Scientists propose to cover the Earth from the sun’s rays with the help of cosmic bubbles

(ORDO NEWS) — A huge “beach umbrella” in space that will help cool the Earth is not at all a crazy fantasy. Given that so far attempts to overcome the greenhouse effect have not been successful, researchers are considering a variety of ways to save humanity from catastrophic climate change.

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States doubted that humanity could reduce the flow of greenhouse gases that fill the Earth’s atmosphere like a balloon, and prevent catastrophic changes in the global climate.

However, it is obvious that we must have some kind of “Plan B” that can be implemented with further heating of the atmosphere in order to save the world from an imminent crisis.

To do this, the researchers dusted off an old idea, forgotten for decades: to open a huge space “umbrella” over our planet, which would create a much-needed shadow over the Earth’s surface.

Let us explain that some gases, like a giant greenhouse, retain the infrared radiation of the Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere. They heat up the atmosphere of the planet, not being able to get out of the “greenhouse” into space.

The Umbrella would buy time to get rid of dependence on fossil fuels, which generate a lot of greenhouse gases in the process, and move to a more sustainable level of technological development – without burning the planet’s exhaustible resources and creating single-use plastic from petroleum products.

The umbrella solution was first proposed in the late 1980s. Scientists have calculated that this would block a small part of the solar radiation. And this is not so implausible as it seems at first glance.

But, if the concept of cooling the Earth with the help of some kind of orbital shield becomes feasible (after all, this is a separate headache for engineers), non-standard materials will be required to create it. To do this, they must be strong, light and suitable in terms of optical characteristics. For example, transmitting a certain light.

The researchers considered a variety of alternatives, from a glass reflector and hydrogen-filled aluminum balls to an artificial ring of particles that would turn the Earth into a miniature Saturn.

All these proposals have their advantages, but the main disadvantage is the impossibility of developing prototypes that are at least a little close to reality. All this sounds great in theory, but the practical side of the issue has never been studied carefully enough.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, however, and MIT scientists are calling for an estimate of what it would take to launch into space…a foam raft the size of Brazil.

If we discard the fantasies of soap bubbles and shaving foam, this idea will not seem too ridiculous.

Made from a homogeneous substance, such as molten silicon, a film of bubbles of different sizes and thicknesses will be able to reflect different wavelengths of solar radiation, which will further increase the efficiency of the method.

Also, you don’t have to invent ingenious ways to deliver such reflective elements into space: a layer of foam can be “inflated” right on the spot. This should cut costs considerably.

And the most pleasant thing about this undertaking is its reversibility. If something doesn’t go according to plan, bursting a mass of bubbles will be much easier than collecting clouds of dust, tiny “umbrellas” or breaking and again collecting thick glass the size of a city.

Ideally, engineers aim for the entire system to be able to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by 1.8%. This would help reverse today’s global warming completely.

Whether they can find a material that meets all these requirements and develop a suitable way to launch it to the right place in space and then dispose of it depends on the availability of additional research funding.

Of course, none of these plans have yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. The researchers are just “thinking out loud” for now in the hope that in the future they will be able to continue working on the development of this idea. To do this, we recall, they need funding.

So all this, of course, does not mean that efforts to contain carbon emissions can be weakened. However, given that annual carbon emissions continue to rise and world temperatures continue to break all records, any options for solving this problem remain under consideration.


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