Scientists propose to fight global warming by attaching an umbrella to an asteroid

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Summarize this content to 100 words Mitigating the consequences of the Earth’s climate change is such a serious task that scientists are seriously studying all possible options. Astronomer Istvan Sapudi of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy thinks we could catch an asteroid, “park” it near Earth, and tie an umbrella to it to block some of the sunlight. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The idea of ​​a solar shield is not new. But the changes made to Sapuda will allow to significantly reduce the cost and complexity of its implementation, which brings it one step closer to being feasible.”In Hawaii, many people use an umbrella to block the sunlight when they are walking during the day,” he explains. – I thought, why don’t we do the same for the Earth and thereby mitigate the impending catastrophe associated with climate change?The idea of ​​creating a solar shield is not devoid of meaning. If it blocked only a small percentage of the sunlight that constantly irradiates the Earth, this would be enough to counteract the increase in temperature; maybe not an absolute solution, but a temporary measure that will give us some time to work on the problems here on the surface.The problem is that the sail would need to have enough mass as ballast to keep it from being blown away by the solar wind and radiation pressure, as well as to provide gravitational stability, and getting that mass into space would be difficult and expensive. However, what if the mass is already there? This is where the possibility of capturing an asteroid and tying an umbrella to it arises. Sapudi calculated that placing the counterweight toward the Sun in the L1 Lagrangian would reduce the total mass of the shield and counterweight to just 3.5 million tons.The Lagrange point L1 is a point of relative gravitational stability resulting from the interaction of the Earth and the Sun. The gravitational pull of the two bodies is balanced at these Lagrangian points, which minimizes the number of corrections needed to stay at that point.Each two-body system has five Lagrange points; the L1 point is directly between the Earth and the Sun – an ideal place to install a solar shield.3.5 million tons may seem like a lot of mass, but it is about 100 times less than previously estimated for a shield without an “anchor”. And only 1% of this mass will make up the actual shield – about 35,000 tons. The rest of the mass will be provided by an asteroid.However, the problem is that the carrying capacity of modern rockets does not approach such indicators. The record holder is the Saturn V rocket, which during the Apollo mission launched a cargo weighing 140 tons into low Earth orbit. SpaceX’s spaceship giant is currently at the forefront of technology capabilities. But even it has a maximum carrying capacity of only 250 tons.However, this idea may turn out to be more feasible than previously thought. NASA has shown that we can redirect an asteroid. A lot of work still needs to be done, but Sapudi believes that if research and development starts now, it may be possible to realize this idea before it is too late for the climate. There are other potential benefits.While blocking about 1-2% of sunlight is estimated to be enough to cool the planet, Sapudi says that “a more cautious approach involves using historical data.” Thus, Sapudi’s idea should be scalable, and allow adjusting the dimming from 0.24 to 1.7%. In addition, it should be easily reversible.”Depending on the parallel and interconnected development of graphene, cable, and orbital technologies, an initially tethered shield may be faster and cheaper to implement than a heavier design,” he writes in his paper.

Scientists propose to fight global warming by attaching an umbrella to an asteroid

Mitigating the consequences of the Earth’s climate change is such a serious task that scientists are seriously studying all possible options. Astronomer Istvan Sapudi of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy thinks we could catch an asteroid, “park” it near Earth, and tie an umbrella to it to block some of the sunlight. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The idea of ​​a solar shield is not new. But the changes made to Sapuda will allow to significantly reduce the cost and complexity of its implementation, which brings it one step closer to being feasible.

“In Hawaii, many people use an umbrella to block the sunlight when they are walking during the day,” he explains. – I thought, why don’t we do the same for the Earth and thereby mitigate the impending catastrophe associated with climate change?

The idea of ​​creating a solar shield is not devoid of meaning. If it blocked only a small percentage of the sunlight that constantly irradiates the Earth, this would be enough to counteract the increase in temperature; maybe not an absolute solution, but a temporary measure that will give us some time to work on the problems here on the surface.

The problem is that the sail would need to have enough mass as ballast to keep it from being blown away by the solar wind and radiation pressure, as well as to provide gravitational stability, and getting that mass into space would be difficult and expensive. However, what if the mass is already there? This is where the possibility of capturing an asteroid and tying an umbrella to it arises. Sapudi calculated that placing the counterweight toward the Sun in the L1 Lagrangian would reduce the total mass of the shield and counterweight to just 3.5 million tons.

The Lagrange point L1 is a point of relative gravitational stability resulting from the interaction of the Earth and the Sun. The gravitational pull of the two bodies is balanced at these Lagrangian points, which minimizes the number of corrections needed to stay at that point.

Each two-body system has five Lagrange points; the L1 point is directly between the Earth and the Sun – an ideal place to install a solar shield.

3.5 million tons may seem like a lot of mass, but it is about 100 times less than previously estimated for a shield without an “anchor”. And only 1% of this mass will make up the actual shield – about 35,000 tons. The rest of the mass will be provided by an asteroid.

However, the problem is that the carrying capacity of modern rockets does not approach such indicators. The record holder is the Saturn V rocket, which during the Apollo mission launched a cargo weighing 140 tons into low Earth orbit. SpaceX’s spaceship giant is currently at the forefront of technology capabilities. But even it has a maximum carrying capacity of only 250 tons.

However, this idea may turn out to be more feasible than previously thought. NASA has shown that we can redirect an asteroid. A lot of work still needs to be done, but Sapudi believes that if research and development starts now, it may be possible to realize this idea before it is too late for the climate. There are other potential benefits.

While blocking about 1-2% of sunlight is estimated to be enough to cool the planet, Sapudi says that “a more cautious approach involves using historical data.” Thus, Sapudi’s idea should be scalable, and allow adjusting the dimming from 0.24 to 1.7%. In addition, it should be easily reversible.

“Depending on the parallel and interconnected development of graphene, cable, and orbital technologies, an initially tethered shield may be faster and cheaper to implement than a heavier design,” he writes in his paper.

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