It turns out that Hell exists, and it’s in Cleveland, Ohio. Inside NASA’s Glenn Research Center is the Glenn Extreme Environments Rig, (GEER for short), through which scientists are trying to recreate the hellish conditions of the surface of Venus.
GEER is a 14-ton steel test chamber and the largest of its kind in the US. It can recreate insane temperatures, as well as the crushing pressures found in extreme environments, like the bottom of the ocean.
GEER can heat up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can crush anything inside of it “under pressures 100 times that on Earth.” It can also recreate Venus’ altitude conditions, from the surface to the upper atmosphere.
As you can see, Venus is a pretty hostile place. According to NASA, temperatures can reach up to 860 degrees and the air pressure is enough to crush a human! And if that’s not enough, NASA also says that “the atmosphere is so thick, it feels like you are moving in gelatin.”
Well, for starters, being able to simulate the extreme surface and atmosphere of Venus can help us be able to explore virtually anywhere else in our solar system (with the exception of Jupiter, due to its radiation levels).
And, according to Dyson, GEER can potentially be used to explore outside of our solar system using calculations about the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. Neat!
Currently the European Space Agency is working on a mission to both Mercury and Venus called BepiColombo. Components of this mission are set to be launched in April 2018 and will fly past Mercury four times and past Venus twice.