The Venus that has emerged from the multitude of observations gathered during the past several decades marks the planet out as a very different world from Mars, and accordingly the terraforming processes that will be developed on the Red Planet will not work on the Earth's twin. Indeed, the transformation of Venus into a habitable domain will require that the following actions be taken:
1. The planet's atmosphere must be cooled down.
2. The planet's atmospheric mass must be reduced.
3. Most of the atmospheric CO2 must be removed.
4. Water must be imported to the planet.
5. (The planet's rotation rate must be increased.)
Conditions 1 and 2 follow from a glance at Figure 5.8, and the end result of this part of the terraforming process will be to enable liquid water to exist on the planet's surface. Condition 3 is mostly a response to the ideal of making the Venusian atmosphere breathable for humans.
Condition 4 must be satisfied in accordance with conditions 1 and 2 and is a response to the fact that Venus is an exceptionally dry planet, there being virtually no H2O observed in its atmosphere. This being said, scientists analyzing the ESA Venus Express spacecraft data announced in February of 2008 that water vapor certainly exists in the planet's lower atmosphere (in the 30-40 km altitude range). Condition 5 is something that might be attempted in order to enhance the biotic potential of a terraformed Venus.
Just as we have seen in the last chapter when discussing the terraforming of Mars, a combination of processes and actions will likely be required to make Venus a potentially habitable planet. A few of the possible options that various researchers have presented for the terraforming of Venus are outlined below.
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