Challenge Team Interim Report
Team Number: 071
School Name: Sandia Prep
Area of Science: Planetary Science
Project Title: Removing the Clouds from Venus
In our project we have been hoping to simulate the removal of the heavy cloud cover from Venus using nuclear explosions. Unfortunately, we have been forced to scale down the program to many simple "heat sources." The reason we wish to remove Venus's cloud cover is to cool down the planet from its current surface temperature of 400 degrees Celsius, therefore enabling us to mine Venus for potentially valuable minerals. The upper atmosphere of Venus is composed of mainly Carbon Dioxide (CO2), a well know greenhouse gas. It is this huge concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere that is responsible for trapping so much of the energy that the planet receives from the sun, causing the build-up of this heat over several billion years. Our program will be designed to simulate the removal of the greenhouse gasses from the upper atmosphere. The program will not include real-time temperature drop, but merely the expected result. With a huge amount of heat present on the surface, it will take some time before it dissipates. Our goal is simply to create a weaker greenhouse effect, allowing the local environment to stabilize itself at what humans consider to be habitable temperatures. To shorten the run time of the program, we may limit the expected temperature drop to a point where devices may be placed on the surface to convert the remaining CO2.
The simulation deals with a variable number of heat sources spaced evenly throughout the atmosphere. The coding will deal with the atmospheric physics of the heat transfer. The heated gasses will be simulated until they have passed the limit of the planet's gravitational field. After this point they will be considered as "escaped" from the planet. Unfortunately, the gasses will cool as they grow distant from the heat source and fall back down. This will reinforce the need for efficiency, which is the ultimate goal of the program. Because the huge energy requirements and the need to keep the gasses heated, it is important to find the optimal number of heat sources.
Unfortunately, our progress has been very slow because of an unfortunate lack of communication with our advisor. However, we have done a good deal of research into the atmosphere of the planet. We hope to begin work on the coding soon. As of now, we are outlining the flow of the program. The focus will obviously be on the subroutine that deals with heat transfer; however, we will also need to perform calculations on the flow of the gasses. This may include fluid dynamics and gravitational effects, but, as of now it is too early to tell. We hope to have a solid base for our program soon.