The US space agency NASA has announced plans to establish a permanent human colony in a floating cloud city above the Earth’s nearest planet Venus.

The decision to set up a colony has been taken after NASA researchers Dale Arney and Chris Jones proposed a prior visit to Venus before sending humans to Mars.

NASA will send helium-filled solar-powered airships to explore Venus’ atmosphere in order to eventually establish the colony.

The robotic version is expected to be 31m-long while the crewed version would be nearly 130m-long.

“NASA will send helium-filled solar-powered airships to explore Venus’ atmosphere in order to eventually establish the colony.”

The crewed version would come with a small habitat and the ascent vehicle; a winged two-stage rocket slung below the airship, which will be used by the astronauts to return to Venus’ orbit and home.

NASA’s High-Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) mission aims to explore the atmosphere of Venus instead of exploring the surface.

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According to researchers, the upper atmosphere of Venus is said to be an Earth-like environment and Venus offers one atmosphere of pressure and lower gravity compared with Earth.

The HAVOC programme involves a series of missions, including an inital robotic mission and a crewed mission later on to Venus’ orbit with a stay of 30 days.

Later missions would have a crew of two spend a year in the atmosphere, and a permanent human presence would gradually be set up there.