If we (the public) had known or had been permitted to realize upon what Venus held in the way of viable energy resources, just perhaps we would have actually looked in greater depth at all those now very old Magellan images, with a little more respect and authority for identifying what if anything was the least bit artificial, as obviously for that of any complex planet that was geologically so similar to Earth, being situated well within the "zone of life", hosting such a wide assortment of energy considerations, it would have been hard if not crude to have ever excluded upon the possibility of Venus life, at least of past life and, perhaps as still existing as something other then what we currently knew of but, none the less life.
True; Venus has become toasty hot, however, even going by the NASA bible of documentation that's supported by a fairly wide margin of astrophysics, Venus was not always so hot and nasty. In fact, based upon what little we really know, Venus may not have been created at the same moment as Earth nor even included in our original solar system and, there's the similar potential analogy of Earth not even being created by the very origin of our solar system. So, all bets are off until a good deal more data has matured and newer data is gathered about Venus.
Of course, in order for any of that learning process to happen, Venus will need to once again exist, which is somewhat contrary to the present status quo of what Lord NASA is interested in seeing, or perhaps NOT seeing.
Hopefully ESA's "Venus Express" team is going to circumvent NASA's wishes and do just that, taking another look-see at Venus however, there are a good number things which a wide spectrum of honest astrophysics sorts can accomplish prior to anything being obtained by that Venus Express mission has within it's budget.
Based upon the following examples of energy signatures associated with the planet Venus, perhaps a fair minded or open minded researcher can start off by realizing and thus deploying upon the reality that there could still be a serious form of evolved life (beyond microbes) existing on Venus, in spite of all the recent avoidance, spin and damage control associated with the "GUTH Venus" discoveries.
Venus energy: (not in specific any order, so you pick which came before the fried egg)
1) there's a good deal of heat, according to physics 101, that's the universal nucleus of nearly all formats of energy (heat is good,not bad).
2) there are well established methods of directly extracting energy from nearly any form of heat (especially of squeaky clean CO2 heat, like warm fusion via cold junction thermopiles or just the dymamics of pressure and thermal differentials or somewhat lesser rom CO2 wind energy).
3) there's the mere density and thereby enormous differentials of what all that CO2 has to offer (nearly hydrodynamic or hydrostatic in potential, as I'm referring to vertical pressure and thermo differentials, as in substantial kinetics powering effective turbines).
4) there's merely the nighttime vertical thermal differentials of 7 to 10K/km (CO2 being thermally conductive and certainly as good for cooling things off, especially within the long season of night, where near surface convections have the opportunity as well as time by which to reach into those relatively cool nighttime clouds).
5) there's a little solar IR and a whole lot of UV considerations that are sufficient, as even below those clouds are small amounts of IR and somewhat more of worthy UV evaluations (this being especially worthy where size and weight of concentrators are not significant factors).
6) there's been a number of charted surface accessible geothermal attributes, as wherever there's such an abundance of heat there's certainly bound to be differentials to extract energy from, plus loads of raw elements being exposed as well as a good opportunity for further distilling/cracking darn near anything (especailly under efficient vacuum of even a few bars and, Venus offers as much as 96 bar to work with, so that even a miserly 10% vacuum is potentially 9.6 bar or -139 psi differential, where 10% on Earth is a truly pathetic -1.45 psi).
7) there's the sheer buoyancy aspects of what the lower atmosphere offers, making for effective as well as efficient ridged airship applications of 66 kg/m3.
8) there's the more recently recognized CO2-->CO/O2 process of which any motivated civilization could have likely devised applications long before other considerations such as radio which is entirely useless for one's surviving within any greenhouse.
9) there's the effective and efficient gathering and subsequent distillation process of extracting H2O from those cool nighttime clouds via efficient rigid airship and subsequently through utilizing the rather considerable authority of nearly free vacuum processing.
10) there's certainly been the likelihood of nuclear elements (if not, then Venus is about the only planet excluding such).
11) wherever there anything fluid, hot or hotter yet, makes little if any difference as to obtaining dynamic/kinetic energy results, especially where there's ample motivation such as living or not should strike your fancy.
12) there's the energy of life itself, upholding the rights of evolution towards being capable of applied intelligence as necessary, so as to have survived the transition from warm to full blown greenhouse, a process that likely took 4200 years if not tens of thousands more.
Now, I'm not going to be the wet blanket about what other planets have to offer or not in the way of viable energy considerations, as certainly Venus upholds it's end of that bargain, whereas frozen and radiated to death Mars has a serious dry-ice defrosting dilemma prior to obtaining much if any energy potential, as well as nearly a lunar atmosphere that's deficient radiation shielding as well as within almost every other category plus, Mars being near the end of whatever our best solar PV panels can muster and, even at best effort, whatever possible PV panels are losing 5% annually due to solar radiation damage and, that's only if nothing otherwise goes terribly wrong. So, as for making a PV energised mission base station feasible (especially considering the sheer amounts of BTUs per crew member requirement), one may need to provide as much as a magnitude 5 advantage (100X) over whatever works about Earth, which is certainly doable but becoming nearly as costly if not more so infrastructure burdensome as for going nuclear.
As humanly obtainable planets go (not that man ever needs to actually go to the Venus surface, where an airship cruising just below those clouds would be more then sufficient or just stationed at VL2 would even do quite nicely), Venus is certainly a close one, like merely 105 times the lunar distance every 18+ months and, of any object the size of Venus, that distance by astronomical terms is a near miss. Another analogy is that for an effective VL2 capable mission (robotic and/or manned), dollar for dollar and per mission infrastructure logic (especially as robotic), as there's not another mission on NASA's books worth spit, not that they don't have a host of vastly more costly as well as humanly risky missions in line, as even the concept of extracting via robots those potentially lethal Mars microbes is a tad bit Frankenstein by nature or, perhaps even in spite of nature.
For our Hubble to be focusing upon targets thousands of light years away, is like looking at a virtual smorgusboard of perfectly good food through the that same telescope, where unfortunately as no matters how good that food looks and no matters how real it is, even with every once of technology applied, you're still not getting any of it, even if you, your family and friends are all dying of starvation. At some pont in the quest of things unobtainable by humanity, something is going to have to give way to reason and the passion to live beyond tomorrow. Once those immediate needs are resolved and, there's both the time and surpluses of talents and resources to devote into entertaining those idle minds, then by all means we should restart upon the process of searching beyond our accessible realm, thus challenging those capable of extrapolating upon the "what if's" of whatever the expansive universe has to hold. However, I should hope that before then we've at least identified those Earth killer space rocks and devised upon a method or two worth salvaging our sorry butts, as should even one of those stones get the gravitational itch as to playing tag with Earth, as within doomsday video games, that's called "RESET".
It seems as though our recent button pushing of other foreign and ethnic types (like Cathars) into an early grave has been keeping us a wee bit busy and, perhaps a little too on edge as to be devoting much of anything that's not directly Earth sciences, possibly of lunar sciences and of course the relevant importance of our keeping an eye upon solar as well as of whatever other accessible planet such as Venus has to offer. I mean, Venus is but light minutes away and, at times close enough to influence upon the physics of Earth sciences. So, how about a little credit where credit is due, how about a little further rational consideration towards obtainable goals, especially those offering the least risk onto humanity as well as the greatest rewards (like establishing VL2), even if those artificial looking attributes turn out as the remains of whatever survived on Venus, what the hell do we have to lose?
Historically, as an inhabited planet, we've spent countless billions upon digging up and analysing to death our past and, apparently the older the better as far as the "old suff" gathering types are concerned, as whatever cost is obviously of little if any concern, just as long as it's someone else's lute and, those side benefits are sufficient as to maintaining the necessary mission focus. So far, little if any archeology has offered an once of actual worth to humanity, unless you're a needy wealthy sort of art and "old stuff" collector but, some day the logic of history as well as the DNA from an ancestor or that of a creature long extinct is going to save a life or two and/or make life more tolerable for whatever is left of humanity, so at least there's a dim light at the end of that archeology tunnel, one that's probably not the sort of NSA/DoD headlight on that locomotive that's recently been coming directly at you from hell.
Sorry if I strayed or wandered a bit off topic, as being the least bit off topic is just the sort of thing the NASA moderated forums as well as those BBC forums are utilizing, as a filter in order to exclude replies to their "off topic" counter attacks against anything they elect to bash is apparently OK. That effectively means that the BBC moderator is always getting the last word, sort of exactly like what Hitler would have wanted. Makes you seriously wonder about where the DNA of such moderators was originally extracted from.