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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 11 )
Related News Stories -
Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'- Jack Williamson, 1941.
Tyson Says Asteroid Miners Will Be First Trillionaires
'...Come together here under the influence of their mutual gravitation, and formed a little metallic planet.'- Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.
Zap Space Debris With Telescope Laser On ISS
'... their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.
Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
Elon Musk and Spacex engineers will not be denied!
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.
Self-Driving Truck Corridor From Manitoba To Mexico?
Maybe this would be safer...
Electronic Tongue Knows Beer Better Than You
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle.'
NASA's Robotic Mining Competition
''Dave,'[Powell] said. 'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot...'
Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
'What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat?'
L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'
LG Display Creates OLED Wallpaper
'A television that unrolled like a poster...'
Cool Foldable Mini-Quadcopter
'Eddie pocketed the bee cam...'
NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'
Cicada UAV Dropped In Swarms
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
AI's Now Being Taught Anger
Actually the Prime Radiant was just a display device.
Cicret Interactive Skin Display Prototype
'A strip of readout skin on my wrist...'
Lily Camera Video Sport Selfie Drone
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'
Metal Composite Floats Your Boat
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...'
Six Terabyte Solid State Drive Just 2.5 Inches
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Israeli 'Food Replicator' Inspired By Star Trek
What flavor would you like?
Robotic Trash Can Wants Your Garbage
'The can pivoted on broad rubber treads and rolled toward her...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories