On the Unfeasibility of Terraforming Venus
I looked up an old calculation I made on how much carbon would remain if
all the CO2 in the Venusian atmosphere was disassociated:
Atmospheric pressure on Venus = 80 Bar = 8E6 N/sq.m, 96% CO2.
C in CO2 = 12/(12+2*16) = 12/44, thus pressure due to C = 2.2E6 N/sq.m
2.2E6 N/sq.m / 8.87 m/sq.sec (g on Venus) = 2.5 E5 kg/sq.m
Density of C varies between 2 and 3, say 2.5 gm/cc = 2.5E3 kg/cu.m
Therefore the depth of the layer of carbon over the entire surface of Venus
would be:
2.5 E5 kg/sq.m / 2.5 E3 kg/cu.m = 100 meters!
The remaining oxygen would have a pressure of 58 Bar -- clearly a
terraformed Venus would be a no smoking zone!
It took hundreds of millions of years for geologic activity to bury the 1.2
meters of carbon a similar calculation gives for Earth, so stripping all but
one Bar of the Venus atmosphere still doesn't solve the problem.
Venus may be the worst real estate in the solar system.
Arnold Reinhold
[Originally posted to sci.astro around March 8, 1988]