As part of yesterday’s discussion of one’s most favored habitat, I neglected to mention this enchanting idea – colonizing the planet Venus.
The surface of Venus is too hot for comfort (or even existence), but apparently at an upper level of the atmosphere it’s cool enough to be habitable as long as we solve these thorny problems:
- Nothing solid to stand on.
- No lakes or beaches.
- Certain death in a planetary blast furnace if you fall off the edge.
But on the plus side, you’re considerably closer to the Sun, and even if you can’t surf you can tell the suckers back on Earth that you’re having a fine time in Cloud City.
This would not be a friendly environment for those among us who are worst-case scenarists. All you’d have to do is look up to see the giant kevlar balloon keeping cloud city afloat to start imagining myriad ways in which things could go catastrophically wrong.
And then of course there’s island fever – a popular name for the syndrome where one feels hemmed in and limited even though one’s prison is Maui. Being such a townie, I don’t doubt a completely artificial floating city could be constructed that meets all of my work and entertainment needs – a desktop, some nice restaurants and a few stages and cinemas – but after I’ve boasted to my friends that I live in Cloud City, what would I do with the stark realization that I’m stuck forever in Cloud City?
I suspect the final design will have to include a safety net that hangs below, just like the Golden Gate Bridge.
You’re going away for good. Name your preferred prison.