Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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(Budget) Terraforming Venus

Terraforming Venus now for (nearly) free
  (+10, -5)
(+10, -5)
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Here goes: The teraforming of Venus... Venus is uninhabitable for 2 major reasons, 1. its very hot, due to 100x too much atmosphere, mostly CO2, which causes a crazy greenhouse effect, about 400 C on most parts of the surface. 2. There is no free water, this is because its both in vapor form (from the 300C), and because large sulfur emissions from active volcanoes have turned any that may exist (not sure if 100atm, using the combined gas laws, would counteract the heat and keep it from boiling, and Russians (AFAIK) are the only ones who have landed anything on Venus and they haven't explored at all from their landing sites) into sulfuric acid, which hurts. So the biological question is, "what could possibly live under extreme heat and pressure in sulfuric acid?" The answer, besides Biollante, is anything that lives near black smokers. Black smokers are about 300-350C on average, and can be as hot as 400C. There are a plethora of Thiophilic (SO4 eating) bacteria that live (some directly and some near) this otherwise poisonous plume. They are constantly being added to various catalogs of stock bacteria you can buy for experiments. They send the hydrothermal vent bacteria (b.sufons is a good candidate) in a -40C package, flash frozen into a black, ice block. Freezing doesn't kill most microbes, it just drops them below a metabolic threshold. So my proposition is - "shoot a vacuum-tight (glorified) thermos of one of those suckers that used sulfur as an electron acceptor, at Venus. No parachute, no crash pads 300m/s(or more) impact. The terminal velocity of your average bacteria is minuscule, so even if they canister burns up on entry, and the bacteria are released in the atmosphere, they will just drift to wherever they like. The average black smoker is at -2100m which is about 200 atm of pressure from the water so pressure-wise they will be more than adapted. If a single one makes it to somewhere with sulfur and some form of water, they will perform binary fission every 20-40 mins. With their average size being 1.3um and their average lifespan being 10 days: with no natural competition or predators, they will cover quite some area very quickly. Venus' surface area is 4.60×108 km^2 just in case you were thinking of a quick math problem. A friend of mine says "just over 4 days to put a blanket 1 bug thick around the entire planet". Those are some quick results. So now we have a planet with lots of free O2 and CO2, some water, and a metric butt-ton(my personal unit of measurement) of allostericlly inhibited bacteria. Allostery is when the product of a reaction stops the reaction. This is the case because they produce a by-product that is toxic to themselves and let it loose into the water. Thankfully we are immune to oxygen, so that takes care of them. Now we have 400-500C hot, watery planet with small Archaea populations. Its still too hot for us, plants, or lead. So we need to get rid of some of that useful atmosphere, we can either A. find some ultra tricky way to siphon it over to mars(unlikely) or we can B. nuke the southern sea(or somewhere else we wont inhabit for 100+ years) with the combined arsenal of Earth in an attempt to blow off enough atmosphere to cause a nuclear winter 98 times over on Earth. Personally I favor the latter approach just because it'd be amazingly cool to see (even if it didn't work). If anyone knows a good source of nitrogen, we are set.
twilitemaelstrom, Jul 31 2007

black smokers http://www.answers.com/black%20smokers
[quantum_flux, Jul 31 2007]

Decarbonate Venus Decarbonate_20Venus
the same tyrannical principle [bungston, Jul 31 2007]

Effect of pressure on RNA polymerase http://www.pubmedce....fcgi?artid=1299718
Many other papers on pressure effects on enzymes. [MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 02 2007]

Microbial Activity at Gigapascal Pressures http://www.sciencem...eytype2=tf_ipsecsha
This report is controversial [ldischler, Aug 03 2007]

Extreme Bacteria in the Earth's Crust http://www.thenaked...iews/interview/648/
[ldischler, Aug 03 2007]


       Hi, welcome to the halfbakery, some of the more brilliant 'bakers will have to read this...
xandram, Jul 31 2007

       (By the way, you can use < br > for a line break and 2 returns [what's the right name?!] for a new paragraph)
Jinbish, Jul 31 2007

       The difficulty here is water. Those bacteria you refer to live in aqueous solution. They would need to land in a liquid ocean to thrive.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 31 2007

       Racist. I live next door to a Nigerian family who smoke, you going to send me to Venus too are you?   

theleopard, Jul 31 2007

       Wow, black smokers are really cool! (see link)   

       You can buy nitrogen enriched fertilizer at the garden department in any store that has a garden department.... given that it is microbes that we are dealing with here, I'd say that 1 bag would be more than sufficient.
quantum_flux, Jul 31 2007

       Huh, yeah yeah. You think I don't know what's going on here? I can read between the lines. I've seen Shaft, and not the lame Samuel L Jackson one, I'm talking the 1971 Richard Roundtree deal here, you dig?   

       Leopards and Panthers unite, suckers!
theleopard, Jul 31 2007

       Bad science. The most extreme thermophiles on earth can live at a temperature of slightly more than 100°C (in water), while the surface temperature of Venus is 480°C, and completely dry. And setting off bombs in the atmosphere won't "blow off" any of it.
ldischler, Jul 31 2007

       I can't possibly read that as one big block.I'll leave this with you people.
skinflaps, Jul 31 2007

       Subtitle should be changed to "Send Bacteria" instead of repeating the name of the idea.
phundug, Jul 31 2007

       Well, it doesn't hurt to give this a try, but why not have biologists simulate these kinds of things here on earth first!? I mean, the expensive part is in getting the microbes to venus, so perhaps we should try and recreate a small bio-atmosphere condition of venus here on earth and then try to introduce the black smoker bacteria into that biosphere and see how they do here first. Hmmm, the micheal chrichton fan in me says that might not be such a good idea.   

       Hmmm, alternatively though, what if they somehow evolved intelligence on venus really fast and then launched missiles to cause a nuclear winter here on earth first.   

       Eh, perhaps the former idea of simulating the introduction of local alien species (black smoker microbes) into a local secondary alien environment (small venus biosphere recreated here on earth) is only palatteable if a vaccuumed airlock is used in between environment earth and environment venus.   

       Sweet, I didn't know that astrobiology was this much fun to think about!
quantum_flux, Jul 31 2007

       Without some paragraph breaks it's lucky to have had this much review.
normzone, Jul 31 2007

       1. welcome [twilite.]   

       2. there is a terraforming atmosphere category where this idea belongs. you might find some other interesting reading there.   

       3: this idea is redundant with (linked)"Decarbonate Venus" - that author proposes algae, you more correctly use archons but the idea is the same. The Decarbonate author observes that the action of life itself is likely to reduce the amount of atmosphere as CO2 is removed by the action of life and turned into organic compounds.
bungston, Jul 31 2007

       [twilitemaelstrom], welcome. Please first terraform your text and then we may think about that bun :-)
django, Jul 31 2007

       The poster does an excellent job of conveying, through the writing style, the crushing density of the atmosphere on Venus. I feel like I've been there just reading this.   

       It was an interesting read, though. Thank you [twilite]
phundug, Jul 31 2007

       As noted, even the thermophilst thermophiles won't survive the average Venusian climate. But they won't survive the average terrestrial climate either.   

       There are niches on Earth where they thrive (ie, black smokers etc); it would not be surprising if there were some weird niches on Venus which would be cold enough to accommodate them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 31 2007


       Did the Venusian High Command control light and heat intensity from the sun by building a huge flat space station the size of the diameter of Earth, horizontal cross-sections of which could be rotated to either allow more or less light to pass through on it's way to the planet?   

       Because that's just silly.
theleopard, Aug 01 2007

       //So my proposition is - "shoot a vacuum-tight (glorified) thermos of one of those suckers that used sulfur as an electron acceptor, at Venus.//   

       And which part of this idea is the "budget" part again?
k_sra, Aug 01 2007

       In 10 years, we are all going to firing thermoses of stuff into the sun out of our backyard railguns.
bungston, Aug 01 2007

       Mine will be filled with borscht.
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 01 2007

       //Humans could in theory survive at any depth// No, we couldn't. It's not just gases and gas solubility that causes problems. Some enzymes (probably many enzymes, but few have been tested) are inhibited by high enough pressures. I believe there was even a company based on the use of pressure pulses to regulate DNA polymerase in a biotech application.   

       I think I remember reading also that some ion channels go screwey at high pressures, but I'm not sure. The polymerase I'm sure about.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 02 2007

       Though it will add some expense, couldn't you solve several of the problems by turning balloons into bio-platforms? I think I saw a show on this. My bio knowledge is dismal, but since the atmosphere is CO2 and sulfuric acid it sounds like there could be a level where the pressure would be bearable and you would have all you need to spur growth. Kind of like a floating Venusian chia-pet.
MisterQED, Oct 29 2007

       It is my understanding that most of the water on Venus is not in its atmosphere; it has been mostly photodissociated. That is, the high temperature put so much water vapor beyond the stratosphere of Venus, that ultraviolet sunlight was able to decompose most of Venus' water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen mostly escaped to space; some of the oxygen may have, also. After 4 billion years of that, all the water left in Venus' atmosphere, if it rained out, would only cover the surface to a depth of a maybe a meter.   

       So any bacteria that we want to work in the Venus environment is probably going to have to be airborne bacteria. Perhaps if some of the genes from black-smoker bacteria were moved into Earthly airborne bacteria, and then THAT was shipped to Venus.   

       There are speculations that before Venus became so hot (when the Solar System first formed the Sun was about 3/4 as bright as it is today), life got started, and some of it may still be existing, airborne in the upper atmosphere. But not too high up, because the UV today is worse than ever.
Vernon, Oct 30 2007

       Pure speculation, and so shall it remain. No intelligent life could have evolved over 4 billion years in an atmosphere, she said. And its the way I smile, she said.
4whom, Oct 30 2007

       and then she smiled for a second...
4whom, Oct 30 2007

       just joined!   

       anyway imagin puting the bacteria into steam balloon with a littel excess water and nutrants, and floating it in venuses atmospher. if this balloon could be made reasonably permeable without loosing its water to quickly, then that might give the littel bugers a few thoused genorations to adapt to there new home.
j paul, May 28 2011


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