Sulfuric Acid: A Short Story

The rain drops fall like fire, licking the outside of the floating bio dome, our tiny island of refuge in hell.  It couldn’t be done they said.  The valuable tool that humans have used since the dawn of time was now a challenge to sustaining the colony on this hellish planet.  The ancient Sumerians were the first to document its properties, Dioscorides, a Greek physician, and the Roman naturalist improved our knowledge through researching the chemical.  Oil of Vitriol they once called it, cruel and bitter.  Very fitting, referring to the Venusian rain in such a way was a fantastic understatement.  The Borderlander miners on Neptune got all the luck with their stunning diamond rain.  Here though, mere seconds in the heat and acid would mean a certain agonizing end.  However, we adapted.  We had to.  Where the sulfuric acid rain had once caused severe thermal and hydrolytic burns to human tissues, we have now harnessed its power and use the unlimited resource to help sustain our gadolinium mining colony. The sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and water vapor in the upper atmosphere are agitated by the intense solar radiation which bathes this spherical inferno.  As the photo-radiation forms sulfuric acid, it gains density and begins plummeting towards the seething, super-heated ground below.  As it heats up descending towards the ground, due to runaway greenhouse effects, the acid becomes more and more concentrated as heat boils water away. Much like back home on Earth a sixty percent majority of our captured sulfuric acid supply is used in the production of superphosphates, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium phosphate.   These high quality fertilizers can be used to keep our hydroponic system optimally producing food and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.  In a clutch they can also double as explosive materials. Still more, about twenty percent, of sulfuric acid is used in production of various things we need to efficiently run the colony.  Water treatment chemicals, detergents, drain cleaners, pharmaceuticals, dye materials, insecticides, and chemical catalysts to name just a few.  The remainder is used in the production of lubricants, batteries, paints, fabrics, and paper.  Almost everything we make here needs sulfuric acid to be produced effectively and efficiently.  Without this deadly rain from the Venusian sky, our colony would not be viable.  Just like the clouds outside, and on earth itself, this dangerous and industrially ubiquitous chemical is necessary for our sustained smooth survival.