Space Ring Latest Implausible Warming Solution
The journal Acta Astronautica has published what is probably the most outlandish suggestion yet to stop global warming on Earth - a planet-girdling ring of small particles or micro-spacecraft with reflective umbrellas.
The price tag? Oh, about $6 trillion to $200 trillion for the particle solution. Much less for spacecraft.
Scattering sunlight does work; when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the global climate cooled by about one degree. The ring could be positioned around the equator, cooling the tropics.
Of course, no idea is too outlandish for the imagination of science fiction writers like Stanislaw Lem. An artificial ring of ice was described in Stanislaw Lem's 1987 novel "Fiasco". In Lem's novel the ring was launched into space by the mysterious inhabitants of the planet Quinta for the purpose of lowering the level of the oceans to make more room on land. The ring mass is equal to about 1% of the planet's oceans. The endeavor fails probably due to political reasons before the ice can be accelerated to escape velocity. The ice remains in orbit casting a huge shadow while huge chunks of ice, slowed by the atmosphere return to the surface as a never ending torrent. Lem's protagonists speculate that the ring was launched by shooting lightning into the atmosphere creating a sort of rail gun made of air within which the ice was shot into orbit.
The ring, a flat disk with a hole that had a diameter of fifteen thousand kilometers, inside which spun the girdled planet, was made up of hunks of ice in the middle belts, but of polarized crystals of ice on the outer edges-and that, too, must have been by design. In a word, the ring was controlled in motion and shape from the very beginning; it was guided into the plane of the equator, that being stationary. But on the inside, above the equator, it became chaotic and formless...
Arthur C. Clarke also used the idea of a connected ring of satellites and space stations in his novel Fountains of Paradise:
Many of the synchronous
stations were already kilometres in extent, or linked by cables which stretched
along appreciable fractions of their orbit. To join them together, thus forming
a ring completely around the world, would be an engineering task much simpler
than the building of the Tower, and involving much less material.
No - not a ring - a wheel. This Tower was only the first spoke. There would
be others (four? six? a score?) spaced along the equator. When they were all
connected rigidly up there in orbit, the problems of stability that plagued a
single tower would vanish.
If this article hasn't slaked your thirst for imaginative space-based solutions to global warming, be sure to read about physicist/sf author Gregory Benford's Reduce Global Warming (with a giant space lens). And, since no one has bothered to think about the problem that this would create for all other spacecraft and satellites, be sure to read Terminator Tether - EDT solution to space debris. (We've got you covered here at Technovelgy.com!)
Read more at Space Ring Could Shade Earth. And thanks to alert reader Yossi Preminger for the tip and the quote. Thanks also to Fred Kiesche for the Clarke reference.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/29/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )
Related News Stories -
Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.
How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.
PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...' - Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr., 1940.
International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks' - Robert Heinlein, 1948.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'
Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'
Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'
IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'
Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'
Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'
BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'
IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories