Scientists suggest launching lunar dust into space to solve the climate crisis

WTF?! In what sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie, researchers have proposed a potential solution to the climate crisis: create a shield around the Earth by blasting moon-mined dust into space with a railgun.

The wild concept was put forward by a group of astrophysicists in a study published on Wednesday in PLOS Climate. Benjamin Bromley, Sameer Khan, and Scott Kenyon suggested that a solar shield could be created to reflect the sun’s rays from the Earth.

Coal and sea salt were considered materials that could be used in a shield, helping to darken the sun by as much as 2%, or about six days of sunshine a year, thus lowering the Earth’s temperature. But lunar dust turned out to be an ideal candidate because it’s just the right size and composition to efficiently scatter sunlight from our planet, Bromley said.

Another advantage of lunar dust is that it would take far less energy to launch from the Moon’s surface than to launch from Earth, although it would still require about 22 billion pounds of dust to be mined and loaded into a ballistic device such as a ballistic device. rail gun and fired. This will need to be done regularly to maintain protection as the dust will slowly dissipate. Abrupt cessation of Earth’s cooling could trigger a “cessation shock” in which the planet heats up rapidly. The keeper.

“Once the dust is released, its only effect is to obscure the Earth. Otherwise, it will no longer interact with our planet,” the team wrote.

Such a project would be a logistical nightmare and, of course, incredibly expensive, and could also require a new space station to be placed at the L1 Lagrange point, a position between the Earth and the Sun, in order to “redirect dust packets into orbits that could provide shade for as long as possible” . This will act as “a finely tuned dimmer that leaves our planet untouched,” Bromley said.

This is not the first time someone has proposed using a physical object in space to solve global warming. A 1,250-mile glass shield, trillions of spaceships with umbrella-shaped shields shaking dust off an asteroid, a raft of thin-film silicon bubbles, and space mirrors are some of the other space offerings. There was also a space shield in gloriously terrible Highlander 2.

Both the researchers behind the proposal and others warn that the top priority in addressing climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Nothing should distract us from cutting greenhouse gas emissions here on Earth,” Bromley said. “Our strategy may just be a moonshot, but we should explore all possibilities in case we need more time to get the job done here at home.”

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