Monday, February 26, 2024

Scientists with a new plan to cool the Earth by blocking the Sun

The “Giant Umbrella” will be deployed in space

Scientists are exploring an idea that could save our planet from global warming: placing a “giant umbrella” in space to block some of the Sun’s light.

The team is led by Israeli Technion Institute professor Yoram Rosen and is working on a scaled-down prototype, writes the New York Times.

For the idea to work, the space shield would have to span an area of roughly one million square miles, or about the size of Argentina. Because this is too large a structure to launch into space with a single rocket, Rosen and his team propose a scheme in which a swarm of smaller “umbrellas” are launched into space, where they will work in sync.

“We can show the world, ‘Look, there’s a solution that works, take it, scale it up,’” says Rosen.

If we block between one and two percent of our star’s radiation, we will neutralize the effects of global warming, scientists say. Deploying “umbrellas” in space may be cheaper in the long enough term than spraying aerosols into the atmosphere.

Last year, a team of scientists from Harvard and the University of Utah explored the idea of placing dust in a “Lagrange point” between the Sun and Earth to combat climate change.

Not everyone agrees with the idea. According to critics, deploying a “canopy” in space would be an incredibly expensive and unrealistic project, especially given the pace at which global warming is accelerating. In addition, the canvas will be exposed to impacts from micrometeors. It is not known how stable the structure will be. As for the swarm concept, it is more realistic, but again quite expensive.

Rosen and his team want to secure between $10 million and $20 million to build their prototype.

“We at the Technion Institute are not going to save the planet,” he told The New York Times. “But we will show that it can be done.”

Photo: Planetary Sunshade Foundation

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