Asteroid with umbrella to protect Earth from global warming

Scientists propose to fight global warming with the help of a huge “umbrella” that will be placed at the L1 Lagrange point. To stabilize it, it is proposed to tie it to a small asteroid.

Asteroid with umbrella. Source: Brooks Bays/UH Institute for Astronomy

Giant screen to protect the Earth

Scientists from the University of Hawaii have proposed a solution to the problem of global warming using a space screen and an asteroid. István Szapudi, an astronomer from this scientific center, has drawn attention to the fact that although the climate on our planet is changing due to greenhouse gas emissions, they are not the source of heat that heats it.

Almost all the heat that the Earth receives comes from the sun. Greenhouse gases only keep it in the atmosphere, which causes heating and destabilization of the climate. Therefore, Szapudi proposed to reduce the amount of heat coming from a huge screen located in space.

This giant umbrella is planned to be placed at the L1 Lagrange point. It is located between the Earth and the Sun, where the gravitational forces of these two celestial bodies are balanced. Scientists have calculated that a sufficiently large shield will be able to reduce the flow of light to the Earth by 1.7 percent, which will be enough to compensate for the growing greenhouse effect.

Asteroid with umbrella

The idea of placing a screen in space that would delay some of the Sun’s rays is far from new. And its placement at point L1 has already been proposed. However, only Szapudi noticed that at this point the screen will constantly be under the influence of the solar wind, which will act on it like a sail, that is, it will always try to move it from its place.

So the shield must weigh millions of tons. However, such a situation can be prevented. To do this, it is enough to make an “asteroid with an umbrella”, that is, attach this screen to a cosmic body that will be placed at the Lagrange point.

In this case, the asteroid will play the role of a counterweight that will not allow the shield to fly into space. In this case, it can be made much easier: only 35 thousand tons. However, even this weight is still unattainable for modern technologies.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time scientists have proposed large-scale space ideas like the space elevator or the Dyson sphere. An asteroid with an umbrella looks grandiose and tempting, but so far our possibilities of lifting cargo into orbit are limited to tens of tons, so anything weighing more than 1,000 tons is fundamentally impossible to implement.

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