In an astro-engineering approach to climate change mitigation, researchers calculate how dust could be fired from the Moon into space to attentuate the Sun’s rays.
Article URL: https://journals.plos.org/climate/article?id=10.1371/journal.pclm.0000133
Article Title: Dust as a solar shield
Author Countries: USA
Funding: The University of Utah Office of Undergraduate Research provided a stipend to co-author SHK through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (http://our.utah.edu/research-scholarship-opportunities/urop/). The funder(s) had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Dust as a solar shield
ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE
The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
We revisit dust placed near the Earth–Sun L1 Lagrange point as a possible climate-change mitigation measure. Our calculations include variations in grain properties and orbit solutions with lunar and planetary perturbations. To achieve sunlight attenuation of 1.8%, equivalent to about 6 days per year of an obscured Sun, the mass of dust in the scenarios we consider must exceed 1010 kg. The more promising approaches include using high-porosity, fluffy grains to increase the extinction efficiency per unit mass, and launching this material in directed jets from a platform orbiting at L1. A simpler approach is to ballistically eject dust grains from the Moon’s surface on a free trajectory toward L1, providing sun shade for several days or more. Advantages compared to an Earth launch include a ready reservoir of dust on the lunar surface and less kinetic energy required to achieve a sun-shielding orbit.
One problem that immediately comes to mind. This dust, especially when it’s in sunlight, is going to be a lot warmer than the background value of something like 3K. As a result, the dust is going to be radiating heat to the earth. I suspect that the heat radiated will be equal to, if not greater than, any shading affect.
The “you can’t fix stupid” phrase comes to mind.
Dust would be held in moon’s orbit by its gravity and be effective only during new moon. Even small spec of dust can cause considerable damage to any space craft going there, clouds of floating dust would make moon’s local orbit impenetrable to any humans for millennia to come.
Lunar solutions by lunatics, more asylums needed.
The problem that easily comes to mind, is there is no problem with CO2
exactly they put forward all these hair ball schemes so you focus on the little errors rather than the big lie that co2 is a problem
This plan has nothing to do with CO2, in fact, it allows for more CO2, because now they can claim that increased CO2 is acceptable because they can cool the earth no matter how high CO2 rises.
Like a tin roof on a hot summers day.
And I wonder what astronomers would think about polluting the night sky.
They are not bothering to ask if it is actually too warm, or is more warming would be a good outcome.
Frost Fairs on the River Thames sound so charming though.
Year without a summer, might not be so nice.
It’s been a mild winter here in Wokachusetts and I see nobody complaining about it!
Same here in That Windy City.
Dust in the solar wind…
Beat me to the punch.
Wow. I can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong.
When I heard someone is selling shares in an astroid-mining venture, I had a sudden vision of St. John’s apocalypse, “mountain of fire ” from the sky and so on, and I realised: Eskatologists are on the lookout for comets and asteroids, instead it’s going to be some jerk on anti-psychotics steering something closer to earth, and losing control, incinerating millions of people. The company will probably receive a serious reprimand, maybe even a heavy fine of $10 000. Which they’ll never pay…
Putting objects into orbit is still very expensive.
Which is why they will try bring their asteroids closer to earth, saving transport costs.
In a world where the ‘casting couch’ is now the preferred interview method for anything from pre-primary teachers to ministers of defense, it won’t be long before someone decides it would be easier to park that asteroid right off the coast of Kansas. You will see it, standing on Dodge City beach.
Can it be reversed when something goes wrong? No? Then bad idea…
The Sun is the biggest vacuum cleaner in our solar system. Shoot dust at the sun and eventually it will be sucked in. it’s just silliness.
The dust is not being shot at the sun.
Solar winds would blow it away, not inward.
Can it be reversed when something goes wrong? No? Then bad idea…
So you think that otherwise it’s a good idea?
It’s is an idea that is entirely without merit.
I agree with you and JC probably does too. But I expect that JC is short of time and simply chose to point out the first (worst) thing that came to mind. FWIW, I think that the likelihood that it will push Earth into the next ice age is quite catastrophic enough. We don’t have a planet B, so we shouldn’t experiment with the one we have.
Colonising and raping the Moon’s pristine environment? Is there nothing that white men will not ruin?
These guys want to dump treated mine wastes into the ocean to “lower the acidity” and suck up CO2.
On a similar note: Phosphates were banned for use in clothes washing detergent by the US government.
The Lake Mead fishery began to lose fish, no algae, no small fish, no bigger fish.
SO UNLV did an experiment where they dumped a bunch of phosphates in the Overton arm to fertilize the lake.
It did help, for a while.
Since that time, Las Vegas and the the valley has increased in population so much that the treated effluent from the multiple waste water treatment plants now provide the fertilizer to support the fishery.
As to the dust, what will be the hazard to all the satellites from impacts?
Will the accumulated impacts cause a waste of maneuvering rocket fuel to keep them aloft?
They ARE liberal fanatics, so that is just another problem for them to fix later.
If they are shooting it at the sunward Lagrange point (L1?), then it’s nowhere near any satellites.
Yep, and it will all stay just where they put it.
Sounds like a perfect plan.
More absurd speculative science fiction.
Geez I need to get into this speculative fiction writing business from the opposite pole. The only problem is I wouldn’t be solving false problems or scaring people, so no one would care.
Are there still people believing that man made global warming is real ?
Global cooling is coming.
Lunacy. Is the word I was looking for.
‘Luna’ is = Moon after all so you’re absolutely correct
Surely Shirley, wouldn’t the solar wind just blow it all away – like a giant comet’s tail? Might be quite pretty
Dust is of course the key to climate.
To cool the planet and warm it up at the same time, do something to reduce the high day-time temperatures of the deserts but also increase their heat holding capacity.
So you cool the desert days and warm the desert nights.
And coz deserts cover a huuuuuge area, that will have huuuuge effect on Global Average Temperature
And simple enough, persuade something to grow there. Cellulose and Lignin have massive affinity for water so that’ll give you the heat storage….
How to get the Cellulose and Lignin ‘on-site’ though?
Hmmmmm, what is the chemical make-up of Moon Dust, is it anything similar to Basalt?
Maybe we don’t need bother with Luna after all. Maybe all we need to fix the climate is right under our noses.
Some time after the fetching of moon rocks, some moon dust, perhaps from grinding up moon rocks, was mixed with earth soil in an experimental garden. The results were reported as amazing growth.
These fools claim to be trying to save the planet, but in reality they are going to kill us all by accelerating the onset of the next ice age.
For those in Rio Linda, that’s 10 billion kilograms, or 22 billion pounds. To achieve this we would have to build spacecraft which could go to the moon, scoop up or crush into dust 22 billion pounds of moon rocks, then lift that off the moon to reach Lagrange point 1. Lunar gravity is about 1/6 that of earth’s so it would be like lifting roughly 3.6 billion pounds into earth orbit (actually less as there is no air resistance to overcome). I suspect this exceeds the total mass of all objects put into orbit since Sputnik.
As a rough comparison, the Saturn-V rocket can lift 140,000 kg (310,000 lb) into low earth orbit or 43,500 kg (95,900 lb) into trans-lunar injection. Thus it would take 714,286 Saturn-V launches to lift 10 billion kilograms into low-earth orbit or 2,298,850 launches to lift the same mass into trans-lunar injection. Dividing by 6 for lower lunar gravity we get 383,141 launches from the moon surface.
Ah, but to launch them, you first need to get those rockets plus all their fuel to the moon. And all that mass has to be lifted from earth. Let’s see, at total weight up to 6,537,000 kg it would take 150,276 launches to lift the equivalent of a single fully-fueled Saturn-V rocket into trans-lunar injection.
This surely sets a record for the highest-cost global warming mitigation proposal ever. Not to mention all the greenhouse gasses emitted in the process.
Those are very dirty numbers you use there, do you eat with that mouth?
…and what filthy mind would calculate the carbon we burn while we are saving the planet!!!
Geeze,these heretics are becoming very nit-pickety
“so it would be like” Are you using the method proposed by authors?
Well there is about two weeks of undiminished sunlight to tap for power every month. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress explained the means for getting rocks up and off the Lunar surface.
It’s been a VERY long time since I heard that book referenced.
No wonder the word lunatic evolved.
…The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
and everyday the paperboy brings more…
They probably are on the grass as well as in the Hall(s of Congress).
But I was told the sun has nothing to do with climate.
By the renowned climate scientologist and anagram Gavin A Schmidt IIRC..
No indeed: it is The Sun wot does it.
Brings new meaning to A. C. Clarke’s “A Fall of Moondust.” Great novel, by the way.
I was actually thinking The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a more relevant book. Any nation or group that could launch 10 million tons of lunar material to L1 could easily drop rocks on earth instead. Climate change would be the least of our worries.
On the up side to get the capability to do this we would have to solve a whole bunch of problems that would make the whole debate moot.
Since the only actual climate danger always has been and always will be global cooling, this is a very bad idea.
I hope that Javier will comment on this one.
CO2 is not the control knob for earth’s temperature, the earth is not going to reach a tipping point and face run away heating. These people are dumb as rocks and need to be severely punished for wasting our time and money. This nonsense has to stop.
Anyone ever read “Fallen Angels” by Larry Niven. It’s tough being Cassandra.
I read that book decades ago. Prescient?
now the astro-engineers are getting in on the funding action- after all, gotta save the planet!
Exactly what I thought. Think up something ridiculous and then start pounding the government bureaucrats for study money to begin in depth analysis. We are fast approaching the time when the debt limit will be the least of our problems. People will begin to stop buying government debt regardless of what we set the limit at.
Lunacy!!!! Actual lunacy!!!!
There seems to be an infinite number of ways to waste taxpayer dollars.
What could possibly go wrong here?
The 1955 film “Rebel Without a Cause” with James Dean had in German speaking countries the title “Denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun”, what translated means “For they know not what they do”.
That’s what comes to my mind reading the BS about moon dust.
This lunacy has to stop, for the sake of humanity. It is driven by a small number of very rich psychopaths/sociopaths who are (a) creaming vast amounts of money from government subsidies and mandates for renewable energy, and/or (b) exploiting fear of climate change to increase their power over others. The first of these was Maurice Strong, who fortunately was exposed before he could put all his ideas into operation and fled to China where I believe he has since died. Unfortunately, he got the ball rolling and others have taken up his ideas, assisted by a vast number of useful idiots.
Now, about this geo-engineering lunacy:
The whole problem is political, dressed as science. I suspect that it can only be fixed politically. In every western democracy, voters need to turn to whoever will stand up to the lunacy. Such politicians are hard to find in many countries, but hopefully many will come forward in the next year or two. They are certainly needed.
People need to take action for themselves. Torches and pitchforks, anyone?
So true – and I see that tonight there is a program on British TV on Bill Gates. Asking the question (honest, I’m not lying), “Is Bill Gates a modern saint?”!
Never underestimate the usefulness of useful idiots to those intent on imposing their own idiotic agendas on the rest of us. Just look at Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and equivalent organisations elsewhere…
Not content with wasting current resources on a worthless scam, they’re plotting to spend trillions more of future generations’ dollars on this boondoggle.
Help me, when will I wake up from all this madness? I assume they modelled the process…aargh!!They’ll need a pretty big vacuum cleaner if they got it wrong.
A plan to be held in reserve for about a billion years.
Their problem is the market. To get such a story published in the old fashion way they first need to convince a publisher that their story will sell, then it actually has to sell once the book hits the shelves, then maybe they get some money. This way they just have to convince a clueless grant administrator.
A better use of moondust is to bring it down to earth and extract the helium 3. The helium 3 can be used in a special fusion reactor that is safe and efficient. This would provide clean energy for thousands of years.
If even a small percentage of this dust lingers near lunar orbit couldn’t it pose a debris problem for spacecraft traveling at a couple thousand miles per hour?
Reading these objections to putting extra dust anywhere near the Earth, suggests to me that any really ambitious solar power satellite schemes or comparable space colony schemes could also create unacceptable risks to our planet. Think of the effects, if really large satellites might be diverted to burn up in the atmosphere, or if heavily radiation shielded space stations, massing maybe a million tonnes or more per station, could possibly fall on us as well!
If really heavy asteroid material use, say, is to be possible and beneficial, it would maybe help to do such things well away from our planet? The orbital space around planet Venus comes to mind here, as a possible future industrial “ring” of accumulated material. For instance, imagine bringing in chunks of asteroid material, and using Venus’ heavy atmosphere for aerobraking such chunks into a stable orbit. In such a situation, were anyone to deliberately, or inadvertently, divert something heavy our way, at least we’d have a planetary situation far enough away from the Earth to allow a timely response.
Anyway, maybe that’s a somewhat different topic from moon dust ‘sunshades’. I’m just trying here for a ‘mega engineering’ idea that might be worth pursuing at some point (as opposed to the patently silly idea of throwing a bunch of moon dust around).
Why not use nukes to blow up the moon into dust and rubble and be done with it? Make dust, not war!
This is Bond-villian level of crazy…
I clearly recall some dweebs suggesting putting into orbit a giant “sunshade” to reflect solar energy away from the Earth, with no speculation about the possible (extremely likely) negative effects,
This proposal just goes to show how, no matter how bad an idea is, someone can make it worse.
stupid people. with power given to them by other stupid people. what could ever go wrong
It is counter-intuitive that those that worship Lucifer, Lord of Light, want to block out the light.
But not if one understands their viewpoint on life.