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Two NASA Scientists Recommend Sending Astronauts to Venus Before Mars

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Credit: NASA Langley Research center

by Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian.com

With robots tooling around the Red Planet’s surface and reporting back on conditions there, dreams of human space travel — complete with human colonies — have fixated on Mars. We’ve even argued about who should go. But some think we’re fixated on the wrong planet altogether: There’s a case to be made for human travel to Venus first.

On the pro side, the second planet from the Sun is closer to Earth than Mars, writes Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum. On the con side: “Venus’s surface is hellish, with 92 atmospheres of pressure and temperatures of nearly 500 degrees C.”

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© 2014 Smithsonian.com

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