MIT Scientists Suggest Wild Plan to Ease Climate Change: Space Bubbles


MIT engineers have revisited a long-standing concept to lessen the consequences of climate change because of concern that attempts to stop the flow of extra greenhouse gases leaking into our atmosphere won't be enough to save us from a rising disaster.

We could easily lift a parasol made of high-tech bubbles over the earth to provide a little bit of shade in order to buy some time while we wean ourselves off our addiction to fossil fuels.

The idea of employing a huge space-umbrella to block a minuscule percentage of solar radiation was first put out in the late 1980s, and it isn't nearly as absurd as it sounds. Fair enough, it's also a far less dangerous concept than previous significant geo-engineering initiatives aimed at bouncing light from the surface back into space.

But even if the basic idea of cooling Earth with some sort of orbital shield were to work, the materials needed would require characteristics that made them strong, light, and optically appropriate.

Initial ideas centered on a glass sandwich produced from elements obtained from lunar rock that would be 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) wide. It would reflect a quantity of light estimated to counteract the continuous increase in temperature when placed in an exact equilibrium between the gravity of the Sun and Earth, the effect of solar rays, and the impact of solar particles.

Since then, other solutions have been thought of, including hydrogen-filled aluminum balloons and a man-made ring of particles that would transform Earth into a tiny Saturn.

All have advantages, but the most are cast in the "great idea, sorry about the science" category due to overwhelmingly negative factors.

Nevertheless, dire times necessitate desperate actions. MIT scientists are requesting a feasibility study on the deployment of a raft of frothy bubbles the size of Brazil, certain that the basic advantages of a solar shield still have some worth.

It doesn't seem all that absurd if you get over images of tossing enormous cans of shaving cream into the void between planets.

The little thickness differences in the bubble film, which are made from a homogeneous material like molten silicon, may reflect a range of solar radiation wavelengths, improving its effectiveness. A sheet of bubbles might be blown in position, cutting expenditures, as opposed to the intricate origami needed to fold and unfold big reflective textiles for delivery.

The best part is that, in the event of an emergency, popping a mass of bubbles is much more effective than gathering a swarm of small umbrellas, scooping up clouds of dust, or shattering a city-sized window.

A shield of this type would theoretically have a mass density of around 1.5 grams per square meter, placing it on par with futuristic technology based on swarms of circling space-umbrellas.

To eliminate the need for bulky navigation systems, the technology would need to be kept in place by the tug-of-war between Earth and the Sun.

Engineers would ideally like the system to be able to reduce by 1.8 percent the quantity of sunshine that would otherwise fry our globe. This is the amount of sunlight that has been calculated by prior research.

Obtaining funds for extra study will determine whether they can locate a material that can meet all the requirements, figure out a viable method to place it before blowing, and finally start blowing. The researchers are only putting the notion out there in the hopes that further study might be done to expand upon it; of course, none of this has yet been published in a peer-reviewed publication. So for now, most of it is fascinating speculation.

Initial research has demonstrated that thin-film bubbles can be inflated at roughly three-thousandths of an atmosphere of pressure and maintained at a temperature of -50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit). But before we can think about implementing the strategy, much more work needs to be done.

According to Carlo Ratti, a professor of urban technologies at the MIT Senseable City Lab, "We feel that taking feasibility studies of a solar shield to the next level will help us make better informed judgments in the years to come should geoengineering techniques become critical."

Of course, none of this would indicate a relaxation in the fight against carbon pollution. Previous MIT study also suggests that we should exercise extreme caution when it comes to any form of solar shading, given the real danger of disrupting global weather patterns.

But it's obvious that all solutions need to be kept on the table for discussion given the evidence that catastrophic temperatures might be reached in as little as a decade or two.

Just keep in mind that the true solution is to eliminate emissions as soon as humanly feasible, not to be distracted by these large, eye-catching initiatives.

MIT Scientists Suggest Wild Plan to Ease Climate Change: Space Bubbles MIT Scientists Suggest Wild Plan to Ease Climate Change: Space Bubbles Reviewed by Blogger on July 11, 2022 Rating: 5
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