HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin

Do you think that Too many Mars missions have been planned? What about the other fine planets in our solar system? For example, Venus, which you probably learned in school was too hot. But what of a life in the clouds?


(Artist rendering of HAVOC above Venus)

The atmosphere of Venus is an exciting destination for both further scientific study and future human exploration. A lighter-than-air vehicle can carry either a host of instruments and probes, or a habitat and ascent vehicle for a crew of two astronauts to explore Venus for up to a month. The mission requires less time to complete than a crewed Mars mission, and the environment at 50 km is relatively benign, with similar pressure, density, gravity, and radiation protection to the surface of Earth. A recent internal NASA study of a High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) led to the development of an evolutionary program for the exploration of Venus, with focus on the mission architecture and vehicle concept for a 30 day crewed mission into Venus’s atmosphere. Key technical challenges for the mission include performing the aerocapture maneuvers at Venus and Earth, inserting and inflating the airship at Venus, and protecting the solar panels and structure from the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. With advances in technology and further refinement of the concept, missions to the Venusian atmosphere can expand humanity’s future in space. -


(HAVOC video from NASA)

Star Wars fans have their hands raised, since they've been thinking about the perfect cloud city for about thirty years now.


(Cloud City above Bespin in Star Wars)

Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin, first seen in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Bespin has a habitable layer from about 150 - 180 kilometers down from space with an oxygen atmosphere and normal pressure.

SF fans also remember that Geoffrey Landis, sf writer and scientist at NASA's Glenn Research Center, suggested this idea a few years ago.

Update 18-Dec-2016: Take a look at this early reference to the idea of cities floating in the atmosphere of Venus in Fritz Leiber's humorous 1958 short story Bread Overhead!. End update.

Via HAVOC.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/20/2014)

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