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11 Amazing Letters from Nobel Laureates

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1. "Nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses."

Albert Einstein is arguably the most famous scientist of all time, and father of the world's most famous equation. For his work in theoreticel physics ("especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect," according to the committee), Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics. His contribution to modern science can hardly be overstated, but in 1954, in a handwritten letter to the Jewish philosopher Eric B. Gutkind, Einstein would discuss his views on something completely different. The so-called "God Letter," in which Einstein shares his opinion on religion, is currently on auction. Bidding is at 3 million dollars, and closes next week. An excerpt, as translated from German by Joan Stambaugh:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual 'props' and 'rationalization' in Freud's language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,

Yours, A. Einstein

2. "I count meeting your Teacher as one of the great experiences of my life."


Perkins School for the Blind Archive

Author and humanitarian Pearl S. Buck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces." Her most famous work, The Good Earth, was the best-selling novel in the U.S. in both 1931 and 1932, and won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel. One Wednesday in late October 1936, Buck sat down to write a letter to another inspiring well-known woman who had just lost her companion and teacher, Anne Sullivan.

Dear Helen Keller:

I am one of many thousands, I know, who are thinking of you today with especial affection and sympathy. I count meeting your Teacher as one of the great experiences of my life - one was instantly impressed with the sense of greatness in her presence. What a glorious life you and she made together! How much you both achieved for the world, and what immense strength you have given to us all! I know of no human source so full of inspiration to others as the story of your life with her.

Please, then, accept my deepest admiration, my faith in you that you are able, now, as you always have been, to live triumphantly. I know what this means to you - this parting - I know a little of what this must mean, rather- but I have no fears for you. And will you count me among your friends now more than ever, and if ever I can help you, let me know - I shall be so glad. And when you feel able, I should like to come and see you.
Please remember me kindly and warmly to dear Polly Thomson.

Faithfully yours,
Pearl S. Buck
(Mrs. Richard J. Walsh)
480 Park. Ave.
New York City
Wednesday

3. "Their work has unintentionally caused our present dangers."

Bertrand Russell was one of the 20th century's greatest minds, but pinning him to just one field is a bit difficult. His work has influenced linguistics, mathematics, computer science, philosophy, logic, and more, and because of his strong campaign for nuclear disarmament and anti-war activism, he is also considered one of the century's foremost humanitarians. In 1950, the Swedish Academy gave him the Prize in Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought." (It was a nice compromise.) In the following letter to fellow Nobel laureate Albert Einstein, Russell proposed a joint effort against nuclear proliferation, which would eventually become the Russell-Einstein Manifesto:

5 April, 1955.
41, Queen's Road,
Richmond, Surrey.

Dear Einstein,

I have been turning over in my mind, and discussing with various people, the best steps for giving effect to the feeling against war among the great majority of men of science. I think the first step should be a statement by men of the highest eminence, communists and anti-Communists, Western and Eastern, about the disasters to be expected in a war. I enclose a draft of such a statement, and I very much hope that you will be willing to sign it. I enclose also a list of those whom I am asking to sign. If sufficient signatures are obtained, I think the next step should be an international scientific congress which should be invited by the signatories to pass a resolution on the lines of the draft resolution which I enclose. I hope that in this way both Governments and public opinion can be made aware of the seriousness of the situation.

On the whole, I have thought that it was better at this stage to approach only men of science and not men in other fields, such as Arnold Toynbee whom you mentioned. Scientists have, and feel that they have, a special responsibility, since their work has unintentionally caused our present dangers. Moreover, widening the field would make it very much more difficult to steer clear of politics.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed, 'Bertrand Russell')

In response, Einstein was brief:

Dear Bertrand Russell,

Thank you for your letter of April 5. I am gladly willing to sign your excellent statement. I also agree with your choice of the prospective signers.

With kind regards,
A. Einstein.

This was the last letter he ever wrote. He died 13 days later on April 18. The official Manifesto was released July 9, 1955.

4. "If there is anywhere else I shall be on the look out for you."

Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values," making him the only British Prime Minister to receive the award. (In 1963, he would also become the first Honorary Citizen of the United States.) In July, 1915, long before any of this took place, a 40-year-old Churchill wrote a letter to his wife, Clementine, which was sealed and marked with instructions to deliver the note to her in the event of his death. He then reenlisted in the Army.

Do not grieve for me too much. I am a spirit confident of my rights. Death is only an incident & not the most important which happens to us in this state of being. On the whole, especially since I met you my darling one I have been happy, & you have taught me how noble a woman's heart can be. If there is anywhere else I shall be on the look out for you. Meanwhile look forward, feel free, rejoice in life, cherish the children, guard my memory. God bless you.

Good bye.
W.

25 years later, Churchill would be Prime Minister, and the letter long forgotten.

5. "Jesus it's marvellous to tell other people how to write."


Papa Hemingway picked up his Nobel for Literature in 1954, following a series of harrowing injuries and brushes with death. He opted out of traveling to Stockholm to receive his award, and instead sent a short speech along to be read in his absence. (You can listen to it here, as read by John C. Cabot, the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden.) Twenty years before, though, Hemingway was writing much longer missives, in this case to longtime friend and confidante, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Soon after publication of Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald wrote Hemingway to ask his opinion on the work. This was his reply, which is in turn critical and awash with invaluable advice for anyone who wants to write a book. (Note that the great Hemingway was a hit-or-misspeller, and had a little homonym confusion to boot.)

(Transcript courtesy of Letters of Note)

Key West
28 May 1934

Dear Scott:

I liked it and I didn't. It started off with that marvelous description of Sara and Gerald (goddamn it Dos took it with him so I can't refer to it. So if I make any mistakes—). Then you started fooling with them, making them come from things they didn't come from, changing them into other people and you can't do that, Scott. If you take real people and write about them you cannot give them other parents than they have (they are made by their parents and what happens to them) you cannot make them do anything they would not do. You can take you or me or Zelda or Pauline or Hadley or Sara or Gerald but you have to keep them the same and you can only make them do what they would do. You can't make one be another. Invention is the finest thing but you cannot invent anything that would not actually happen.

That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best—make it all up—but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.

Goddamn it you took liberties with peoples' pasts and futures that produced not people but damned marvellously faked case histories. You, who can write better than anybody can, who are so lousy with talent that you have to—the hell with it. Scott for gods sake write and write truly no matter who or what it hurts but do not make these silly compromises. You could write a fine book about Gerald and Sara for instance if you knew enough about them and they would not have any feeling, except passing, if it were true.

There were wonderful places and nobody else nor none of the boys can write a good one half as good reading as one that doesn't come out by you, but you cheated too damned much in this one. And you don't need to.

In the first place I've always claimed that you can't think. All right, we'll admit you can think. But say you couldn't think; then you ought to write, invent, out of what you know and keep the people's antecedants straight. Second place, a long time ago you stopped listening except to the answers to your own questions. You had good stuff in too that it didn't need. That's what dries a writer up (we all dry up. That's no insult to you in person) not listening. That is where it all comes from. Seeing, listening. You see well enough. But you stop listening.

It's a lot better than I say. But it's not as good as you can do.

You can study Clausewitz in the field and economics and psychology and nothing else will do you any bloody good once you are writing. We are like lousy damned acrobats but we make some mighty fine jumps, bo, and they have all these other acrobats that won't jump.

For Christ sake write and don't worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece nor what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket. You feel you have to publish crap to make money to live and let live. All write but if you write enough and as well as you can there will be the same amount of masterpiece material (as we say at Yale). You can't think well enough to sit down and write a deliberate masterpiece and if you could get rid of Seldes and those guys that nearly ruined you and turn them out as well as you can and let the spectators yell when it is good and hoot when it is not you would be all right.

Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don't cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist—but don't think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you.
About this time I wouldn't blame you if you gave me a burst. Jesus it's marvellous to tell other people how to write, live, die etc.

I'd like to see you and talk about things with you sober. You were so damned stinking in N.Y. we didn't get anywhere. You see, Bo, you're not a tragic character. Neither am I. All we are is writers and what we should do is write. Of all people on earth you needed discipline in your work and instead you marry someone who is jealous of your work, wants to compete with you and ruins you. It's not as simple as that and I thought Zelda was crazy the first time I met her and you complicated it even more by being in love with her and, of course you're a rummy. But you're no more of a rummy than Joyce is and most good writers are. But Scott, good writers always come back. Always. You are twice as good now as you were at the time you think you were so marvellous. You know I never thought so much of Gatsby at the time. You can write twice as well now as you ever could. All you need to do is write truly and not care about what the fate of it is.
Go on and write.

Anyway I'm damned fond of you and I'd like to have a chance to talk sometimes. We had good times talking. Remember that guy we went out to see dying in Neuilly? He was down here this winter. Damned nice guy Canby Chambers. Saw a lot of Dos. He's in good shape now and he was plenty sick this time last year. How is Scotty and Zelda? Pauline sends her love. We're all fine. She's going up to Piggott for a couple of weeks with Patrick. Then bring Bumby back. We have a fine boat. Am going good on a very long story. Hard one to write.

Always your friend
Ernest

[Written on envelope: What about The Sun also and the movies? Any chance? I dint put in about the good parts. You know how good they are. You're write about the book of stories. I wanted to hold it for more. That last one I had in Cosmopolitan would have made it.]

6. "I am shocked and griefstricken."

Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts against racial inequality through nonviolent methods. He corresponded frequently with President John F. Kennedy, and revealed in his autobiography that he had voted for JFK in 1960, though he never issued a public endorsement. Immediately following news of Kennedy's assassination, King released the following brief letter of condolence.

If you're interested in reading the many letters and telegrams passed between the president and MLK, the King Center archives have released thousands of documents, including original speech and sermon notes.

7. "Bippity bippity bippity off into the bushes."

Theodore Roosevelt is almost always described with strong adjectives: Exuberant, vigorous, outspoken, abrupt. But you don't often hear about his softer side, especially with his favorite son, Quentin. Two years before he would win the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War, he was doodling rabbits and writing letters like this one to 6-year-old "Quenty-Quee."

Theodore Roosevelt Center

Many of Teddy's letters were collected in Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children, published in 1919. He was the first of only three U.S. Presidents to be awarded the Peace Prize while still in office, along with Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama.

8. "He is unable to accept your kind invitation."

After Frances Crick and James Watson published the double-helix model of DNA in 1953, and especially after sharing the 1962 Nobel in Medicine (along with Maurice Wilkins) for their discoveries, the men found themselves bombarded with requests. Crick, ever the scientist, drew up these handy form response cards, which he sent to almost everyone who wrote to him through the 1960s. The options "are a faithful reflection" of the most-received requests.

The Crick Foundation, via io9

9. "One of the greatest enemies of the human race."

Linus Pauling is the only person to be awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes, which he received in 1954 for Chemistry and 1962 for Peace. As one of the founders of quantum chemistry and molecular biology, a staunch activist who was "against all warfare as a means of solving international conflicts," it's unsurprising that, just months before the Cuban Missile Crisis, Pauling wrote a strongly-worded letter to President Kennedy about nuclear weapons testing:

1 March 1962 Night Letters Durham, NC
President John F. Kennedy, White House:
Are you going to give an order that will cause you to go down in history as one of the most immoral men of all time and one of the greatest enemies of the human race? In a letter to the New York Times, I state that nuclear tests duplicating the Soviet 1961 tests would seriously damage over 20 million unborn children, including those caused to have gross physical or mental defect and also the still births and embryonic, neonatal and childhood deaths from the radioactive fission products and carbon 14. Are you going to be guilty of this monstrous immorality, matching that of the Soviet leaders, for the political purpose of increasing the still imposing lead of the United States over the Soviet Union in nuclear weapons technology?
(Signed) Linus Pauling
---
To Dr. Jerome Wiesner, Mr. McGeorge Bundy, Dr. Glenn Seaborg
I have sent the following telegram to President Kennedy. (quote it). Linus Pauling

10. "It is painful to me that these strange, sly obliquities should be ascribed to me."

In 1943, Alfred Hitchcock approached John Steinbeck about writing a screenplay for him. Steinbeck was delighted, having just returned home from war with shrapnel wounds and eager, as always, to be working on something. He churned out the first draft of Lifeboat, handed it over to Hitchcock and team, and began working on his next project. But when the film was ready in January 1944, Steinbeck was less than pleased with the changes made to his work. His letter to 20th Century Fox says it best:

New York
January 10, 1944

Dear Sirs:

I have just seen the film Lifeboat, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and billed as written by me. While in many ways the film is excellent there are one or two complaints I would like to make. While it is certainly true that I wrote a script for Lifeboat, it is not true that in that script as in the film there were any slurs against organized labor nor was there a stock comedy Negro. On the contrary there was an intelligent and thoughtful seaman who knew realistically what he was about. And instead of the usual colored travesty of the half comic and half pathetic Negro there was a Negro of dignity, purpose and personality. Since this film occurs over my name, it is painful to me that these strange, sly obliquities should be ascribed to me.

John Steinbeck

A month later, Steinbeck wrote to his agent, requesting that his name be removed entirely from the film's credits. His request was ignored.

11. "Long may the Grand Master live."

Letters of Note
He wasn't a winner, but he did found the Nobel Prizes, so Alfred deserves a little nod in the list. Here's the translation of a note he sent by telegram to Victor Hugo in 1885, in honor of the author's 85th birthday:

Victor Hugo
Paris

Long may the Grand Master live, to charm the world and spread his ideas of universal charity.

A. Nobel

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Weather Watch
Will the Solar Eclipse Have an Impact on the Weather?

The United States will have a front-row seat to one of the most spectacular solar eclipses to sweep across the country in our lifetimes. Millions of lucky observers from coast to coast will have the chance to watch the Moon scoot in front of the Sun on the afternoon of August 21, 2017, briefly plunging cities like Salem, Oregon, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Columbia, South Carolina, into night-like darkness during the day. Read our field guide to the solar eclipse for tips on how to make the most of this spectacular event.

While a solar eclipse can be amazing to behold, the phenomenon has little impact on Earth. It may, however, have a small but noticeable effect on weather in the areas that experience a total eclipse.

The entire country will be able to see the Moon cover the Sun in some form, but the best viewing areas will be along a northwest-to-southeast path across the middle of the country. According to NASA, a location needs at least 90 percent coverage to notice any darkening at all, and even 99 percent coverage of the Sun only provides the same level of darkness you'd see at twilight. Areas totally covered by the Moon's relatively narrow shadow will experience conditions akin to dusk, prompting street lights to turn on and even tricking birds and bugs into thinking that the day is drawing to an end. Studies have shown that the total eclipse could also have an effect on temperatures and even winds.

Researchers who studied an eclipse across Europe in 1999 found that the event lowered air temperatures by as much as 5°F across the path of totality. This brief dip in air temperatures also affected local wind speed and direction—not by much, but it was enough for both people and instruments to take notice of the so-called "eclipse wind." The effect on the atmosphere in Europe wasn't a fluke. A weather station in Zambia recorded a temperature drop of nearly 15°F during a solar eclipse in June 2001, and there are reports through history of observers noticing a distinct cooling effect in the midst of a lunar shadow.

The duration of the eclipse and the amount of moisture in the air will determine how much the Moon's shadow will lower temperatures. Moist air has a higher heat capacity than drier air, so when it's muggy outside it takes longer for the air to warm up and cool down. This is why daily temperatures fluctuate less in Miami, Florida, than they do in Phoenix, Arizona. Communities that lie among the drier, cooler Rocky Mountains are more likely to witness a noteworthy dip in temperatures compared to states like Tennessee or South Carolina, which are typically locked in the humid doldrums of summer at the end of August.

If you're lucky enough to witness this spectacular astronomical phenomenon, make sure you bring your eclipse glasses—and a thermometer.

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Space
7 Eye-Opening Facts About Venus

For all the efforts to find another inhabitable planet orbiting a distant star, it might surprise you to learn that a very real Earth 2.0 exists in this solar system—just one planet over. Not Mars (which actually isn't much like Earth at all), but rather, our other neighbor: Venus. Mental Floss spoke to geophysicist Bob Grimm, a program director at the Southwest Research Institute and chair of NASA's Venus Exploration Analysis Group. Here are a few things we learned about Earth's twin sister.

1. BY THE NUMBERS, VENUS LOOKS A LOT LIKE EARTH.

Venus has a radius of 3760 miles. Earth's is 3963. Its mass and gravity are 82 percent and 91 percent of Earth's, respectively—pretty similar as planets go. Venus is composed of a mostly basalt crust, silicate mantle, and iron core. Earth is the same. The two planets likely share common origins somewhere around 4.5 billion years ago.

In fact, by all accounts, we should be able to land our flying saucers on Venus, saddle up a dinosaur, and start building tract housing. It's perfect for colonization, but for a few minor differences. Its year is shorter, at 224.7 days. (And its days are much longer, at 243 Earth days per Venus day.) The Sun would rise in the west and set in the east because of the planet's retrograde orbit (which, by the way, is the most circular of any planet in the solar system). And then there's another small problem …

2. IT'S HOT. VERY, VERY HOT.

Venus is hotter than Mercury, despite being 30 million miles farther from the Sun. How hot? Hot enough, on average, to melt a block of lead the way a block of ice would melt on Earth. Venus suffers from a runaway greenhouse effect. Sunlight penetrates the dense clouds surrounding Venus, heating the landscape. The ground in turn blasts out heat, which rises and tries to escape the atmosphere. But carbon dioxide, which makes up 96 percent of its atmosphere, traps the heat, keeping things nice and toasty, around 900°F. And those clouds aren't the white, fluffy variety. They're made of droplets of sulfuric acid, which makes its lightning storms especially harrowing.

3. VENUS HOLDS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING EXOPLANETS.

"'Does Earth-size mean Earth-like?' is a basic problem of planetology," says Grimm. "Understanding how Earth and Venus diverged is essential to understanding comparative planetology, and potentially exoplanets—these worlds orbiting distant stars that are being discovered telescopically."

Knowing more about Venus would help scientists better distinguish potentially habitable worlds out there, and better understand how a good world can go bad, from a sustaining-life perspective. "Geology and meteorology are intimately related to the evolution of the Earth and the evolution of life on Earth," Grimm notes. "Even though we may not be looking for life on Venus, it's important to understanding Earth's place in the solar system and in the universe."

4. IT DIDN'T HAVE DINOSAURS. (PROBABLY.)

You might have run across old illustrations of Venus with conditions similar to the Carboniferous Period on Earth. Astronomers have known for just under a hundred years that Venus's atmosphere is devoid of oxygen, without which you can't have water. But even a modest backyard telescope can see the clouds enveloping our neighbor, and as Carl Sagan explained, from there you're only a couple of erroneous jumps from assuming a brontosaurus. (Thick clouds mean more water than land. More water than land means swamps. Dinosaurs lived in swamps. Dinosaurs live on Venus. QED.) Said Sagan: "Observation: There was absolutely nothing to see on Venus. Conclusion: It must be covered with life."

But seeing is believing, and the Mariner and Venera series of probes disabused us of the romantic notion of a swampy neighbor to the left. Still, we should probably send robots there to check. Just to be sure.

5. WE HAVEN'T BEEN TO ITS SURFACE SINCE THE 1980S.

Venus was the first planet we visited, with Mariner 2 achieving the first successful planetary encounter in 1962. Four years later, Venera 3 on Venus became the first spacecraft to touch the surface of another planet. (Communications were lost long before impact, but unless a dinosaur ate it, the spacecraft probably touched the ground.) Our first graceful landing on another planet? Venera 7 on Venus. Our efforts to reach its surface go back much further than that, though. The transit of Venus in 1761 practically invented the notion of an international science community. But we abandoned the surface of Venus in 1984, and NASA hasn't launched an orbiter to Venus since Magellan in 1989. 

Since then, the Venus-science community has been trying to get another mission to the launch pad. Presently, U.S. planetary scientists have submitted proposals to NASA for a sub-$1 billion New Frontiers–class mission. They are also working with their colleagues in Russia to launch a joint mission called Venera-D. "We need better radar views of the surface," says Grimm, "and that has to happen at some point to understand the geology. We need deep probes into the atmosphere to understand it better, and we need a new generation of landers."

6. A NEW MISSION COULD HELP SOLVE OUR BIGGEST QUESTIONS.

"There is evidence in the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio that Venus once had water, maybe hundreds of meters deep, more like a global sea than an ocean," says Grimm. A theoretical paper published last year posed a climate model for Venus suggesting that water could have existed on its surface as recently as 1 billion years ago. Clouds could form in a certain way, shielding the surface from the Sun and allowing stable water at the surface. Furthermore, near-infrared observations support the argument for a watery Venusian past. ESA's Venus Express orbiter in 2012 found evidence of granite-like rocks on some parts of the planet. Granite requires a multiple melting process in the presence of water. A mission to Venus could confirm this.

Meanwhile, one of the most significant revelations from Magellan is that there are only around 1000 craters on the surface with no differences in density, and it is hard to find craters that are obviously in a state of being wiped out by lava, or being faulted. Venus does not have plate tectonics, one of the central mechanisms that organizes all geology on the Earth. So what happened to the surface of Venus? Where is the evidence of the Late Heavy Bombardment seen on other terrestrial planets and moons? One hypothesis is that all of Venus was resurfaced at once. There may have been a global catastrophe on Venus, perhaps as recently 750 million years ago, that quickly "reset" its surface. Other models suggest a subtler resurfacing at work in which craters might be erased over billions of years.

"So this whole idea of the surface age of Venus is a pivotal question for how planets evolve geologically," says Grimm. "But what was Venus like before that? Was there a single catastrophe, or have there been many? Was there just one catastrophe and Venus was watery before that, or has Venus operated in a steady state going back to the first billion years? There is more consensus that in the first several hundred million years to billion years, there could have been water." Further landings on Venus could help us solve the mystery of when Venus's surface was formed, if there was ever water there, and why, if it existed, it went away.

7. VENUS IS KIND OF A YELLOW, EXTREME VERSION OF HAWAII.

If Matt Damon were to get stranded on Venus in a sequel to The Martian, he would need to be resourceful indeed to survive the heat and the corrosive air. But what he would find wouldn't be wholly alien. The winds at the surface of Venus are very gentle, around a meter or so per second. The vistas would consist of hills and ridges, with dark lava rocks of various types, mostly basalt. The atmospheric pressure is 90 times greater than Earth at sea level, so walking there would feel a lot like swimming here.

"I don't think [Venus] would look wavy and hot-hazy, because the atmosphere is pretty stable and uniform right at the surface," says Grimm. "It would be harder to walk through the dense atmosphere, but not as hard as walking through water. We know from landings that it's kind of yellow because of the sulfur in the atmosphere. So with the abundance of lavas in many places on Venus, it sort of looks like a yellowish Hawaii."

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