Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came up with an idea worth publishing on the first day of April, working on how to mitigate the effects of ongoing climate change. They devised a strategy in which a huge number of large bubbles, carefully placed between the Earth and the Sun, would divert sunlight (and thus heat) and stop further global warming.
“If climate change has gone too far, what could be our emergency solutions?” researchers on the website ask dedicated space bubbles (Space Bubbles). They agree that our last and only option may be geoengineering – a set of emerging technologies that can manipulate the environment and partially offset some of the impacts of climate change.
How to tackle global climate change?
They further state that most of the proposals are tied to the Earth, which, however, poses a huge risk to our living ecosystem. Space solutions could be much safer. For example, if we diverted 1.8% of the sun’s rays before they hit our planet, we could completely reverse today’s global warming.
“Building on the work of Roger Angel, who was the first to propose the use of thin reflective films in space, we have created an innovative solution that is easy to deploy and fully reversible.” It is about bubbles reflecting sunlightwhich scientists have already tested in laboratories.
Bubbles could be made directly in space, where they would create a large reflecting surface at the Lagrange point between the Earth and the Sun, where gravitational forces create a stable orbit. An interdisciplinary team of MIT scientists in the fields of architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, physics and materials sciences is working on the technical and social aspects of this planetary project.
We just hide the sun with a bubble blower
Bubble system would consist of inflatable shields of thin silicon or other suitable material. Scientists in a press releasethat if this plan is implemented sometime in the future, the completed system will be about the size of Brazil.
One of the main problems of the whole design is the logistics of the production of a large film, its transport into space and the subsequent distribution into a bubble shape. Due to the minimization of transport costs, production in space seems to be optimal. The bubbles can be easily destroyed by puncturing, so the solution is fully reversible and would significantly reduce the amount of space debris.
MIT researchers have described the proposed space bubbles as something they would complemented other efforts to mitigate climate change, but it is still a speculative plan and there are other solutions at present. If there was the political will, the financial resources and the technology for such a solution, the same should be possible for much more sensible ways, such as stopping new oil and gas projects.