What would Venus look like if it had a similar amount of surface water as Earth?
The viral map highlights how the terraforming Venus can lead to an impressive Earth-like planet.
The map was shared in Reddit by a user named “Dragonite-2” in the “MapPorn” subreddite on August 21st. Visualizes one of the boldest proposals for the terraformation of the solar system,
The map is similar to the water-filled map of Mars Aaditya Raj Bhattarai, shared by Reddit earlier this month. Proposals for terraformation elsewhere in the solar system tend to focus on the Red Planet. One of the most popular is Elon Musk̵7;s idea to colonize Mars. Musk plans to build a city on Mars and then somehow release the planet’s carbon dioxide reserves to create an atmosphere in which humans can only move with a respirator.
Venus is a completely different story. Unlike the relatively calm surface of Mars, it would be difficult for humans to colonize Venus – its surface temperature is a hot 465 degrees Celsius and the dense, acidic clouds of the atmosphere swell across the planet in just five days.
However, experts like Carl Sagan have proposed methods for terraforming a treacherous planet and making its surface more hospitable. It also has advantages over Mars – Venus has similar dimensions to Earth and is much closer to our planet. Mars is about twice as far from Earth as Venus.
The post “Dragonite-2” gives an idea of what the final results of such a terraforming mission might look like. The map shows a mountain continent in the north, a flatter series of countries in the east, a series of large islands in the west, and a large archipelago in the south.
This post provoked extensive discussion. Other users shared ideas where they would live and set up settlements in a new world: one user called “JPRCR” wrote: “If I had to settle there, I think I would choose a huge continent in the north, it would probably have lower ridges and fertile valleys in the southern part of lower temperatures. “
But how accurate is the map? Paul Byrne, an associate professor of planetary sciences at North Carolina State University, who has previously written about the surface of Venus, says reversed that it’s probably best to take it with a pinch of salt.
“The map is fairly accurate because someone used a digital elevation model for Venus in the real world and added a ‘sea level’ to it,” says Byrne.
“I don’t know how realistic the ‘if Venus had as much water as Earth’ section is, but I guess the one who created this map chose the average ocean depth for Earth and” flooded “the topography of Venus to the same depth. . “
Unfortunately, realism ends there. Byrne explains that such oceans would create rivers, rains and lakes, which means that the surface would look quite different after erosion and other natural movements. A planet with oceans would probably have plate tectonics, which would also change the arrangement of geographical features.
Perhaps most important, as Byrne says, that the climate of Venus would be terrible to host the oceans.
“Actually, it’s far from realistic,” says Byrne.
However, this does not mean that the map has no value. Byrne notes that there is evidence that Venus may have once had oceans similar to Earth, and that this may be the subject of humanity’s study.
“Even if Venus and the oceans wouldn’t look much like the image of Reddit, it is is an fun to think about what the blue Venus might once look like – and why its climate has turned into the hellish world it is in today, ”says Byrne.
How to terraform Venus – The terraforming Venus may involve different approaches. In 1961, Carl Sagan proposed the use of algae inoculated into the clouds for photosynthesis and the reduction of carbon dioxide. Three decades later, he had to admit that his plan would not work: it was later found that the atmosphere was denser than expected.
In 1991 Journal of the British Interplanetary Society paper, scientist Paul Birch suggested using a sun visor to cool the planet, an insulating cover to stop re-evaporation, breaking the ice moon to replenish water, using solar mirrors to move around its orbit, and using a solar system to create a more hospitable 24-hour day and night environment. cycle. Birch suggested that the whole process could take about 200 years.
Transforming a planet to such an extent would not be an easy task. NASA engineer Geoffrey A. Landis explained in a 2011 research paper that most of the proposals included attempts to suppress the uncontrollable effects of greenhouse gases, which would require huge amounts of energy or highly advanced technologies. Landis argues that the aim of these proposals is, in practice, to reverse climate change and return Venus to a hypothetical previous state.
But although the relatively peaceful Mars captured the idea of pro-terraforming researchers, Byrne argues that Venus could be a better candidate. It is larger in size, bringing gravity closer to Earth’s. It is also probably easier to remove carbon dioxide from Venus’ existing atmosphere than to try to massively create the faint atmosphere of Mars.
“If we were to terraform anywhere, I would choose Venus over Mars,” says Byrne. “But to be clear: it will be an order of magnitude more achievable if we stop messing with our own climate here on Earth than trying to make it anywhere for people anywhere else.”
The fresh, water-filled planet of the future could be closer than it seems.