We could solve the climate crisis by mining lunar dust and using it to create a ‘sun shield’ around Earth, 3 astrophysicists theorize

This photo, taken on February 5, 2023, shows the full moon rising next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

This photo, taken on February 5, 2023, shows the full moon rising next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.STEFANO RELLANDINI/AFP via Getty Images

  • Three astrophysicists discovered that the moon’s dust is just the right size to block the sun’s rays.

  • They say humans could shoot 11 million tons of lunar dust into space to create a sun shield.

  • But they added that their solution should not distract from efforts to reduce emissions.

Three astrophysicists have an otherworldly solution to the climate crisis: get dust off the moon and use it to build a shield around the earth that blocks the sun’s rays.

Researchers Benjamin Bromley, Sameer Khan and Scott Kenyon say they’ve found that dust particles from the moon may be just the right size to scatter sunlight, according to a paper published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS.

The three researchers theorize that humans could eject lunar dust extracted from the moon into space and allow it to settle a million miles from Earth’s orbit.

If done correctly, this hypothetical solution would obscure the sun’s rays by 1.8% — or about six days of sunlight per year — and lower Earth’s temperature, Bromley, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Utah, theorized. and his team.

Humans would need about 11 million tons of lunar dust to create a sufficiently effective “sunscreen,” the researchers estimate.

Part of the plan would be to launch the dust from the lunar surface, rather than from Earth, because it would take much less energy to eject the lunar dust from there, the team wrote.

“Once dust is released, its only effect is to obscure the Earth. Otherwise, it will no longer interact with our planet,” Bromley and his team wrote.

That means the dust shield would have no impact on Earth’s atmosphere, compared to many other Earth-based climate change strategies, they wrote.

However, the grains of moon dust would eventually begin to drift out of position, and humans would have to keep firing bursts of moon dust to replenish the shield’s power, the scientists wrote.

Bromley, the project’s lead researcher, told The Guardian that his team’s idea should not divert attention from the primary climate goal of reducing emissions to prevent the planet from warming.

“Nothing should distract us from reducing greenhouse gas emissions here on Earth,” he said, according to The Guardian. “Our strategy may be a moonshot, but we need to explore all possibilities, in case we need more time to do the work here at home.”

Frank Biermann, professor of Global Sustainability Governance at Utrecht University, told The Guardian that he thinks “moon mining is not the answer we need.”

“The idea of ​​mining the moon or near-Earth asteroids to artificially block parts of the sunlight is not a solution to the ongoing and intensifying climate crisis,” he told The Guardian.

Exploring ways to divert the sun’s rays is not new to climate research. In 2022, the White House launched a five-year plan to assess options with “solar and other rapid climate interventions” to deal with the crisis.

A group of researchers at Harvard has also studied the effectiveness of spraying small particles into the stratosphere to reflect the sun’s rays and reduce the impact of global warming. The project, known as SCoPEx, has the financial backing of Bill Gates.

Bromley did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Insider

Leave a Comment