Lunar dust to fight climate change

Lunar dust to fight climate change


A study led by scientists from the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Utah, published in the journal More Climatehave verified through computer simulations that lunar dust could be used as a shield to mitigate the effects of the global warming.

Scientists have determined that if a small amount of lunar dust is collected and placed in a space orbit between the Earth and the Sun, it could block 1.2% of solar radiation using only a small amount of mass. The shadow that would be created using this technique would reduce heat waves and excessively high temperatures, in addition to making the Earth’s intense rains less frequent.

To achieve this objective, scientists consider that it is necessary to install a cannon that launches lunar dust from a space station located between the Earth and the Sun. In this way, the Earth partially protects itself from the enormous climatic variations that occur in the world. However, the scientists state that the study does not assess whether the described scenarios are logistically feasible, as they have only investigated what the potential impact would be when applying this strategy.

What is moon dust?

Lunar dust is the dust found on the surface of the Moon. Bombardments of micro meteorites throughout the history of the Universe have created a layer of dust on the lunar soil.

The facts you should know about lunar dust are:

Damage space suits

Lunar dust is very corrosive and sticky, a fact that the Apollo 17 astronauts could live in situ.

it’s magnetic

Each particle of lunar dust is covered in a layer of glass. Magnets can be used to filter it out of the air.

it’s glass

It is made up of very fine particles of silicon dioxide. The meteorites that have impacted on the moon throughout the history of the Universe were responsible for creating lunar dust.

Astronauts have smelled, tasted and touched it

Since the curiosity of science is infinite, the Apollo 17 astronauts smelled, tasted and touched lunar dust, which tastes very similar to gunpowder.

should not breathe

Prolonged exposure to lunar dust can seriously damage our lungs.

polvo lunar FREEPIK

How was this idea created?

The team of American scientists applied a technique to carry out their simulations to the concept of lunar dust. This technique studies the formation of planets that take place around distant stars.

Ben Bromley, a scientist at the University of Utah, details how this idea came about:

That was the seed of the idea: if we take a small amount of material, put it in a space orbit that is situated between the Earth and the Sun, and break it up, we could block out a large amount of sunlight that contains a small amount of mass.Ben Bromley

According to the scientists, the simulations when applying this technique have given rise to two possible scenarios:

  1. In the first scenario, they found that the dust they ejected with pinpoint precision followed a well-defined path between Earth and the Sun, creating the shadow that could mitigate global warming for a set amount of time.
  2. In the second scenario, the scientists found that by throwing lunar dust from a platform on the Moon’s surface towards the Sun, its properties have the ability to act as if it were a sunshade.

Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, was not involved in this study but has her thoughts on it:

The calculations are carefully studied and the results regarding the Earth’s energy balance seem solid. However, in terms of global warming mitigation, there is a fundamental problem with the concept behind this type of global geoengineering.Joanna Haigh

And adds:

Perhaps the main problem is the suggestion that implementing these plans will solve the climate crisis, when all it does is give polluters an excuse not to act.Joanna Haigh

Global warming will reach the limit of 1.5 °C

As predicted by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) calculator, global warming will reach the limit of 1.5°C in February 2035. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has recently reported that the year 2022 it has been the second warmest year in Europe and the fifth warmest year globally on record.

Temperature records have been broken, not only by country, but globally it has been the eighth consecutive year in which the world average temperature has been exceeded by 1 °C. According to the experts, this is a very alarming fact, where they also point out that the forecasts for this summer will continue on the same path since the temperatures will continue to rise.

Sources: Editorial Ambientum, SINC Agency

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Written by Editor TLN

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