One of the proposed plans for saving the planet from getting boiled by the sun is to send up a whole load of high-tech mirrors into space. They would then float between the Earth and the Sun, reflecting some of the light away, and keeping the planet cool. Great idea but rather expensive.

My alternative is to send up some pollution. Yup, that’s right, I want to pollute space.

OK, its not quite as simple as that. With the space mirrors the idea is that you put thousands of reflectors at what is called the L1 Lagrangian point. This is the place in space between the Earth and the Sun where their respective gravitational pulls cancel each other out, so things will float there without slowly drifting towards the Earth or the Sun. (see the wikipedia page for more info)

The mirrors still need to be controlled so they keep their correct orientation, which means each has to work as a simple satellite, and this makes them complicated and expensive.

My alternative version uses one satellite at the L1 point that pumps out clouds of light absorbing dust. This absorbs some of the solar radiation and keeps it from reaching Earth. Of course the dust cloud will slowly dissipate, getting blown away by the solar wind, but this is actually useful because you can control the amount of light absorbed by allowing dust to drift away, and top it up as needed. Getting a satellite there with enough material to make a useful sized dust cloud is still expensive, but lots cheaper than using high-tech mirrors.

Now, all I need is some sponsorship from NASA or ESA and I can save the planet! Hooray!

Well, my dust cloud might help things but it would only help counteract the effects of climate change, not the cause. In other words it treats the symptoms, but we still need to treat the cause if we want a proper, permanent solution.

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