Question Invade Venus

T.Neo

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Space combat is something that has been discussed many times before on this forum; however, discussion on the subject has mostly involved technical debate, with the uncertainty of tactical and strategic influences on these matters clouding things to a large degree. Thus, I have decided to start a discussion based on the postulation of a specific scenario and end goal of a campaign, to stimulate discussion from a standpoint where a set situation for space combat to occur has been established.

Thus I propose a speculative exercise in which anyone who is interested in is welcome to take part; the discussion of how one would go about the invasion of an alternate, habitable Venus from Earth, using as close to modern technology as possible. I have attached a .pdf further outlining the scenario to be used as the basis for discussion.

The exercise is meant to be iterative in nature; first, it will be determined how Venus, as described in the PDF, could be invaded, and then from there, what the best defences to invasion would be, and in turn what would be the best defences to these countermeasures, and soforth.
 
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MattBaker

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Why invade a planet if you can start a revolution from within? Officer, get this Mowry character in here!
 

jangofett287

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It all depends. How much infrastructure do we want left intact when we take Venus? Regardless to begin with I suggest we send some micro-cubesats equipped with cameras on a close pass in order to gain as complete a map of the surface as possible, at as high a resolution as possible, to allow us to pick out the vital military and logistics hubs.
 

kamaz

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That heavily depends on the technology available.

Using current tech:

Step 1. Identify two Near-Earth Objects: a small one and a big one.
Step 2. Put a nuclear warhead on top of Atlas V.
Step 3. Launch for NEO intercept.
Step 4. Detonate the warhead near NEO, so it gets diverted into an orbit which encounters Venus.
Step 5. Wait for impact.
Step 6. Issue an ultimatum demanding a surrender. Threaten repetition using a second object.
Step 7. There is no step 7. You have no real recourse if your bluff is called, because you can only blow up the entire biosphere using the other NEO, and that would serve no useful purpose. On the other hand, even if Venusians surrender, then there is nothing you can get from them, as there is no suitable spacecraft for running Earth-Venus routes.

Using near-future tech (i.e. what can be built conceivably):

Step 1. Use the Atlas/Nuke combos to take out launch sites. Pray that Venusian ABM cannot intercept missiles coming in from a Hohmann trasfer.
Step 2. Use the heavy lifter to launch solar shields to Venus.
Step 3. Issue an ultimatum demanding an unconditional surrender. Threaten freezing the planet. If rejected, drop planet temperature by a few degrees and repeat.
Step 4. Launch an interplanetary spacecraft to Venus on autopilot. Land on the surface.
Step 5. Demand women (quantity: 2) as tribute. Nothing more will fit into the ascent stage anyway.
Step 6. Realize that women cannot be brought to Earth for planetary protection reasons. Demand mass equivalent in diamonds instead.
Step 7. Despair over the expense report from your financial department. Realize that there are cheaper ways of obtaining diamonds. Sell diamonds as collector's items.

Using near-future tech and unlimited budget:

Step 1. Calculate IMLEO needed to land a tank on Venus. Despair over result. Multiply by 20 thousand. Despair more.
Step 2. Procure appropriate amount of heavy lift vehicles. Or build a space elevator.
Step 3 - variant 1. Retire before the end of your term, and enjoy generous kickbacks from the HLV manufacturer.
Step 3 - variant 2. Same as above, but with kickbacks from the tank manufacturer.
Step 3 - variant 3. Realize that the amount of launch vehicles you've just purchased is enough to colonize Mars, which at least has no natives. Put the invasion plans on hold, and colonize Mars instead. Collect Nobel Peace Prize.
Step 4 - variant 4. If you really want to, launch the invasion. Just rememeber that you will run bankrupt in a few years due to costs of shipping supplies.

Using far future tech (i.e. nanotech):

Step 1. Launch self-replicating nanobots to Venus.
Step 2. Wait for nanobots to replicate in big enough numbers.
Step 3. Use the nanobots to take over Venus. Any strategy will do.
Step 4. Realize that nothing economically can be brought from Venus to Earth. Start selling derivatives based on future profits from Venus. Collect payouts and Nobel Prize in Economics.

Using Sy-Fy tech:

Call Commander Adama and tell him to invade Venus. It's his job to know how. Oh, and before you go, shot Starbuck for insubordination. The woman was getting on my nerves so much that I stopped watching at the beginning of the fourth season.
 

RisingFury

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Call Commander Adama and tell him to invade Venus. It's his job to know how. Oh, and before you go, shot Starbuck for insubordination. The woman was getting on my nerves so much that I stopped watching at the beginning of the fourth season.

Wow, you missed out! :facepalm:
 

kamaz

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Step 1. Calculate IMLEO needed to land a tank on Venus. Despair over result. Multiply by 20 thousand. Despair more.

I've just checked that :)

Ares-V (130ton IMLEO version) would have rated payload of 50tons to Mars. Mars is 4.3km/s from LEO and Venus is 3.9km/s -- so we can say that payload to Venus and Mars is the same. Landing via aerobraking / chutes.

Russian T-90 tanks weights 47.5tons, Abrams weights 60 tons.

So there you have it. One launch of Ares-V/SLS per one tank -- without crew or supplies.

In T.Neo's scenario, Venusian ground forces have 4K tanks, 10K APCs and the like and 1.7K mobile artillery. And to get to using tanks, we would have to first achieve space and air superiority.

I'm sorry, but even Battlestar Galactica is not going to cut it.

We would need a stargate.
 

MaverickSawyer

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Hrm... I suspect that this would be impossible to achieve right now. If we had a space elevator? Sure, it's be a real easy task. The killer is the uplift requirements. We just don't have enough lift capacity to take Venus with minimal collateral damage to the Venusian infrastructure and civilian population.
 

jangofett287

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Just a thought. What would the maximum speed we could make a 50 ton block of metal (or anything nice and solid really) hit the surface be? Because Kinetic Kill weapons could be viable.
 

MattBaker

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Because Kinetic Kill weapons could be viable.

Compared to nuclear weapons they are heavier and have less energy. If you want to blow stuff up I see two cheaper options: Nuclear weapons and a few guys from your favorite intelligence agency operating in enemy territory, if you are able to safely land them somewhere without them noticing, which could be quite hard in this scenario.

Are Venusian ICBM's able to send nuclear weapons to Earth?
If no you could just launch an Atlas V with some, bomb them and threaten them to do this on a regular basis unless they surrender unconditionally. Fear of nuclear destruction always worked well on Terra it seems.
If yes: Revive Ronald Reagan, build up the SDI, see Reagan getting assassinated by Russian/Chinese spies, funding for SDI stops, dammit this didn't really work out, did it?

That could be the main problem: Venus is one nation with one government and one interest in this scenario. The more realistic Earth isn't. In real life you can't unify the NATO behind a war of aggression on Earth and probably not for Star Wars either. Neither Russia nor China nor the US would have the capabilities to fight such a state as in this scenario on Earth, if they aren't five decades+ behind in technology this war ends up with Venus invading Earth.
Note to myself: If you are put on a sleeper ship and shall invade another solar system in three centuries send one of your own guys to bomb Earth but let it appear as if it was an attack by the enemy.
 

kamaz

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Compared to nuclear weapons [kinetic weapons] they are heavier and have less energy.

But it's interplanetary warfare, so:

(1) You can obtain (and move) large asteroid mass very cheaply (if slowly)

(2) You have spent upper stages and the like which can be crashed into targets

---------- Post added at 03:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:59 AM ----------

Just a thought. What would the maximum speed we could make a 50 ton block of metal (or anything nice and solid really) hit the surface be? Because Kinetic Kill weapons could be viable.

If it's arriving from Earth via Hohmann transfer, then it has Vinf=2.7km/s.
Espace velocity at Venus is 10.3km/s.
So impact velocity would be 10.7km/s if I'm calculating right.

Of course, minus losses in the atmosphere.
 

Andy44

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Reading through the pdf this would be a very tall order.

Getting any sort of large land army on the ground intact would be a very difficult task. Since Venus has no internal armies to fight against, I am assuming its rather large military is designed to be used against invaders from Earth.

That means all those nuclear warheads will be waiting for anyone foolish enough to attempt a landing. Worse, they may be used to counterattack Earth directly.

My first thought was that you should land in an uninhabited area of Venus, colonize it, and eventually use the colony as a base for a future attack, or to conduct 4th Genration warfare in the form of a population war, which takes patience. I wouldn't put much hope in that operation, either, again due to the nuclear weapons, as well as the large and powerful Venusian navy, which allows the Venusians to project power into any portion of their planet.

Their small army is still large enough to handle any realistic number of troops we could land. And as soon as the Venusians catch us building large troop carriers that will change as well.

Basically, the gulf of space and delta-V separating the two planets makes it very hard for either one to invade the other, leaving only nuclear/asteroid bombardment or unconventional warfare as options. And those options work both ways, so it's a cold war standoff.

---------- Post added at 09:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:22 PM ----------

Thinking about this further the scenario from Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress was a much more plausible description of near-future interplanetary combat. An interesting excercise would be to wargame that as the Terran Trade authorities and figure out how to beat the Lunar uprising.
 
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RisingFury

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Assume delta-V is cheap in this kind of war. Assume we could transport needed supplies between planets to wage a full scale war. What does this war look like, if both sides don't want to completely kill each other's population (cos that's easy).

You'd still be limited by launch windows in this scenario.

The questions I have are:
How does one plan a "Normandy landing" on Venus?
How does one defend against such an invasion?
What role does the Moon play in this?
 

MattBaker

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Ever tried landing just 50 Kerbals on Laythe? Because that's what cheap delta-V reminds me of. Hint: Long, tedious and hard.

What role does the Moon play in this?

I'd say none. It has no atmosphere, is easily observable by Terrans and you can easily destruct any Venusian effort. I doubt you can somehow sneak a big enough spacecraft to serve as a lunar base to the Moon without anyone looking for NEO noticing, followed by an Earth government launching something to intercept you. "It's not an asteroid, it's a Venusian colony ship!"
And even if you can and were not detected for some time: The moment you use it it becomes clear that somewhere on the Moon is a base. That becomes top priority, gets found and destroyed. Now Terrans know that strategy...
 

fsci123

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It would be nearly impractical to land soldiers on the ground and impossible to keep them alive and well supplied. Any war or invasion will be mainly fought in cis Venus space.

Earth war ships will be targeting airbases, missile bases, aircraft carriers, sats, and maybe enemy warships. Most likely sats will be targeted first along with enemy warships. Nukes will be used to destroy electronics and large military installations. If the war gets really desperate they may start dropping chemical and nuclear bombs on major cities. Anything on Venus could be used as a weapon base. Farms could be converted into antisat launch sites. TV radio sites could be converted into jamming weapons.

If you aren't planning a sneak attack(converting earth-Venus cyclers into warships) the first attack will have to take place long before the warships arrive. Earth forces will have to use a combination of cyberattacks and terrorism to distract Venusian forces from an arriving warfleet.

Maintaining a military presence in cis Venus space would be difficult. Amo and bombs would quickly run out within several days. Airplanes armed with antisat weapons will probably focus on any amo-resupply vessels coming from earth.
 
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MaverickSawyer

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Assume delta-V is cheap in this kind of war. Assume we could transport needed supplies between planets to wage a full scale war.
OK, given that, it becomes much easier.

The questions I have are:
How does one plan a "Normandy landing" on Venus?
How does one defend against such an invasion?
What role does the Moon play in this?

With great care! :p
Kessler Syndrome is the orbital equivalent of a minefield, and requires no upkeep patrols. ;)
IF we assume that there is a mining/manufacturing capacity at the moon (unlikely, but possible), it would certainly be the assembly yards for the assault ships.

Personally, I would use the Moon to manufacture components that are too large or heavy to be shipped from Earth, and perform subassembly construction on the surface. Boost the subassemblies to orbit, and connect them into a "Battlestar Galactica" ship to carry the crew on a one-way mission to Venus.

Troops would need to have either aeroshells like the ODSTs from Halo/Mobile Infantry from Starship Troopers (Airborne infantry equivalent) or an assault shuttle, like the MOVIE version of S.T. and the Halo Pelican (landing craft a la Normandy). Larger ships, like the TAV Valkyrie from Avatar, would fulfill the heavy assault role to deploy tanks after landing (C-5 equivalent).

I feel it all boils down to HOW one transports the massive assault force from Earth to Venus. After you get boots on the ground, and set up a foothold on Venus, it's a "conventional" war. You just have to bring all your reinforcements with you at the start: there's no calling the Pentagon and asking for a battalion of fresh troops and getting them in a week by airlift. You have to wait for the next transfer window.
 
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kamaz

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But the Venusians have telescopes and they can see your Battlestar weeks in advance. How do you prevent them from intercepting you before landing?

And even if you somehow make it to landing, they will see your reentry -- what is stopping them from covering your landing site with artillery fire and/or nukes immediately after touch down?
 

Andy44

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I just thought of the only thing that might make this thing remotely possible:

Orion+Schematic.JPG


Nuclear pulse propulsion.

Nasty, expensive, and dirty, but it's the only thing I can think of that gives you the upmass you need to carry anything heavy to Venus.

It's also radiation-hardened and very hard to kill by its very nature, unlike every other space vehicle we can plausibly build.

Of course, you need to ramp up your nuclear weapons industry to produce the impulse units (as well as the weapons you're going to use on the Venusians to carpet-bomb their defenses).

Since I know of no way to land an Orion, you also need some sort of landing modules to get your troops through that last 100 miles or so to the surface. Even with all this power there is no retreat once the landing begins.

But this may be the way to do it.

Of course, when the Venusians see you building these things, they're going to build their own. Commence epic ship-to-ship combat!
 
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MaverickSawyer

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[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avsbVBy-shc"]Project Orion: a re-imagining by Rhys Taylor - YouTube[/ame]


Yeah, kinda noticeable! :lol:
 

jedidia

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That could be the main problem: Venus is one nation with one government and one interest in this scenario. The more realistic Earth isn't. In real life you can't unify the NATO behind a war of aggression on Earth and probably not for Star Wars either. Neither Russia nor China nor the US would have the capabilities to fight such a state as in this scenario on Earth

Modern Science Fiction:
1. expect dazzling breakthroughs in the next 10 years
2. Design giant starship
3. Install nuclear everything
4. ????
6. PROFIT!!

Post-modern Science Fiction:
1. Expect only minute progress in the next 200 years
2. Design minimal spaceship with pessimistic assumptions
3. Calculate Costs and Energy requirements
4. Forgett the whole thing because even if we could do it, the Bigwigs would never let us.

Kind of off-topic, but I find it really interesting to see the mindsets change over the year (I'm also not saying that postmodernism is generally a bad thing. It just overdoes it a bit with the pessimism...)
 
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