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Venus is most definitely inhabited by 2100, and is one of the more multicultural colonies with almost every major country paying for its upkeep in some manner. Venus also holds the award for being the most unusual of the colonies as the surface of Venus is not actually inhabitable, at all. However, because of the incredible density of the atmosphere breathable air actually constitutes a lifting gas on Venus, and with the surface pressure at around eighty times that of Earth whole buildings can be raised off the ground simply by pumping air into them.

Because of this Venus has developed a myriad of sky cities, none of them are huge, most clinging to the quarter of a million mark, and they drift in fairly chaotic patterns through the atmosphere, trading with each other based on how close they are in any given season. Very little effort is placed into actually controlling the drift of these cities, mostly because it would be rather like trying to hold back the sea, and besides, none fly low enough to hit the topography. There have been a few minor collisions between cities, but most are either avoided by messing with the city wide density, or simply allowing the two settlements simply amalgamate into a bigger city.

The cities themselves have often been compared to mushrooms. At the top there is usually a layer of bio-domes, the actual amount of cropland needed to support a couple hundred thousand people is staggering and the domes stretch across the sky in a yellowed cap, dwarfing the tiny spindle of the inhabited city. The domes themselves inhabit the upper layers of the atmosphere, where the sun is not completely blocked by the clouds of sulphuric acid, and there is a constant battle between the humans and Venus to keep them functional as high winds, collisions and the very fact the atmosphere is acid, destroy the delicate structures. But besides this they perform their function, and a lot of the oxygen produced is pumped into the atmosphere for the terraforming effort.

Bellow the domes is suburbia, (and it is interesting to note that status on Venus is often defined just by how light and high your housing block is, as this is directly proportional to the amount of empty space you have to spare). This is a diverse neighbourhood, with communal parks, council tenements and huge mansions, all jostling for position amid the crowed skies. There are walkways and train lines connecting the various neighbourhoods, though these are more mutable than people would like to admit, and so Venus brings new meaning to being confined to your neighbourhood as it is at the very least inconvenient to go hopping habitats, especially as you can’t be sure they will be there next time you look.

Further down is the commercial district, this is more mundane and far more solid state than the upper regions and in the centre it is fairly hard to tell you aren’t just in a terrestrial city. Extra terraces and buildings are usually just added on to the existing spine when room is needed for expansion, though it isn’t unheard of a second district being built in parallel to the first. Right at the bottom you have the, literal, heavy industry though this is quite scarce on Venus due to the lack of heavy elements. Most of the foundries are  actually atmospheric, taking in carbon dioxide and either pumping it up to the bio-domes, or splitting it for the carbon.

Mines do exist on Venus, though they are mostly confined to mountains where the entire operations doesn’t need to be so reinforced against pressure, and so most of the metal actually arrives via space and there are one or two captured asteroids in orbit for just such a purpose. Venus also has its own mag-rail launch site, which has been best described as a ring with a load of hot air balloons attached to it. Half a mile down and at the base of two superconducting rails there is the official space port and it is one of the more solid pieces of land on the whole planet as it is reinforced by grav’ panels. When launching a ship the balloons are inflated fully and the station rises into the upper atmosphere, the ship is then fired by the rails, the buoyancy of the station prevents kickback somewhat and, even with Venus’ thick atmosphere, most ships with streamlining can reach escape velocity.

Random Fact: Venus is also using a biological terraforming method where trillions of genetically modified bacteria are released into the atmosphere. These are specially tailored to photosynthesise out the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, exist in low nutrient/high acidity environment and can even alter their own buoyancy to find pockets of moisture. They have not yet reached levels where they significantly affect the planet’s biosphere however.

Author’s Comment: Now, I like Venus, mostly because of the airborne cities and some day I’m going to have to write something set on the planet as it even has room for literal air ships. It is actually quite ironic that for a location I like so much and have put so much thought into that it isn’t really mentioned in any the book plots as of yet.

Stupid Venus. Be more important!

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One Comment

  1. haha, yea, those flying cities do sound pretty cool, too bad they aren’t important =P


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