Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Space Sunshade Idea Now Worrisomely Popular

In the past year, I've covered two different proposals on using space technology to create some sort of "shade" for the entire planet that would save us from global warming. In covering those stories, words like "radical" and even "outlandish" seemed appropriate.

Now, NASA has actually funded a more thorough study of a third "sunshade" proposal. Should I be worried that the government is actually thinking they need some sort of space-based fallback plan for the global warming problem?

If you'd like to see the past proposals, take a look at the single giant concave fresnel lens at L1 solution and the space ring girdles the Earth solution.

The new (third!) sunshade solution is proposed by University of Arizona Steward Observatory optics expert Roger Angel. He suggests that we launch trillions of tiny (0.6 meters across) screens. The screens would be thin transparent disks with little 0.1 meter protruding fins with solar energy-gathering capabilities for position adjustment. The disks would essentially be lenses that would take a small amount of the sun's light (energy) and focus it away from Earth.


(Roger Angel suggests L1 sunshade)

They would be sent to the inner Lagrange point L1, the point (or relatively small area) between the sun and the Earth where the orbital period of any object becomes exactly equal to the Earth's orbital period (read a bit more about L1 here). In other words, all of the trillions of tiny "lenses" could stay there forever without expending extra energy, shielding the Earth from about 1.8% of the sun's radiation, according to Dr. Angel.

According to Dr. Angel's paper, just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there would have to be a cloud of lenses about 100,000 kilometers long. To accomplish this, we would need to launch an 800,000 unit stack of these every five minutes for ten years. Angel suggests that this could be done with electromagnetic rail launchers powered (preferably) by some sort of renewable power source like hydroelectric or wind.

As Dr. Angel puts it "...if there's nothing you can do except shade the planet, you may want to think about it."

Now that we are getting more comfortable with large-scale space construction projects, take a look at the giant fresnel lens and the space ring. Also, read more about Dr. Angel's solution in A Sunshade for Planet Earth and Space Sunshade Might Be Feasible in Global Warming Emergency.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/4/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 11 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’ - E.C. Tubb, 1955.

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...' - Fritz Leiber, 1961.

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts.' - Fritz Leiber, 1961.

Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain
'... the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1929.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

NAVER Labs Haptic Device 2.0 Robot vs. IKEA
'... the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’

Shine On, Portable Wind Turbine
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'

Amazing Indoor Robotic Drones Mimic Dolphins and Whales
'They circled the vast audiences, dancing, twittering, chirping...'

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...'

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!'

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts..'

Tianjin Solar Vehicle From Hanergy (2022) Looking Like Heinlein's (1940)
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain
'... the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions.'

Sky Cruise Nuclear Powered Flying Hotel Concept
'... the huge air-freighter Jupiter.'

The Mojo Smart Contact Lens Experience
'... the lens displays would be useless without a wearable computer to do the graphics.'

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.