Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe that we can mitigate the worst of climate change with space bubbles. They believe that a large raft of bubbles, carefully positioned between Earth and the Sun, would deflect sunlight (and thus heat) to stop further global warming.
“Geoengineering might be our final and only option. Yet, most geoengineering proposals are earth-bound, which poses tremendous risks to our living ecosystem,” a web page dedicated to the solution reads. “If we deflect 1.8% of incident solar radiation before it hits our planet, we could fully reverse today’s global warming.”
The bubble array would be made of inflatable shields of thin silicon or another suitable material, according to the team. The bubble cluster would be placed in outer space at a Lagrange Point, where the Sun’s and Earth’s gravitational pulls create a stable orbit.
The main issue would be making a large film, transporting it into space, and then unfolding it to form the bubble raft. They have proposed fabricating the spheres in outer space to reduce shipping costs.
“[The] bubbles can be intentionally destroyed by breaking their surface equilibrium, this would make the solar geoengineering solution fully reversible and significantly reduce space debris,” the MIT researchers wrote in a statement.
“Effective replenishment rate will be studied to ensure the shield maintains its size, together with strategies to guarantee a smooth end-of-life transition.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we only have a jarring three-year deadline to minimize our emissions and stop climate disasters. Our current fossil fuel infrastructure is sufficient to push us over that edge, and we can avoid that by keeping the oil in the ground and working to decarbonize our systems.
People in the U.S. are already suffering the consequences of years of emissions and the time is too short to shoot our shots in space but anything and everything is needed right now.