It is not yet known whether NASA will soon embark on a manned mission to Mars or not, as the agency is already announcing a new objective: to send men to Venus.
The idea seems even more absurd when you know that any human would be instantly destroyed due to the extreme conditions prevailing on the planet, but the Langley research center has a solution: a solar vessel presented as an inflatable balloon which would allow astronauts to survive in the planet's atmosphere.
The mission evokes the design of a vessel of 129 meters long, called HAVOC (High Altitude Venus Operational Concept), it would appear as an inflatable balloon equipped with a habitable module located below and solar panels located on the major part of its upper surface.
Mars presents itself as the most obvious planet to visit, from the point of view of the capacities of man to survive there. Its temperature is low, but not enough to freeze oxygen or nitrogen, it has a fine atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide conducive to photosynthesis and therefore to the production of oxygen by growing plants … But Venus, as uninhabitable as it is, is closer to us than Mars. With our current vessels, Venus is on average 440 days of travel, against at least 500 for Mars.
However, it will be impossible to envisage a visit to the surface of Venus, since the atmospheric pressure at sea level is 92 times higher than on Earth and the temperature is close to 500 ° C. In addition, the concentration of gases toxic to humans is also corrosive enough to destroy almost any capsule in a matter of hours.
However, at a height of 50 km, the conditions are more lenient (even if the temperature remains high with 75 ° C).
According to experts, Venus would offer some advantages over Mars as part of an exploration. In addition, most of the energy needed for the mission could be produced by solar panels. Venus thus receives 40% more solar energy than Earth, and 240 times more than Mars.
At an altitude of 50 km, Venus also offers more protection against radiation than Mars at ground level. (On Mars, men will be subjected to 40 times more radiation than on Earth, which implies that a long mission will have to consider the burial of human stations.)