Could the Moon help us stop global warming?

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As greenhouse gas emitted from human activities accumulates in the atmosphere, the atmosphere traps more and more energy from the Sun, gradually increasing the temperature of the Earth. One strategy to reverse this trend is to intercept some of the sunlight before it reaches the lower atmosphere and the surface.

For decades, the scientific community has debated ideas about the possible use of artificial structures such as gigantic sunshades in orbit around the Earth to block a sufficient amount of solar radiation (between 1 and 2 percent) in order to mitigate the effects of the sun. Global warming effects. Strategies tending to spread at high altitude through the Earth’s atmosphere some type of dust that performs the same job of intercepting solar radiation have also been investigated. Projects of the first type require a technological level and an economic investment that is too high. Those of the second type face opposition from a sector of the scientific community and society in general, which consider them too dangerous due to their potential to unduly influence other climatic and chemical aspects of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Now a new study has explored the potential of using dust in space, rather than in the atmosphere, to intercept solar radiation.

The research has been carried out by a team from the University of Utah as well as from the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) dependent on Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institute, all of these entities in the United States.

A relatively small amount of dust can block a lot of sunlight if it occupies a suitable orbit and spreads just the right amount.

Scott Kenyon, Ben Bromley, and Sameer H. Khan have determined what kinds of dust would be best, what amounts would be most appropriate, and what orbits would be most effective, for shading Earth from space. The team concluded that blasting dust from Earth towards a space station at a Lagrange point between Earth and the Sun would be most efficient, but would require astronomical cost and effort.

Therefore, Kenyon, Bromley and Khan believe that a more feasible alternative is to use lunar dust. Launching this dust from the Moon could be a cheap and effective way to shade the Earth.

It turns out that the properties of lunar dust are perfect for a cloud or trail of that dust to function effectively as a sunshade.

The dust trail would occupy a suitable orbital fringe from which it would intercept a significant part of the Sun’s radiation sent towards Earth. (Image: Ben Bromley / University of Utah. CC BY-NC)

The dust trail should be maintained with periodic shipments of lunar dust, since solar radiation naturally disperses dust particles throughout the solar system. Although this is inconvenient from a logistical point of view, it is an advantage for the safety of our planet, by making it impossible for lunar dust to fall in large quantities to Earth and also by making it impossible for the presence of the dust at the location from the that acts as a sunshade is perpetuated and ends up having cumulative effects, causing a permanent glaciation of the Earth.

The study is titled “Dust as a solar shield”. And it has been published in the academic journal PLOS Climate. (Fountain: NCYT by Amazings)

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Written by Editor TLN

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