MIT develops “solar shield” to protect Earth from sun’s rays

A team of interdisciplinary scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed the concept of an outer-planetary solar shield that will reduce the effects of climate change by limiting radiation reaching the surface of the Earth.

The “space bubbles” concept is based on the work of Roger Angel, who in 2006 proposed placing thin reflective films in orbit around the Earth. The MIT concept develops that idea by making it easily deployable and fully reversible.

The aim is to create bubbles can be inflated once they reach their position, or deflated if they are no longer required. There are multiple materials the product could be built from, including silicone and ionic liquids reinforced with graphene.

The shields would be located approximately 2.5 million kilometres from the Earth, using an as-yet-to-be-designed stabilisation mechanism.

Professor Carlo Ratti of MIT’s Senseable City Lab, said: “We believe that advancing feasibility studies of a solar shield to the next level could help us make more informed decisions in the years to come, should geoengineering approaches become urgent.”

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