Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A backup plan for Global Warming?

Well, we're hearing about the effects of global warming, and they are just around the corner. One would wonder if it would be possible, even now, to curb these. Luckily, Roger Angel, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, thought of a short-term solution to buy us time.

The basic idea is to launch giant discs to shield Earth from the Sun's rays. The basic idea is illustrated here:


These discs basically refract light from the sun so that it misses the Earth (shown by the unfocused stars). Giant mirrors would exactly be the best idea because the Sun's radiation still has energy, and after a long enough time, will move the discs out of place. Refracting is less affected by this phenomenon than reflecting.

So, what's the cost of this? A measley $5 trillion. Ok, the sticker shock might seem a bit severe, but this is expected to work for 50 years, a pretty long time, which amounts to $100 billion a year, which is not that much, globally. Only .2% of global GDP. I think the future is worth it.

1 comment:

Jim said...

The problem:

How do we ever study astronomy on earth?