If you ever wondered what hell would be like to visit, then travel to Venus, the second planet from the Sun. It’s average surface temperature is like that of a pizza oven around 740 Kelvin or 880 degrees ferenheit. It rotates around its axis opposite of Earth’s rotation and very slowly, so the days and nights are very long, and even though the nights are long, don’t expect any relief from the heat because an extereme greenhouse effect has taken place trapping the planets heat. Venus is about the same size as Earth but is extremely different from our habital planet. Not only is the temperature on Venus unbearable but a human could not withstand the pressure of what would be equivelent to one kilometer beneath the oceans surface, not to mention the lack of oxygen and water. Although similar in size to the Earth, Venus does not resemble Earth in many ways. Yes, Venus has craters, valleys and mountains, but it also has signs of past and posiibly present day volcanoes. It is more like a dry pressurized heat chamber, which is very unappealing for human life.
Venus is the brightest object in the sky besides the sun and the moon. It is sometimes known as the morning star or the evening star because it is visible with the naked eye. Its atmosphere is very dense and is composed of mostly carbon dioxide. Our view of the surface of Venus is obscured by layers of clouds, many kilometers thick composed of sulfuric acid. Venus has a “runaway greenhouse effect” that raises Venus’ surface temperature by about four hundred degrees, it’s surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead. Venus’ surface temperature is hotter than Mercury’s even though Venus is about twice as far from the sun as Mercury is. Venus’ atmosphere is varying, with winds at the cloud tops reching up to 350 kph but surface winds are only a few kilometers an hour. Venus was probably similar to the Earth at one time with large bodies of water. However, those bodies of water all boiled away. It is said that the Earth would have suffered a similar fate if it was a little closer to the Sun.
There are several different areas of Venus. There are several broad depressions on Venus they are called Atlanta Planitia, Guinevere Planitia, and Lavinia Planitia. There are two large highland areas, one about the size of Australia and one the size of South America. They are named Ishtar Terra and Aphrodite Terra. Venus’ surface is covered with lava flows but few volcanoes are active today. Venus is not protected from intergalactic material because Venus has no magnetic field. This is due to its extremely slow rotation.
Not only is Venus seen as the morning or evening star due to its brightness, but something else is cool about sighting Venus. This something is called the “transit of Venus” and happens once every few years. The transit of Venus is when Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a large black dot traveling across the Sun’s disk. The last one happened in 2004 and the next transit of Venus will occur in 2012. So be patient because it only happens once in a while.
So while Venus is relative in size to the Earth, it has little resembelance to our “paradise” of a planet, and it has to be one of the last places human’s would want to explore. It is like a present day hell, with extremely high pressures, high tempuratures and clouds composed of sulfuric acid. If Earth was only closer to the Sun, we could face the same fate as Venus has.
Bennett, Jeffrey; Donahue, Megan; Schneider, Nicholas; Voit, Mark; “The Cosmic Perspective; Addison Wesley; 2007