Space Ring Latest Implausible Warming Solution
The journal Acta Astronautica has published what is probably the most outlandish suggestion yet to stop global warming on Earth - a planet-girdling ring of small particles or micro-spacecraft with reflective umbrellas.
The price tag? Oh, about $6 trillion to $200 trillion for the particle solution. Much less for spacecraft.
Scattering sunlight does work; when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the global climate cooled by about one degree. The ring could be positioned around the equator, cooling the tropics.
Of course, no idea is too outlandish for the imagination of science fiction writers like Stanislaw Lem. An artificial ring of ice was described in Stanislaw Lem's 1987 novel "Fiasco". In Lem's novel the ring was launched into space by the mysterious inhabitants of the planet Quinta for the purpose of lowering the level of the oceans to make more room on land. The ring mass is equal to about 1% of the planet's oceans. The endeavor fails probably due to political reasons before the ice can be accelerated to escape velocity. The ice remains in orbit casting a huge shadow while huge chunks of ice, slowed by the atmosphere return to the surface as a never ending torrent. Lem's protagonists speculate that the ring was launched by shooting lightning into the atmosphere creating a sort of rail gun made of air within which the ice was shot into orbit.
The ring, a flat disk with a hole that had a diameter of fifteen thousand kilometers, inside which spun the girdled planet, was made up of hunks of ice in the middle belts, but of polarized crystals of ice on the outer edges-and that, too, must have been by design. In a word, the ring was controlled in motion and shape from the very beginning; it was guided into the plane of the equator, that being stationary. But on the inside, above the equator, it became chaotic and formless...
Arthur C. Clarke also used the idea of a connected ring of satellites and space stations in his novel Fountains of Paradise:
Many of the synchronous
stations were already kilometres in extent, or linked by cables which stretched
along appreciable fractions of their orbit. To join them together, thus forming
a ring completely around the world, would be an engineering task much simpler
than the building of the Tower, and involving much less material.
No - not a ring - a wheel. This Tower was only the first spoke. There would
be others (four? six? a score?) spaced along the equator. When they were all
connected rigidly up there in orbit, the problems of stability that plagued a
single tower would vanish.
If this article hasn't slaked your thirst for imaginative space-based solutions to global warming, be sure to read about physicist/sf author Gregory Benford's Reduce Global Warming (with a giant space lens). And, since no one has bothered to think about the problem that this would create for all other spacecraft and satellites, be sure to read Terminator Tether - EDT solution to space debris. (We've got you covered here at Technovelgy.com!)
Read more at Space Ring Could Shade Earth. And thanks to alert reader Yossi Preminger for the tip and the quote. Thanks also to Fred Kiesche for the Clarke reference.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/29/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )
Related News Stories -
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...' - Jack Williamson, 1933.
Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
'That gives it complete isolation.' - David H. Keller, 1932.
Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.' - Hal Clement, 1956.
Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
'So Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'
Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'
Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'
TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'
Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'
Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'
Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!
Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories