Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunglasses for The Earth

National Geographic had a “big idea moment” in their August 2010 edition. I felt it was relevant to reiterate this topic as it touches on geoengineering and called for giving the Earth big sunglasses. This scientific, wacky idea sounds simple in theory with a goal of combating global warming by essentially making our world cooler. If we can’t reduce our reliance on fossil fuels fast enough, then this is one of many Plan B’s in our pocket.

The radical technique calls for shooting up (more like beaming up) tons of tiny particles, mostly sulfate, in the stratosphere. The mechanism for blasting up these sulfates soldiers could be planes, battleship guns, rockets and even balloons. This cloud of sulfate disks, thin as a Kleenex, would help to dim or reflect sunlight around the Earth by 2 percent, substantial enough to cool our planet.

You are probably thinking…yeah right? How is this possible?

When you crunch the numbers, this could be a mega shade about 60,000 miles long and about 1 million miles away from the Earth and 92 million miles from the Sun. With that much time and money, couldn’t we reduce our fossil fuel consumption, take our foot off the gas, and actually change our behaviors? Unfortunately, some believe that the recession is still to blame, which is why we haven’t made true progress toward this goal.

My philosophy: There are no mistakes; only lessons. I hear Arizona has sunny days and could use some cooling.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Never would have seen this without the new format. This is a very cool idea. I wonder if there's any potential to go overboard and how we'd end up cleaning up those particles if there came an instance where there were too many.