Retrofuturist Flashback: Venusian Cloud Colonies


Venusian dreams. Technica Molodezhi, 1971

We're currently putting together an episode on architect/engineer R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) and we can't help but dream about such wonders as his Cloud 9 concept. This entailed an enormous floating geodesic sphere, held aloft in the air due to the massive volume of warmed air inside the otherwise low-mass structure. Fuller proposed that such a sphere could actually support airborne towns.

Interestingly enough, a 1971 edition of the Russian popular-science publication Technica Molodezhi featured a design for a similarly-designed means of floating human habitats in the planet Venus's far-more-tolerable upper atmosphere. The surface of Venus is a pressure cooker, but up there we could theoretically live in such amazing habitats.

You can read more about it at Robert Walker's Science 2.0 blog, as well as the original posting on the Secret Projects message board.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.