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

Peer-Reviewed Publication



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:

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 ( The funder(s) had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


PLOS Climate




Dust as a solar shield




The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

From EurekAlert!

Here is the Abstract


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.


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February 14, 2023 10:04 am

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.

Onthe Move
Reply to  MarkW
February 14, 2023 10:19 am

The “you can’t fix stupid” phrase comes to mind.

Reply to  Onthe Move
February 15, 2023 12:31 am

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.

Reply to  MarkW
February 14, 2023 11:01 am

One problem that immediately comes to mind. 

The problem that easily comes to mind, is there is no problem with CO2

Reply to  Redge
February 14, 2023 4:17 pm

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

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Redge
February 14, 2023 5:56 pm

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.

Reply to  MarkW
February 14, 2023 11:06 am

Like a tin roof on a hot summers day.

Reply to  MarkW
February 15, 2023 1:34 am

And I wonder what astronomers would think about polluting the night sky.

Tom Halla
February 14, 2023 10:10 am

They are not bothering to ask if it is actually too warm, or is more warming would be a good outcome.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 14, 2023 10:31 am

Frost Fairs on the River Thames sound so charming though.

Year without a summer, might not be so nice.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 14, 2023 12:23 pm

It’s been a mild winter here in Wokachusetts and I see nobody complaining about it!

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 15, 2023 9:39 am

Same here in That Windy City.

February 14, 2023 10:11 am

Dust in the solar wind…

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  strativarius
February 14, 2023 1:42 pm

Beat me to the punch.

February 14, 2023 10:18 am

Wow. I can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong.

Reply to  Sailorcurt
February 14, 2023 11:31 am

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…

Reply to  cilo
February 14, 2023 11:59 am

Putting objects into orbit is still very expensive.

Reply to  KevinM
February 14, 2023 10:47 pm

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.

February 14, 2023 10:18 am

Can it be reversed when something goes wrong? No? Then bad idea…

Reply to  iflyjetzzz
February 14, 2023 10:35 am

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.

Reply to  JC
February 14, 2023 1:44 pm

The dust is not being shot at the sun.

Reply to  JC
February 15, 2023 9:40 am

Solar winds would blow it away, not inward.

Steve Case
Reply to  iflyjetzzz
February 14, 2023 11:41 am

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.

Reply to  Steve Case
February 14, 2023 4:17 pm

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.

Dodgy Geezer
February 14, 2023 10:20 am

Colonising and raping the Moon’s pristine environment? Is there nothing that white men will not ruin?

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
February 14, 2023 10:40 am

These guys want to dump treated mine wastes into the ocean to “lower the acidity” and suck up CO2.

Reply to  Scissor
February 14, 2023 1:23 pm

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.

Reply to  Drake
February 14, 2023 1:47 pm

If they are shooting it at the sunward Lagrange point (L1?), then it’s nowhere near any satellites.

Reply to  MarkW
February 15, 2023 6:49 am

Yep, and it will all stay just where they put it.

Sounds like a perfect plan.

February 14, 2023 10:28 am

More absurd speculative science fiction.

Reply to  JC
February 14, 2023 10:32 am

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.

Henry Pool
February 14, 2023 10:33 am

Are there still people believing that man made global warming is real ?
Global cooling is coming.

Ed Zuiderwijk
February 14, 2023 10:36 am

Lunacy. Is the word I was looking for.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
February 14, 2023 11:10 am

‘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.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 14, 2023 5:13 pm

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.

February 14, 2023 11:00 am

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.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 14, 2023 11:01 am

the mass of dust in the scenarios we consider must exceed 1010 kg

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.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 14, 2023 11:41 am

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

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 14, 2023 12:04 pm

“so it would be like” Are you using the method proposed by authors?

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 14, 2023 5:17 pm

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.

Reply to  AndyHce
February 15, 2023 9:43 am

It’s been a VERY long time since I heard that book referenced.

It doesnot add up
February 14, 2023 11:10 am

No wonder the word lunatic evolved.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 14, 2023 11:24 am

…The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
and everyday the paperboy brings more…

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Fraizer
February 14, 2023 4:06 pm

They probably are on the grass as well as in the Hall(s of Congress).

February 14, 2023 11:12 am

But I was told the sun has nothing to do with climate.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Alan
February 14, 2023 3:16 pm

By the renowned climate scientologist and anagram Gavin A Schmidt IIRC..

Reply to  Alan
February 15, 2023 1:47 am

No indeed: it is The Sun wot does it.

Vlad the Impaler
February 14, 2023 11:37 am

Brings new meaning to A. C. Clarke’s “A Fall of Moondust.” Great novel, by the way.

Joe Shaw
Reply to  Vlad the Impaler
February 15, 2023 3:55 pm

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.

Alexander Rawls
February 14, 2023 11:38 am

Since the only actual climate danger always has been and always will be global cooling, this is a very bad idea.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Alexander Rawls
February 14, 2023 1:44 pm

I hope that Javier will comment on this one.

February 14, 2023 12:16 pm

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.

February 14, 2023 12:19 pm

Anyone ever read “Fallen Angels” by Larry Niven. It’s tough being Cassandra.

February 15, 2023 9:44 am

I read that book decades ago. Prescient?

Joseph Zorzin
February 14, 2023 12:22 pm

now the astro-engineers are getting in on the funding action- after all, gotta save the planet!

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 14, 2023 1:18 pm

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.

Don Perry
February 14, 2023 12:24 pm

Lunacy!!!! Actual lunacy!!!!

February 14, 2023 12:31 pm

insanientes abundare

February 14, 2023 12:44 pm

There seems to be an infinite number of ways to waste taxpayer dollars.

Last edited 1 month ago by Petit-Barde
February 14, 2023 12:54 pm

What could possibly go wrong here?


Krishna Gans
February 14, 2023 1:01 pm

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.

February 14, 2023 1:13 pm

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:

  • Anything on this scale is guaranteed to go wrong.
  • It is irreversible. If it does go wrong it almost certainly cannot be fixed.
  • Its effects will be felt by everyone, not just those who carry out the operation, and inevitably some countries will perceive themselves as damaged by it. This would likely lead to large-scale conflict.
  • If the dust stays more concentrated for longer than expected, or even if there is just a small miscalculation, then Earth could be plunged into a new very cold period. Agricultural production in Canada, Russia and Scandinavia would then very likely collapse, and many other countries’ food production would likely be badly damaged.
  • Moon’s orbit could be affected, even if only in a very small way. This in turn could have unexpected effects on Earth. We know, for example, that tiny changes in length of day can have a noticeable effect.

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.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 14, 2023 5:41 pm

People need to take action for themselves. Torches and pitchforks, anyone?

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2023 1:37 am

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?”!

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2023 5:19 am

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…

February 14, 2023 1:36 pm

Not content with wasting current resources on a worthless scam, they’re plotting to spend trillions more of future generations’ dollars on this boondoggle.

son of mulder
February 14, 2023 2:07 pm

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.

February 14, 2023 5:07 pm

A plan to be held in reserve for about a billion years.

February 14, 2023 8:21 pm

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.

Paul Redfern
February 14, 2023 8:57 pm

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.

February 14, 2023 10:28 pm

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?

David Blenkinsop
February 15, 2023 2:47 am

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).

February 15, 2023 5:15 am

Why not use nukes to blow up the moon into dust and rubble and be done with it? Make dust, not war!

Last edited 1 month ago by edfix
February 15, 2023 9:41 am

This is Bond-villian level of crazy…

February 15, 2023 9:48 am

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.

February 15, 2023 6:22 pm



stupid people. with power given to them by other stupid people. what could ever go wrong

February 15, 2023 10:39 pm

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.

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