Ask Ethan: Could We Just Build A ‘Space Sunshade’ To Counteract Global Warming?
“[A]s a fan of terraforming options in the solar system, especially Mars, I thought that I would leverage my knowledge to assuage the fears of innocents. In this case, I thought to myself “If global warming is such a critical issue, why don’t we do something ‘cheap’ and ‘simple’ like building a solar shade at a Lagrange point?"”
If you want to deal with all of our climate change issues, going beyond global warming and including things like ocean acidification, we’ll truly need to address the changing contents of our atmosphere and our continued burning of fossil fuels. But if all we truly cared about was reducing the temperature effects of global warming, perhaps we don’t need to reduce our greenhouse gas use at all. Perhaps we don’t even need to resort to potentially Earth-changing geoengineering solutions; perhaps we could simply launch what’s known as a Space Sunshade and block out a fraction of the Sun’s light before it ever arrived here at Earth.
Believe it or not, as launch costs decrease and new orbit-sustaining propulsion technologies come into being, this might be the cheapest and safest way to fight global warming. Here’s the science for the curious.