9.8 meters per second squared here on Earth), and 6% from the buoyant force of the atmosphere itself.

The buoyant force from the atmosphere here on Earth is a mere one eighth of one percent, or less than one Newton out of 681.

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Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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