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Giant Sun’s solar shield reduces the amount of sunlight hitting Earth bound by an asteroid may help fight global warming

To help combat the effects of global warming, scientists have come up with an innovative idea to protect the Earth from the sun with a space “umbrella” of sorts. Astronomer Istvan Szapudi of the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy came up with an idea called a solar shield to reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth.

“In Hawaii, many use an umbrella to block sunlight when they walk around during the day,” Szapudi said in a statement. “I thought, could we do the same for Earth and mitigate the impending catastrophe of climate change?” he added.

In his paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Mr. Szapudi acknowledged that this is not the first time this idea of ​​shielding, or solar radiation management (SRM), has been proposed in space. However, he explained that what makes his creative approach different is the plan to tie a captured asteroid to the giant shield as a counterweight.

“Szapudi’s creative solution consists of two innovations: a tethered counterweight instead of just a massive shield, resulting in more than 100 times less total mass, and the use of a captured asteroid as a counterweight to prevent most of the mass from being ejected from Earth” said the press release.

Mr Szapudi started with the goal of reducing solar radiation by 1.7%, an estimate of the amount needed to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. According to a press release, the scientist found that placing the tethered counterweight toward the sun could reduce the mass of the shield and counterweights to about 3.5 million tons, about a hundred times lighter than previous estimates for an untethered shield.

“While this number is still far beyond current launch capabilities, only 1% of the mass about 35,000 tons would be the shield itself, and that’s the only part that needs to be launched from Earth,” the press release said. In other words, Mr. Szapudi’s plan is to launch a counterweight that will be attached to the sun shield with a strong graphene loop and then slowly open once it’s in space, allowing it to gradually fill with lunar dust or asteroid material.

The scientist believes that building and deploying such a tethered structure would be faster and cheaper than other shield designs. However, some of the largest rockets can carry about 50 tons into low Earth orbit, which poses a major challenge for this particular SRM plan. The development of a light but strong graphene cable connecting the shield to the counterweight is also essential, the press release states.

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