There May Be a Weird Way to Fight Climate Change

Weird

| LAST UPDATE 07/19/2022

By Stanley Wickens
climate change space bubbles
CHRISTOPH BURGSTEDT/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images

Climate change is still one of the biggest threats to our planet today. For decades, experts have been warning us of the "point of no return" that awaits us. For the past several years, researchers have been working with governments around the world to come up with a solution. A team of scientists from MIT recently proposed a rather bizarre idea to address the major issue of climate change: space bubbles.

The idea of using "space bubbles" to fight climate change is part of a plan scientists are exploring based on solar geoengineering. They explain that this method allows us to cool the Earth by reflecting solar radiation away from it. They've studied several techniques over the years, and one of the methods they've come up with involves injecting reflective aerosol particles into the upper atmosphere. These frozen bubbles, manufactured in space, would be made of thin-film material, and would make up a raft roughly the size of Brazil.

weird climate change bubbles
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However, there is one issue with this technique, which may cause problems in the case of any unforeseen negative consequences. This is because once the particles are released into the atmosphere, there's no way to recapture them. "Even our understanding of the climate change that we're causing unintentionally right now still has limitations, especially when it comes to impacts further into the future," Linda Schneider, an international climate policy expert, told Discover Magazine. "Our understanding of what would happen if we were to intentionally manipulate the climate at a global scale is even less."

However, it's worth a shot, according to these scientists - especially since the bubbles would be floating in space almost a million miles away from Earth. "Most geoengineering proposals are earth-bound, which poses tremendous risks to our living ecosystem," principal investigator Carlo Ratti, who heads up MIT's Senseable City Lab, told Dezeen. "Space-based solutions would be safer." So far, they've succeeded in producing a thin-film bubble at a pressure of 0.0028 atm, and have kept it at around -50°C. However, they maintain that this is just a proposal for now - a lot more research needs to be done to determine how these "space bubbles" will be created, positioned in space, and destroyed, if needed. Will we ever see the project come to life? Guess we'll have to wait and see - be sure to stay tuned!

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