Against the climate crisis, MIT imagines the craziest of solar visas

One idea is not entirely uninteresting, but somewhat irrational and which we should not forget is that the fight against global warming has been played all over the world.

While global warming and all related issues are moving at an alarming rate, it is no secret to anyone. Despite these well-established observations, government authorities and large industrial groups are still struggling to provide large-scale solutions, while many interesting technologies in this regard have already been mastered.

Instead of reinventing the wheel when it is primarily a matter of political and economic will, some researchers have therefore changed their perspective and are now working on solutions as fundamental because they are irrational. This is the case with a team of prestigious MIT researchers.

Global warming attacks from the other end

Its members have actually tackled the problem from the other end; Instead of managing the consequences of global warming, it would be enough to make sure that it does not get hot at all. And to make this funny idea a reality, they came up with another unusual method: place a kind of giant sun visor between the earth and its stars!

The idea may seem straightforward outside of science fiction, but it still has some definite basis. It begins with the fact that blocking a small fraction of the solar energy reaching the Earth would be enough to completely reverse the global warming curve, much faster than all the resistance systems available on Earth.

“Geoengineering may be our last and only option. But most of these proposals are limited to the world, which poses a huge risk to the ecosystem ”; Explain to researchers. However, “If we deviate Solar radiation accounts for 1.8% of cases Before it hits our planet, we can completely reverse global warming“, They claim.

But the most interesting thing is the nature of the Sun Visa in question. The researchers imagined an armada of huge swollen and semi-transparent bubbles capable of covering an equal area of ​​Brazil! But there is no question of sending them into low orbit of the earth, where they will be at best useless and the worst problematic.

Reflecting 1.8% of the incident solar radiation may be enough to reduce global warming. MIT Sensible City

An armada of space bubbles parked at Lagrange Point

Instead, they should be installed at a Lagrange Point. These are very special points of space. They appear when one massive object orbits another, as the earth orbits the sun. In short, they are the point of equilibrium where the gravitational fields of the two bodies compensate for each other.

This Lagrange point thus behaves almost like a small invisible planet; A small object, such as a satellite, can then orbit around this point as it orbits a planet. This means that the object in question may be almost motionless in the case of two celestial objects that define these Lagrange points.

For each two-body system, like the Earth and the Sun, there are five different Lagrange points. In our case, there is the first one which is located precisely in the orbit of the earth, but on the other side of the sun; This is the point L3. The other two points (L4 and L5) are in the same orbit and form an equilateral triangle with L3.

Debianseed – Wikimedia Commons

To us, the two most interesting are certainly the two closest to Earth. Unlike the other three, they are not located in the orbit of the planet, but on both sides.

Point L2, about 1.5 million kilometers outside of orbit, plays a very important role in astronomy; This is where NASA decided to park the famous James Webb Space Telescope, which will unveil its first real-life scientific image on July 12.

The last, L1, is located at the same distance, but between the Earth and the Sun. So this is a perfect place to place this fun space sun visor, since this point L1 will always be located precisely between two space objects. So they can make it possible to block a significant portion of solar radiation.

An interesting, but very limited thought test

The researchers explain that this effect can be properly controlled; It is enough for these bubbles to burst at some distance to allow more particles to pass. “Bubbles can be intentionally destroyed by breaking their surface balance. This would completely reverse this solar geoengineering and significantly reduce the amount of debris,” the MIT team argues, although this claim seems somewhat skeptical.

Despite everything, this strange project still has several obvious limitations, starting with the logistics of the operation. MIT suggests that it would be more interesting to make a simple film, then make these spheres directly on the site. But at the moment it is more speculation than a plan based on already mature technology.

MIT Sensible City

And yet the most important question remains, as is the effectiveness of these bubbles in the long run. As it stands, the MIT concept seems to rely on a variety of plastics. However, these elements simply have the slightest chance of resisting impact with any other celestial object, even if it is microscopic.

Note that very recently, a micrometeorite was able to slightly damage a JWST mirror. However, they are specifically designed to withstand these effects. Suffice it to say that in the absence of a revolutionary element, it seems quite impossible to prevent these bubbles from ending up in the lint.

There are also questions about the “corpse” of these bubbles, which can block part of the solar radiation without the operator being able to control it. A big problem, since the whole concept is based on fairly fine control of the radiation reaching the earth.

Climate war on Earth, not in space

Fortunately, this is still the only thought test. The current climate situation is certainly problematic, but it is still not enough to justify wasting so much resources on such risky projects – especially since there are already technologies that can combat global warming.

The recent IPCC report reminds us that today it is more a question of will than a possibility. So I hope those concerned will be aware of this in the near future; Because if we reach a stage where our only option is such a project, it is probably already too late.

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