MIT believes it has the solution to curb global warming that has become uncontrollable

Geoengineering is the category of technology that embraces ideas that aim to consciously change our climate. For the purpose of limiting global warming. “What could we do … if we do not continue to do something”joked David Keith, physicist at Harvard University (USA), on the occasion of a TedEx conference in 2007.

All kinds of technologies fall into this category. The technologies of collection and storage or recovery of carbon dioxide (CO2), e.g. In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announces that we are no longer able to do without it. If we still hope to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C.

But geoengineering is also about other technologies that are a little more controversial. Because they aim to change our climate quickly and on a large scale, without always being assured of acceptance of the side effects. Like the technologies that somehow aim “to intervene at the source”to play on the solar radiation that the Earth receives.

This is what a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA). The idea: send the bubbles out into space to divert some of the rays from Sun that hit our planet. Because researchers estimate that deflection of only 1.8% of solar radiation may be enough to reverse global warming.

In case the weather gets out of hand

Specifically, the researchers plan to insert a real number of bubbles the size of Brazil. All on the side of the Lagrange point L1. The point in space between the Earth and the Sun where the gravity of the two bodies cancels each other. The optimal position could actually be a little bit closer to our sun, and a stabilization mechanism for the fleet – possibly based on the fleet’s geometry – would then be necessary.

The envelopes of these space bubbles could be made of a thin layer of silicon or a material reinforced with graph. It remains to be decided. Researchers have already launched a series of tests. To find out if it is possible to inflate silicon bubbles under conditions similar to those prevailing in space. Under one pressure about 0.0028 atmosphere only and at a temperature of approx. -50 ° C. However, further studies are needed to be sure of choosing the right material and to determine the ideal thickness of the envelope for these space bubbles.

The technology needed to inflate them into space is also still evolving. Like the one who manages to send the bubbles into space. Why not, a kind of magnetic accelerator?

According to the researchers, the great advantage of their project is that this series of space bubbles does not directly disturb terrestrial ecosystems. And should therefore pose less risk to our planet. But this needs to be verified. This raft could also very easily be destroyed – which from another point of view raises the question of its sustainability, because researchers estimate that it may be useful for 50 to 200 years – when it has become redundant – or if it turns out to have unexpected side effects. All without generating space debris too important. And even gradually to avoid a too violent shock for our Planet and its inhabitants.

But before such a raft can float in space, much work will still be needed. Work that MIT researchers believe is necessary to begin. To be ready if our climate gets out of control. For they also remind us that such a project can in no way replace the efforts to limit our emissions of greenhouse gas and adaptation to global warming.

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