Nuclear Winter on Venus

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newtonian

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maddad - Thank you - will respond later.<br /><br />Glutomoto- Yes, that was the model presented in the recent airing of Origins on Nova on PBS. <br /><br />Yes, earth was terraformed. Genesis 1:2 indicates that early earth was formless (lacking landforms) and waste and was essentially covered with water.<br /><br />I often meditate on just what the holy spirit was doing when going to and fro on the waters (Gen.1:2)- I assume this involved creation of life-forms [(Psalm 104:30) . . .If you send forth your spirit, they are created; And you make the face of the ground new. . .].<br /><br />Nova went more in depth - literally. I was amazed at the creations deep in the crust and what they live on!<br /><br />Still, there are limits. Venus is very, very hot!<br />I doubt life as we know it could survive on Venus.<br /><br />Humans certainly could not.<br />
 
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nexium

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Hi Newtonian: There is likely a layer of the upper Venus atmosphere where your flying algae would find the temperature optimum. The sulpheric acid clouds are at somewhat lower altiudes, so the acid is not a problem for the algae. The algae could be supplyed water by crashing small comets near the Equator of Venus. This would also supply the trace minerals that the algae need. If the algae used one percent of the solar energy that falls on the upper atmosphere of Venus to covert carbon dioxide to free oxygen, the carbon dioxide would fall from 90% to perhaps 0.04% in 60,000 years. That is a long time to send a weekly comet and seed with algae perhaps monthly, but there is a fair chance of success, if we do a few other things. The prevailing winds in the Venus upper atmosphere are toward the poles, so the algae will use considerable solar energy to avoid being sucked into the polar regions, where there is not enough light for efficent photosynthesis because it shaded by the cloud of flying algae closer to the equator. The weakend algae would then be sucked down the polar downdraft. The air is compressed as it decends. Compressing air makes the air hot, coverting the algae to algae charcoal = very fine carbon dust. We need to keep the polar down draft from wandering and put up multiple 1000 mile snow fences, to keep the surface wind from blowing the algae charcoal toward the equator. We will crash a weekly small iron asteroid at each pole, beginning pehaps the end of the first century. The iron dust will mix with the algae charcoal, to help hold it in place and to absorb most of the free oxygen, otherwise the dunes of algae charcoal will catch fire and return carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Iron dust will rust at less than 1% oxygen, if water vapor is present. We may have to provide extra comets to keep the polar humidity high enough to rust the iron dust. Unfortunately sulpheric acid really likes water, so some our comet water will dilute sulpheric acid. After abou
 
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j_crockett

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Hey nexium,<br />There are two issues with using algae to "fix" the atmosphere of Venus. the first is that photosynthesis converts CO2 into sugar and oxygen. So if the atmosphere has 90 bars of Air, it has 85 bars of CO2. Photosynthesis would convert that to mountains of sugar and 40 bars of Oxygen. at the current temperature, the mountains of sugar will react with the oxygen in a process we call fire ... fire converts Oxygen and sugar into CO2. Much like the inside of your self cleaning oven at 900F there is no burnt ash left.
 
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j_crockett

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<br />By the way I saw a temerature profile for Venus compared with the earth and one of the thing that you may notice is that they are about the same at high elevations. <br /><br />the top of the cloud deck is about 50 km high and at those elevations the air is cold and it moves very fast. so much of the algae would be suspended for a very long time and never sink to the level that it burns. It would be good if there was another type of algae that eats the sulfuric acid in the clouds and precipitates gypsum or pyrite or something that is stable on the surface.<br /><br />One thing to point out is that the surface of Venus with atmospheric pressure of 90 bars and temperature of 900F is at the surface of the low lands. We do not live on the lowlands on earth because they are covered with water. The highlands on Venus have thinner air and they are cooler ( ~70 bars and ~600F at the highest peaks).
 
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newtonian

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j_crockett- Interesting.<br /><br />I know there is an amazing variety of micro-organisms that live in a wide variety of environments and consume a wide variety of things.<br /><br />Do we know of any that use sulphuric acid or its two parts, namely: water and sulfur dioxide.<br /><br />If I remember correctly there are such organisms on earth now.<br /><br />nexium - complex and good - but that will take time to digest- easier than digesting the Venutian atmosphere though! <br /><br />BTW- terraforming takes time- God apparently took lots of time - it would be likely we would not be as efficient, albeit we are in God's image.<br /><br />I think we would run out of time if the current model of stellar evolution as applied to our sun is correct - i.e. Venus would be more severely effected by our sun's red giant phase than earth would be.<br /><br />And I think it took billions of years for micro-organisms to be used to terraform earth for human life - am I correct?<br />
 
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j_crockett

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if the poles were really that cold your plan would probably be feasible. furthmor, if the poles were only 500F your plan would be feasible. I have never seen estimates of polar teperature for Venus. <br /><br />My temperature estimate came form the temp profile that the Russians had vs. the elevation data from our mapping mission.
 
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silylene old

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Interesting, crockett. You post gave me an idea.<br /><br />We could land a fleet of automated nuclear-powered bulldozers on Venus, and then have them push soil and rocks until they constructed flat-topped mountains 30+ km high.<br /><br />The tops of these peaks would experience temperate climates, reasonable pressures, be above the sulfuric acid clouds, and could be conceivably colonized with lifeforms.<br /><br />Now all we need are nuclear-powered bulldozers that could survive the harsh environment of the surface! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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newtonian

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silylene - OK, I go with the idea. <br /><br />Wouldn't it be easier to make a platform supported by Helium gas that would float at the best elevation?<br /><br />Or would the winds be too strong that high up?
 
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silylene old

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The winds and the lack of permanence would make a balloon platform nothing more than a temporary shelter and a short-lived gimmick.<br /><br />My 30 km high flat-topped mountains would last for eons, a perfect setting for a permanent terraform. Well, maybe the mountains' weight would cause the crust to slowly sink and their height may have to be replenished occasionally. Just pull out the bulldozers!<br /><br />Now if you want to be fancy (why not?), then design these mountains to look like perfect flat-topped pyramids. You could line them all up so each of their diagonals points north. Now this would be cool, an world wonder for the ages! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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newtonian

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silylene - OK, I'll go with the solid land project model.<br /><br />In that case, you might as well have a head start in the Ishtar Terra uplands, and specifically the Maxwell Mountains which apparently are the highest mountains on Venus, 11.1 km above mean (=average) surface level of Venus.<br /><br />Note also:<br /><br />"Volcanic eruptions may be responsible for the dramatic changes which have occurred in the sulfur dioxide content of the atmosphere since Pioneer arrived in 1978." - "The World of Science," 1991, Volume 7, page 47.<br />Dramatic changes in SO2 makes for an unstable environment.<br /><br />Now, 13 years later, have we confirmed this volcanic activity?
 
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nexium

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Hi newtonian; Sulpher trioxide SO3 disolves in water to make sulphuric acid. If it is 80% water, it is no worse than the sulphuric acid in your car battery, so perhaps a micro-organism could florish, except it is also hot at the altitude where most of the acid clouds are. If it is 20% water, it is a powerful oxidizing agent, and it rips the water out of organic things, so strong sulphuric acid seems unlikely for anything living.<br /> Sulphur dioxide SO2 disolves in water to make sulphurous acid which is a weak acid that can likely support some kinds of life. Is it possible that the early probe could not distinguish between the two kinds of acid, since the recent probes are finding sulphur dioxide?<br /> Calcium oxide sprinkled into the acid clouds would make calcium sulfate CaSO4 which seems to be stable to 1450 degrees c. I'm not sure about calcium sulfite CaSO3 which would result from sulphurous acid. <br /> Instead of nuclear buldozers; crashing asteroids near the North and South pole of Venus would raise the polar plataus(with the help of the snow fences, until the crust of Venus failed. One mile is likely OK. 30 miles, very unlikely. Neil
 
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