Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Space Ring Could Combat Global Warming

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the pie-plate-in-the-sky dept.

Space 955

telstar writes "Though the debate continues around global warming, a new proposal suggests building an artificial space ring around the Earth to block the light of the sun and bring a balance to solar radiation, cloud cover, and heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The ring could be comprised of particles which would scatter the sunlight, or be built by an interconnected ring of spaceships aligned to block the light. The former proposal is estimated to cost anywhere from $6 trillion to $200 trillion dollars, while the spaceship solution would run approximately $500 billion. Halo fans rejoice."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


well... (3, Insightful)

schnits0r (633893) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927483)

In this world of fantasy (which we do not live in) it would be nice...however I'd much rather my tax dollars going towards more enviromental regulations and research than some high tech sci-fi wonder.

Re:well... (1, Insightful)

CommunistTroll (544327) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927583)

This sort of intellectual mastubation is the geek equivalent of bread and circuses.

The people with real power, the CEOs and the owners, keep you all happy with high tech dreams and high tech illusions - what the US did to the USSR with Reagan's fake Star Wars, they are doing to you.

Vapourware as political tool.

Don't worry about the world decending into chaos, or the billions without power or running water. We'll keep on with our selfish lifestyle, and if it gets too bad we'll put a ring around the world to keep us cool.

Re:well... (1)

Mahou (873114) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927596)

yeh seriously. i don't trust them to not interfere with satellite orbits or cause the temperature to dip too low, and would this mess up the ionosphere's ability to transmit radio waves?

Posting from the People's Republic of Fantasia ... (5, Interesting)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927616)

What about that interlocking ring of spaceships being an interlocking ring of solar panels? Then that blocked energy can get diverted to earth in a more desirable form (via microwave beamed to a stable superconducting space elevator, something we particularly like the idea of here in my country).

That might even take the pressure off the environment, as you could probably shut down most of the world's coal-fired power stations.

Ahh. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927489)

How could this go wrong?

Ash Nazg durbatulûk, Ash Nazg gimbatul Ash Na (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927678)

um maybe were reading too much fantasy...

something about in the darkness bind them... [Sauron et all.]


natural light (2, Funny)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927685)

The entire world becomes depressed, due to the absence on natural light, kills themselves or simply stop having sex. Doesn't apply to humans only, most higher forms of animal life ceases to exist.

Of course, linux users are as chipper as ever due to the fact that they never seen natural light to begin with so they aren't as affected.

(As someone with seasonal affective disorder, I see this as a death sentence)

hell... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927490)

why don't we just put some big fuckn sunglasses on the earth and cover it in SPF15+


BULLSHIT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927491)


Perhaps. (1)

wlan0 (871397) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927494)

So, perhaps Bill DID get that Time Machine. He saw the future and funded Halo. Perhaps, Hitler was really Stalin. Yes, really.

Re:Perhaps. (1)

theJerk242 (778433) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927672)

The former proposal is estimated to cost anywhere from $6 trillion to $200 trillion dollars, while the spaceship solution would run approximately $500 billion

Due to the cost of this project, there is no way in hell that ANY government would even think about a contract for this project. After all, politians have to be paid and so do civilian contractors working on defense projects.

What if (1)

jon855 (803537) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927496)

the ring solution comes down crashing? Wouldn't that be bad? But I think it's awesome. If you spin it fast enough, maybe, it'll be our next home, not the lunar bases, but the HALO RING.

One Ring... (5, Funny)

brilinux (255400) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927497)

This would not work. Other planets would become jeleous and greedy, all of them wanting to get The Ring from us. There would be wars, many would die, and entire civilizations would die. What we need to do is get a neutral planet, one without such greed, who can take the ring, and hurl it into Jupiter. Then, the universe will be free.

So... why a ring? (4, Interesting)

Gaewyn L Knight (16566) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927503)

Why not put a disk direct between us and the sun at a stable gravity point?

We know how well solar eclipses work... why not just a permanent 'dimming'?

Because there are no stable gravity points there (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927664)

Points of gravitational equilibrium are called Lagrange Points (discussion here [montana.edu]).

In a two-body system (earth/sun), there are five such points, of which only two are stable. Neither resides on the axis between the earth and the sun.

One might be able to keep a disc at an unstable point using active control, but that is a separate question. :)

So in reality... (1)

Ericzombie (812295) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927504)

So in reality, it will cost $500 trillion to build the space ring, and the shuttle solution will cost $900 trillion. Figures. I'll be that it will be projected to be completed by 2020, but in reality will not be completed untill late 2050.

Um. (5, Insightful)

failure-man (870605) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927507)

Wouldn't it be cheaper, easier, and more effective to, I don't know, build energy systems that don't release carbon? Just a thought.

Re:Um. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927538)

probably not actually....

I fucking hate slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927667)

You people are so fucking stupid. All the real nerds left.

Re:Um. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927683)

Well, it would be cheaper and easier.

What the fuck? (3, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927510)

What kind of a hair brained scheme is this??? What happens when global warming ends because we haven't any more money for cars having spent it all on this ring?

Of the 6 trillion, why not spend the$ 3 trillion on environmentally safe energy (fusion plants, geothermal, solar panels in the deserts) and spend $3 trillion to buy off all the oil megacorporations.

Besides, moving the earth further away from the Sun is a much more hair brained idea, so why not do that?

Solar Power! (3, Interesting)

Bri3D (584578) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927518)

Additionally, the ring could have solar panels on the outside and thus power the whole Earth cleanly...unless there is too little silicon on Earth to build that many solar panels...yes I know there is a lot, but that's a lot of solar panel...

spaceships vs particles ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927519)

I don't get it. Wouldn't particles (depends what these particles are of course) cost much less then a ring of spaceships around the planet?

Halo? (1)

Hhhhh (864263) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927525)

Again, this is just another attempt by Micro$oft to take over the world (I'm sure the space ring will have closed standards) :p

First videogame consoles, next the world!

Maybe, but maybe not? (0, Flamebait)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927526)

Global Warming is not science; it is pushed by the PETA crowd, who have been proven to be animal killers.

Honestly, this is pseudo science; it is not yet fully accepted by anyone accept extreme environmentalists. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that global warming does not exist.

Re:Maybe, but maybe not? (0, Flamebait)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927562)

you are a complete dip wad. the globe is warming., weather patterns are changing, the ice caps are melting, and the gulf stream is slowing.

the only pseudo science is the crap that the bush administration put out.

Re:Maybe, but maybe not? (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927571)

In fact, there is a lot of evidence that global warming does not exist.
Well -- if there exist so much undisputed facts, why don't you produce some? Enlighten the slashdot crowd.

Re:Maybe, but maybe not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927637)

Here you are: 420,000 [usgcrp.gov] years of evidence

MOD the Troll down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927647)

There is "a lot of evidence" that you are a troll.

Is that so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927692)

Really? My numerous accepted stories? My still excellent karma? Do tell... Now, how about YOUR stats? -- Saeed

What about afterwards? (1)

NotTheEgg (839387) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927527)

With the light scattering particle technique, what do we do after balance is restored? How do we get rid of the particles? Wouldn't they then cause the earth to enter another ice age?

shade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927528)

wouldnt this create a lot of, you know... shadey areas (for at least part of the day) ?

Or... (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927530)

You can spend -$5 on gas, and +$5 on SPF-30. Eventually, things will balance out.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927601)

This is Slashdot. Nobody goes out in the sun! :D

Re:Or... (1)

Mister Impressive (875697) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927614)

You can spend -$5 on gas, and +$5 on SPF-30. Eventually, things will balance out.

Unfortunately, if current oil prices keep going up, that $5 will get you about 10 steps closer to where you're buying the sunblock from.

200trillion can do a lot of things... (1)

Steeda95GT (412896) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927542)

why can't all that money goto something useful, like finding a way for foreign oil independence.

Thats not a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927543)

It's a VERY big patch !

Lets not solve the real problem, which is our over-consumption of oil...

What if this beatiful solution does not work ? O well, lets just make it a weapon and try it on earth... ;o)

look at whole picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927544)

the problem with dumbasses worried about global warming is that they have totally neglected to look at how the earth revolves around the earth. As of now, the earth is closest to the sun during the winter and furthest in the summer. That may seem to backwards but remember that the earth also tilts. Anyway, the earth changes it's revolutions continuously and it's moving to a orbit that will bring upon another ice age soon. So I say we need more global warming.

Been done before... (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927545)

At least in the sci-fi books. The Mars Trilogy (Red, Green, Blue Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson descibes a ring of mirrors (made from the solar sails of cargo ships sent to Mars) orbiting Mars with a central set of mirrors to concentrate their light and reflect it onto Mars itself to accelerate global warming to aid in terraforming the planet. In Green Mars iirc, they sent it off to venus to do the opposite: reflect light away from the planet to cool it off.


$500 billion? (3, Interesting)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927548)

Or we could just cut down on pollution for FREE!

Honestly, how much would it cost to require an SUV to get 30+ MPG instead of 15?

Re:$500 billion? (5, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927579)

Honestly, how much would it cost to require an SUV to get 30+ MPG instead of 15?

It would actually costs less than an SUV, you'd just have to dump half the steel to cut weight, which would reduce its size significantly. I propose we call the result the "carr." Or something like that. I don't know. I'll leave that to marketing, but I'm gonna get my company on top of this. We'll make a fortune.

Re:$500 billion? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927592)

ACtually your numbers are outdated--since maybe 2003 most SUV's get closer to 30 mpg than to 15. Heck, my 7 year old SUV got a solid 20, and they've improved every year since then (Ford Explorer for me).

If you really want to talk about vehicles that get bad mileage target Jeeps and minivans--minivans are worse than SUVs.

Re:$500 billion? (1)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927612)

I got a better idea... how about we force SUV's off the market for the average joe.

Something like, you need a special license to drive an SUV/pickup truck/huge ass car. Or some sort of permit is required... 90% of the SUV's, trucks and other large cars I see on the road are carrying a single person (aka the driver) with absolutely nothing else. Not hauling lumber, not full of supplies, hell, not even full of groceries...

Why have an SUV that can get 30MPG when you could have a much smaller car that seats only 2 people and gets 80MPG? I don't understand American's cultural need to have enormous vehicles... Someone please explain to me the need for SUV's and trucks when only a single person is driving in it...

Re:$500 billion? (2, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927649)

... Someone please explain to me the need for SUV's and trucks when only a single person is driving in it...

For one oil lobbiests have modified our tax code where an American can get an SUV or truck free of charge if they are a business owner in tax refunds. So why not?

Second its because they can. They can afford to do so and are unaware that the rest of us pay for higher gas prices due to lack of supply while the rich like the comfort and safety of a big vehicle.

However (1)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927554)

The resulting weather and cultural shock will result in a strange reversion of cultural style to the mid 20th century. Likewise, the world will end up tightly in the grip of one evil super-corporation until their facilities are at last destroyed by a strange scotsman, who was really from another planet that looks a lot like Dune, chopping the heads off an assisgnation squad sent to kill him. Because, as we all know, there can be only one.

Nothing's impossible! (0, Redundant)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927555)

If the US can invade Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, discover that the whole thing was a con perpetrated by the Bush administration and then stay there killing thousands American boys, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and blowing hundreds of billions of dollars a year -- why what the hell? Build a ring aound the earth for a few trillion dollars!

What's anyone gonna do about it? Shift to the Yuan as the reserve currency or something?

Re:Nothing's impossible! (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927617)

Just out of curiosity, if the prevailing conspiracy theorist opinion (to which it is obvious you readily subscribe) is now that it was a con by the Bush administration--to what gain? What could they possibly have gained?

Re:Nothing's impossible! (1)

InVinoVeritas (781151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927693)

What was there to gain? Since when does Bush's though process have to make any sense whatsoever. Maybe Dubya wanted some new desert-front property. Maybe he was mad because some Iraqi kid flicked off his dad when he was the prez. Maybe he's just an f'in moron, who knows absolutely jack squat about being president. (the previous comments are not meant to reflect the opinion of the author)

Re:Nothing's impossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927643)

On behalf of those of us who don't like the Bush administration but aren't crazy, I'd like to apologize for Baldrson, here. He's an outlier.

More realistically (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927563)

I think it'd be cheaper and easier to tow, for example, a big enough moon and lock it in orbit around our planet so that there's a big eclipse covering us at all times.

I vote for Titan, so we can study it up close, and maybe mine it for methane and whatnot.

Re:More realistically (1)

Laivincolmo (778355) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927628)

If you were to move Titan into Earth orbit, much closer to the sun than at its home, Titan would change drastically I would assume. The thick atmosphere would act to heat the planet rapidly, melting the ice and frozen hydrocarbons. You could study Titan at that point I guess, but not the Titan you knew.

There Can Be Only One (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927569)

The worst part is that an orbital shield to save us from ourselves will result in truly awful sequels to great B movies.

Maybe something practical would be a good idea (1)

shawkin (165588) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927573)

Wouldn't it be cheaper and faster to reduce auto emissions by putting people into the empty seats of the cars we have already?

A quick way to do this would be a system to match people who need to get somewhere with cars going there anyway. An ad hoc cab system. A feedback system should get rid of the creeps that made it though some sort of screening process.

Cheap, fast, technically possible, low impact and large results. It's impossible, of course. It would involve the cooperation of citizens.

Energy Input (1)

stendec (582696) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927582)

The major problem associated with global warming is energy production. If we physically block out a portion of the sun's radiation, that will reduce the useful energy input to earth (via autotrophs and solar cells and weather/climactic cycling and so on). While it may possibly solve the climate change problem, won't such a space shield only exacerbate the problems we face with replenishable energy?

The southern & equatorial nations will love th (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927593)

The orbit of this band can't be anything but contentious. The shadow cast by this band would fall equally on both Northern and Southern hemisphere countries. Yet most of the greenhouse gas emitters (U.S., Europe, Japan, Asia, et al) are concentrated in the Northern hemisphere. The shadow would also affect equatorial countries that are not the cause of the problem.

It's an interesting solution but seems to place some burdens (e.g., ecological changes) on countries that are not the alleged cause of the problem.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927595)

Wow! A beowolf cluster of spaceships? But do they run linux?

Prior Art. (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927603)

Monty Burns had a plan to do this back in 1995. Of course his motivations were somewhat different.

Another kludge by Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927615)

Well the game didn't crash, but ...

After all this is just a workaround, the goal we should aim for is to achieve control over greenhouse gases, and if the sun actually sends more energy our way we can still opt for mirrors and shades. After all if we don't get greenhouse gases in check we can still die of asphyxiation so there is some ultimate control mechanism build in .

Oh Great... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927623)

Then aliens from the planet Zeist will come, and the only thing standing between us and them is an old Connor MacLeod, who has to again take on the mantle of the Highlander to save our asses,

Why don't we use monkeys... (1)

InVinoVeritas (781151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927624)

You know... the ones that will fly out of my ass just prior to this plan being seriously considered.

News just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927629)

Breaking news; signing up to the Kyoto agreement could combat global warming!

So ... would Bush support this ring? ;)
Nope, because Texaco, Shell and his other buddies benefit from global warming. Same as with Kyoto.

I'm curious (1)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927630)

There was some info a little while back about how CO2 could be reduced by seeding the oceans with small amounts of micronutrients. I assume that this would help with declining fish populations as well. There was another suggestion for harvetsting the crop, particularly if it produced some kind of oil as I believe some diatoms can be made to do.

You Know... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927631)

There are times when some ideas should die a quiet death in the science fiction ghetto. This is one of them. Besides, we need all the money to build ships to rescue the beautiful women on Venus [classicscifi.com]. :P

Halliburton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927634)

The former proposal is estimated to cost anywhere from $6 trillion to $200 trillion dollars, while the spaceship solution would run approximately $500 billion.

Can't we just save a lot of time and hassle by awarding a cost-plus contract to Halliburton?

If there's any chance... (2, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927639)

For decades we've been told by the environmentalists, "if there's even the tiniest chance that global warming is real and man made, then it would be foolish to do nothing about it." This is Pascal's Wager, but applied to a different religion. But two can play at this game!

"If there's even the tiniest chance that global warming is NOT happening, then this would be an extremely foolish thing to implement, as it could trigger the next ice age..."

c.f. Niven's "Fallen Angels"

This sounds familiar (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927653)

Someone been playing alien crossfire again? The expansion to Alpha Centauri? Cause that's in there.

While we're at it... (1)

WRoach (863245) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927669)

...wouldnt it be better placing a big ass solar powered peltier in low orbit? Pssst, MOD funny, I'm not that dumb ;P

Stupidest. Idea. Ever. (1)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927680)

With trillions of dollars you can create more than enough amount of solar power panels all around the world and you can feed this energy to what we power our cars with and so on. This would do more than just minimize our green house gases: - Give us cleaner air - Reduce premature deaths caused pollution (in Toronto Canada, there are something like 5000 premature deaths [pulse24.com] each year due to pollution). - Give us an energy source that's not affecting something else (i.e. we could use wind power, but with trillions of dollars, why not just go for something like solar?). etc.

A Trillion here... (1)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927684)

and a trillion there and pretty soon we are talking about real money.Seriously , do people who compile these studies even pause to think about the figures they are bandying about.The GDP of USA , the world's largest economy , is $10 Trillion.The figures of the first proposal are meaningless.

You've got to be kidding. April Fools day? (1)

gmac63 (12603) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927688)

This has got to be the latest April fools day on record. First we have Zombie Dogs, now space rings. You have to be kidding me... right?

What fool put this up? huh?

Does this remind anyone else... (1)

maino82 (851720) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927689)

of "Highlander 2?" I'm ashamed to say I actually watched that movie, but didn't they have some sort of device to shield the Earth from the sun or something?

Anyway, this whole thing just seems like some bored scientists grasping at straws trying to come up with something interesting to get their names in the news, but I do have 2 questions I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on:

1) How desparate would we have to be to follow through with something like this? 2) How hard would it be to convince the mainstream population to spend research money on reducing greenhouse gas emissions rather than go along with this?

We don't know who struck first, us or them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927691)

But we know that it was us that scorched the skies. At the time, they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

This is a possibility... (1)

JonN (895435) | more than 8 years ago | (#12927696)

Yes it might be possible to build this Space Ring, however will it be done, and if so, will it be done in our lifetime? Probably not. The article does not mention any government or private organizations planning on following up on this idea.

Also, the spaceship idea is plausible, but a giant ring? We finally realize that the Earth's resources aren't unlimited, and now someone raises the idea of building a ring around the planet? Lets all take a step backwards.

The Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12927697)

The machines haven't even been created yet and we are destroying the sky....

We build it, then we obliterate ourselves in war. Now nothing on earth can do anything about it. 100 million years later and the planet still pays for it. Sounds like a win to me!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account