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There's been a lot of talk in the last years about a trip to Mars (with SpaceX having the most serious intentions). I can understand that it has a less harsh environment and it will be easier to land and take off from the surface due to lower gravity, but Venus has lots of advantages too!

My comparison:

Gravity
Lower on Mars - easier landing and take-off, lower energy consumption for everyday operations.
On Venus almost same as on Earth - potentially MUCH healthier for humans. This single feature could outweigh all the other advantages on Mars in long term.

Environment (atmospheric conditions)
Milder on Mars - easier to build reliable housing and suits for outdoor activities.
Harsher on Venus - because of temperatures and acids in atmosphere probably classic suits won't be enough. Will probably need to design mecha-like, exoskeletal-assisted vehicles https://static.squarespace.com/static/51b3dc8ee4b051b96ceb10de/51ce6099e4b0d911b4489b79/51ce6197e4b0d911b4499697/1303346867025/1000w/Heavy_Mech.jpg. But nothing an engineer couldn't do these days.

Sustainable energy
Much less energy from the Sun on Mars (because farther from the Sun).
A hell lot of direct solar energy on Venus, plus the environment is so hot that there is no need to use solar panels. Just put out the turbines and they will run on the hot Venusian air.

Terraforming
Mars probably much easier to terraform than Venus (I mean mainly the atmosphere). But in both cases this procedure is so long-term it doesn't really matter for us in the near future.

Natural resources
Probably different amount of different resources but still same overall potential on both planets.

Further space exploration
A bit easier from Mars because closer to other planets (and the outer bounds of the solar system).

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closed as too broad by TildalWave Feb 4 '15 at 13:47

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ This is way too broad. Where to start? There's also been proposals to colonize Venusian atmosphere in aerostats, should we include that too? Please see if you could edit your question to substantially narrow its scope down and see our How to Ask for some suggestions how to write good questions. Also, what has tag future-missions got to do with your question? I don't see it specifically identifying any, and none to Venus. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Feb 4 '15 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ Just put out the turbines and they will run on the hot Venusian air. -- No, they won't. To run turbines, you need a difference in temperature. If the entire ambient environment is equally hot, the turbines won't turn. As for solar energy, most of it is blocked by Venus's atmosphere; I haven't done the numbers, but I suspect solar panels will work better on Mars than on the surface of Venus (aside from the fact that on Mars the components won't melt). $\endgroup$ – Keith Thompson Feb 4 '15 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ Landis has some ideas about Venus: Go to the 50-60 Km altitude range, where it is almost Gaia-like. (Ooops, just adding up to @TidalWave indeed) $\endgroup$ – Eric Platon Feb 5 '15 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Please note that SpaceX mentions Mars often, because it is the hype. SpaceX also stresses their "multi-planet" target; and it is a business. If Venus becomes viable financially, SpaceX will probably jump on it. Being closer can make it a good trial to go to Mars afterwards. $\endgroup$ – Eric Platon Feb 5 '15 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ I think this question would work if it was phrased something like "Why is Mars favored over Venus for colonization" (as it basically is in the question title), and drop all the speculative/wrong stuff from the question. Although the answer might be obvious to a knowledgeable person, it's still not a bad question. Essentially the question is: Why is it much easier to colonize a cold planet with a thin atmosphere, than a hot one with a thick atmosphere? $\endgroup$ – Blake Walsh Feb 5 '15 at 6:11
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Will probably need to design mecha-like, exoskeletal-assisted vehicles https://static.squarespace.com/static/51b3dc8ee4b051b96ceb10de/51ce6099e4b0d911b4489b79/51ce6197e4b0d911b4499697/1303346867025/1000w/Heavy_Mech.jpg. But nothing an engineer couldn't do these days.

Please show me these massive self-contained mechanical suits that are somehow easy to build?

Venus is hot - about 467°C. How do you plan to live in an environment that's considerably hotter than molten lead?

Venus's atmosphere is under extreme pressure - about 93 times that of Earths atmosphere. For comparison the world record scuba dive is about a third of that. This is caused by less than 1 atmosphere of differance:

and even nuclear attack submarines would collapse at around 74 atmospheres.

Venus faces constant rain made of sulfuric acid.... enough said.

I suggest taking a look at how much submarines cost, how little comfort they can afford, and then consider that they aren't in an oven, aren't exposed to acid and have ready access to water, air, cooling and supplies!

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  • $\begingroup$ Atmo density on Venus is ca.100x of atmo density on Earth. Water density on Earth is 1000x denser than the air on Earth. We can survive in water (with scuba gear of course) so I'd assume we could survive the pressure on Venus too. The real problems would be temperature and acids. But there are metals which remain in solid state in much higher temperatures and can survive sulfuric acid. So is it really an obstacle? onlinemetals.com/meltpt.cfm $\endgroup$ – Val Feb 4 '15 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ I mean, it is definitely a greater obstacle compared to Mars but how much greater? Is there any way to estimate it? And am I wrong that the Earth-like gravity on Venus could outweigh the obstacles? $\endgroup$ – Val Feb 4 '15 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ @ValCool Please see Wiki for pressure and density. They are NOT one and the same thing. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Feb 4 '15 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ @ValCool as I note in my answer the pressures experiences on Venus's surface are far higher than the pressures any scuba diver has survived. That world record isn't there because they felt like stopping early. I'm sure there are materials who survive in tougher conditions... and as long as we simply send down a blob of said material then it's really not that hard at all. Human's aren't made of said material unfortunately. $\endgroup$ – NPSF3000 Feb 4 '15 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Val, as a first indication of the difference in difficulty, consider the lifespan of probes we've sent so far. Venus: 1.5 hours, Mars: 10 years and counting. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Feb 5 '15 at 13:38

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