One of the issues with colonizing Venus is the harsh conditions at the surface. People have proposed using floating habitats in the upper atmosphere, where conditions are milder, and gathering resources from the atmosphere itself (and there's a question about that on this site). Some have also proposed using machines to gather resources from the surface, like in one of the answers to that question.

However, it might be possible to mine from Venus' surface without getting anywhere near it. There are "infrared windows" in the atmosphere of Venus: bands in the near-infrared region of the EM spectrum where light can pass through. These bands were used by the Venus Express probe to study the lower atmosphere and surface of Venus. Would it be feasible to use a powerful laser, tuned to the wavelength of one of these windows, to blast the surface of Venus and send dust into the air? The dust could then be harvested by habitats floating in the upper atmosphere, giving them access to heavy elements.

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    $\begingroup$ Blasting dust upwards is going to be extremely inefficient of dust and energy. I think you would need low-end nuclear energy levels for each blast, and would get a bunch of undifferentiated rock. $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Aug 17, 2020 at 6:30
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    $\begingroup$ By what energy would the surface be blasted ? Will a near- infrared laser cause a higher temperature than the 462⁰ C surface temp. ? And there's already dust near the surface, why would it go 50 km upward ? $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Aug 17, 2020 at 8:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Cornelisinspace Solar power. $\endgroup$
    – Pitto
    Aug 17, 2020 at 22:09
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    $\begingroup$ @user3528438 A laser would not need fissile materials and (in theory at least) could be reusable. $\endgroup$
    – Pitto
    Aug 17, 2020 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Looks like there was a typo there — did you mean rechargeable or cycle-able chemical lawyers? If so, it's probably fortunate! ;-) $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2020 at 5:35


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