Forget about a sunny vacation on perpetually overcast Venus

Today’s forecast on Venus: Cloudy. And very, very, very hot. (Credit: NSSDC Photo Gallery)

Why might a vacation to the planet Venus seem like a fun idea?

  • There’s lots to see: Volcanoes! Craters! Sand dunes!
  • Just a single day would seem very long because Venus rotates so slowly. 1 day on Venus = 243 Earth days.
  • Unusual sunrises and sunsets. Venus’ rotation is backward compared with Earth’s. From Venus, the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east. (But forget about a sunny vacation on perpetually overcast Venus.)
  • It’s like going on an automatic weight-loss diet. Venus’ gravity would make you weigh 9% less than you do on Earth.

But as you pack for your Venus vacation, be sure to leave one thing at home:

Your last will and testament.

That’s because you will definitely not survive your vacation to Venus. Although Venus has been called Earth’s twin because the two planets have about the same size, mass, density, and composition, the similarities end there.

What will kill you first on Venus? Probably one of the following:

1)      Heat.

If you find 90 degrees Fahrenheit to be uncomfortably hot, try to imagine the approximate high today on Venus: 900 degrees. That’s hot enough to melt lead. And you.

2)      Toxic air.

The atmosphere of Venus consists mainly of carbon dioxide, with clouds of sulfuric acid droplets—the stuff in battery acid.

3)      Crushing atmosphere.

The surface pressure on Venus is 90 times that of Earth. Every spacecraft sent to the surface of Venus has been crushed by the intense atmospheric pressures.

4)      Strong winds.

Venus has super-hurricane-force winds, and the winds have been getting even faster.

Brilliant (but lethal) Venus graces our evening skies for the rest of the year. You can look at Venus safely from Earth, where it shines at nightfall low in the west.

There’s no place like home. Take a “staycation” on Earth instead.


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