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Vacationland Venus

by Perry Pezzolanella

Life is hectic in the workday world of 25th century Earth. Getting vacation time is tough, especially if requesting a few months off. Touring the Solar System is popular and mainly reserved for retirees that have unlimited free time due to the length of time needed to travel to other worlds. Rocket propulsion has advanced enough that a one-way trip to Pluto takes only a few months. Venus is the hottest destination for many with a travel time of hardly a week, it can be visited by those who are on tight vacation schedules while still employed. Venus is the place to see and be seen.

Owner and operator, Perry Pezzolanella, of Hot Foot Venus Expeditions, has put together several memorable touring packages for your Venus vacation. You will take a shuttle rocket from Earth to the Cloud Nine Resort floating deep in the Venus clouds. Be sure to bring your best sunglasses and sunblock! This is where you will be staying throughout your vacation. There are many hot excursions with sizzling deals. You may:

Cloud Watch! For those who are not up to the idea of touring the torrid surface, Venus offers endless views of clouds above, below, and all around. When the resort drifts into the night try looking for lightning, and if the clouds part enough below, you might get lucky enough to see a volcano erupting in the night 33 miles below. You can view from the comfort of your room, or you can don a special acid resistant suit and observe from the outside deck. The temperature and air pressure are almost like Earth’s, a bit tropical, but the acid can be a problem if not protected.

Cloud Surf! Climb aboard one of the powered gliders and soar like a bird among the acid clouds! You will feel like you are surfing among the changing cloudscapes. This is not for the faint-hearted as the flight can get turbulent, but the skilled pilots will maneuver around the worst of it and get you safely back to the resort.

Ski Venus! Venus has some of the best downhill skiing in the Solar System. Catch the thrill of skiing on metallic lead and bismuth sulfide frost on Maxwell Montes, Venus’s highest mountain peak at 37,000 feet. Conditions are always sizzling fast!

Climb Venus! Mountain climbing anyone? The western flank of Maxwell Montes is steep and challenging. The cliff is red hot and your ascent from the plains of Ishtar will test your skills. You may also descend instead if you wish, but your special suit will work extra hard to keep you cool as the temperature rises over 100ºF from around 720ºF to 850ºF when you reach the bottom. If you do not want to go through the challenge of scaling a sheer cliff, there are trails on the eastern flank for a more leisurely hike to the summit. It will be worth the hike to escape the heat and pressure. It is a chilly 680ºF at the peak and the air pressure is only 44 times Earth’s.

Paraglide Venus! Take a leap off the rim of Diana Chasma, the deepest canyon on Venus, and enjoy the view of a truly grand canyon from a bird’s eye view. I have instructors and will supply the necessary gear. Please do not attempt to descend to the bottom of the canyon. Temperatures approach 1000ºF and the air pressure is around 105 times Earth’s. The cooler 830ºF rim will seem refreshing.

Skydive Venus! Did you ever want to experience the increasing heat and pressure like the Venera landers did without feeling it? You can take a leap off the viewing deck of the Cloud Nine Resort 33 miles above the surface. You will wear a parachute and a special heat, acid, and pressure resistant suit. You will also be given a thermometer and barometer to watch the heat and pressure soar as you free fall. Fear not, your parachute is heat and acid resistant. Do not be startled to see how small it is when you deploy it. A large parachute is not needed in an atmosphere that behaves more like water. You will be tracked so you can be rapidly picked up and flown back to the resort. I provide training classes with top notch sky diver instructors.

Raft Venus! Lava river rafting is a high-risk adventure. When lava conditions allow, there is nothing more exhilarating than rafting on a river of fire. Maat Mons is often the choice location as the volcano is quite active with runny lava that allows for smooth rafting with no fear of capsizing.

I also have land excursion packages to the volcanic mountain ranges of Aphrodite Terra’s “Stinger”, the snow-capped peaks of Maxwell Montes, the domed volcano lands featuring the “Tick”, and the Venera landing sites. Do not miss Venera 9 on a hillside among the rocks, long dead, but still looking good. It is the first spacecraft to ever take a picture from the surface of another planet. You will be supplied with a rental rover equipped with automatic-cooled seats that handles well in the hostile environment, but do not get stuck in the metallic frost in the high mountains or the LaBrea Lead Pits of molten lead at the bottom of Diana Chasma! I supply a map of suggested routes so you can avoid hazards.

I also have fine food, the best anywhere on and above Venus, imported from Earth of course. I highly recommend Venus Baked Pizza, a big favorite with everyone, especially during the Super Bowl. The pizza is baked on the surface of Venus! The 800ºF temperatures are like pizza ovens back on Earth. The pizza is sealed, baked in a special container, and placed on the blazing hot surface for no more than one minute. If the pizza was simply placed directly on the surface with no enclosed container, the sulfuric acid would eat it before you had a chance! Another surface cooked favorite is Venus Fried Chicken. Using the same special containers, the chicken comes out finger burning good every time. Be sure to check out the travel brochure for the nearest VFC!

Everyone has fun making popcorn at the resort, especially children. They fill containers with kernels, seal it, and then lower it for miles on special cables from the viewing deck into the torrid depths below to pop it. The trick is to reel it back up at the proper time without scorching it. So far only ashes have been left as no one has developed the talent, but there is properly made popcorn almost everywhere at the resort, so no worries.

The price is $500 million for the basic trip to the resort for one week but can be customized with surface excursions and longer stays for extra fees. MVAS members receive a 25% discount on all packages. (For those not familiar with the price tag, that is the cost of most of NASA’s missions to Venus).

Before departure from Earth, you will sign a form to not hold me or Hot Foot Venus Expeditions liable from harm or death from heat stroke, the bends, or acid burns. Be sure you are skilled and healthy enough to partake in any of the activities you wish to pursue. This may all seem insane and some of it may never really happen (although VFC sounds tasty!), but some of the exploration certainly will, and floating laboratories at Venus are not that farfetched. Who knows what an MVAS member might do for an exotic vacation hundreds of years from now?