Asteroid Cloud to Buy Time Against Climate Change

Climate change is one of those hot topics these days. We are increasingly realizing we need to be more “green” and stop abusing our planet lest we break the atmosphere as we know it.

In the meantime, in order to preserve our way of life, scientists are trying to come up with ways to battle the effects of our carbon emissions and the subsequent global increase in temperature. Researchers at University of Strathclyde believe that one way to do that is to create a gigantic asteroid dust cloud to absorb some of the heat of the sun.

The idea is to attach a device called a “mass driver” to a nearby asteroid (they’ve volunteered 1036 Ganymed, the largest asteroid near Earth) and get it to fling its debris away. Attached to 1036 Ganymed, they predict that the device could absorb 6.58 percent of earthbound solar radiation.

Does this sound a little drastic to anyone else? Not only does this sound like we are literally risking our very survival on Earth (if calculations are wrong, or something goes wrong, that cloud could very well change the temperature on Earth so drastically that we won’t be able to adapt in time), but the result isn’t even a permanent fix! From the researchers themselves:

The dust cloud is not a permanent cure, but it could offset the effects of climate change for a given time to allow slow-acting measures like carbon capture to take effect.

If you ask me, the world isn’t going to change until a major crisis needs to be averted. And this idea, along with other geoengineering “fixes” don’t serve to help us move towards an environmentally friendly society, but instead serves to extend the time that we have to continue with our irresponsible ways. It delays that moment when we are forced to start conserving electricity, to start recycling, to start walking and cycling rather than driving down the street.

What do you think? Would the asteroid dust cloud buy us the time we need to get our act together or merely make it an even later generation’s problem rather than ours?

[Via Geekosystem | Image Credit Charlotte Lücking from Live Science]

12 Responses to Asteroid Cloud to Buy Time Against Climate Change

  1. If folks are truly convinced that we are capable of harming the environment, they'd come up with solutions that are better and cheaper – Not crappy little stuff that costs 15 times more. So far, it seems like a big money grab to me… Let's invent subpar products, charge an arm and a leg for them, and then get the government to regulate that everyone has to use them! All in the name of saving the childrens! Yay!

  2. If calculations are correct, if it works as they think it will, it could buy the time needed not only for us to get our habits changed, but to convince other industrial nations with our old bad habits (China, India) that they should also practice safer industry.

    If it doesn't work, we could be learning how to live in an ice age.

  3. This and other attempts to change our very climate is way to drastic a measure. Especially considering all of the evidence that global warming was a mistake by the scientist. If we have to do something like this then it had better be a final/last resort. As things are now we are only going to make matters worse.

      • Proven that they falsified the data. Not only that, it's human arrogance to think that in the past 100-200 years that we have had the power to affect this planet. Geologists and paleontologists have proof that time and time again, the earth goes through CYCLES of drastic climate change. BEFORE PEOPLE WERE EVER ON THE PLANET…

        How's that kool-aid you've been gulping down? Jonestown grape was it?

        • You're right TheBlackSage, but we're certainly not helping. And it is certainly not helping anyone to live in a city where you can literally see the pollution in the air.

        • Now I didn't say that we weren't pumping chemicals in the air and weren't killing ourselves off with pollution, I am just saying that climate change is a normal process of this planet. I am all for reducing the amount of waste and pollution we're cranking out… But lets face it, we're a throw away society… everything is disposable. People need to learn how to fix things and keep them. I am the king of Super Glue and Duct Tape.


  4. I would LOVE a link to prove that "they falsified the data", but I am absolutely positive you cannot provide one. Or any properly reviewed scientific study that I can find anywhere on this planet.

    It is common knowledge that more than 97% of all climate scientists in the world agree: The planet is heating at a rate unprecedented in our history… and that yes, humans are the main driver of this change. You are at best simply uninformed on the topic.

    • How about from the horse's mouth?

      “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary,”

    • That 97% of all climate scientists you refer to is actually just 75 climate scientists. Out of 10000 scientists who were asked to complete a 2 answer questionaire.

  5. I got a better idea! Let's just detonate a thousand multi-megaton nuclear weapons here on Earth and the dust from that thrown up into the atmosphere will do the same thing. And since we already have the bombs built we can do this tomorrow much cheaper than trying to move an asteroid into position.

    Crazy you say? Yeah, so is any effort to reduce the ONLY source of energy for this world's vegetation. No plants=everyone dies.

    Of all the things we could be doing in the area of space technology and development of non-terrestrial resources this is the worst I've seen yet. What happened to asteroid mining, orbital solar collectors, or sky farms? How did we get from "space cities of the future" to "let's artificially create a nuclear winter" ?

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