Floating city seen by thousands over China

An interesting mirage has been catching the attention of thousands of people, presenting as what appears to be a towering city in the clouds. This is apparently caused by light rays bending through layers of atmosphere of different temperatures, and is a sort of mirage I’ve never heard of before.

My first response was ‘what the hell, how is this possible?’ and although finding out how it is possible is pretty interesting, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. I don’t know what I expected it to be… certainly not really a city in the sky, or a spaceship or doorway to a parallel world… but, the idea of something so shocking and amazing being actually real is a powerful hope in the minds of many humans.

Maybe one day we’ll discover life in the universe, and that hope will finally be satisfied… or, would it? When confronted with actual, real alien life, would it become mundane? Once explained would the awe and mystery be removed, no matter how amazing the fact of it is?

I hope we find out soon!


Cloud City on Venus

NASA has plans for a Cloud City on Venus, seriously. 

Our nearest neighbor, Venus, is always ignored when it comes to explorations, probably because the surface is around 465C (870F). Venus is very similar to Earth otherwise, though, and is called Earth’s twin. It’s nearly identical in size and composition and gravity, we just can’t get anywhere near the surface. Even to send a robot would be difficult since the temperatures there are hot enough to melt lead.

But the atmosphere, however, is another questions.

The High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, or HAVOC (nice) is NASA’s plan which would first send a robot to test the atmosphere, followed by an crewed orbital mission, then finally a thirty day manned mission into the atmosphere of Venus, staying in solar-powered airships held up by helium. Yeah, it sounds like a sci fi movie. But NASA is actually seriously thinking about this.

Imagine, a cloud city on Venus full of scientists studying the planet below. The vision in my head is something like the scene below:


But… maybe I shouldn’t get my hopes up…