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University of Hawaii

Climate love

UH astronomer’s innovative solar ‘umbrella’ idea could help fight climate change

There is a clear connection between the rapidly warming Earth and wildfires like the deadly fire that destroyed historic Lāhainā, with nearly 100 people confirmed dead on Maui and likely more to come. Much of the island is suffering from moderate or severe drought.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supported a 2021 study that found climate change, including increased heat, extended drought and a thirsty atmosphere, isn’t just the key behind the increased number and intensity of wildfires in the western United States, it’s the main reason.

“Our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in an Associated Press story from March.

Scientists around the globe are working on myriad ways to reduce the effects of climate change, including István Szapudi, an astronomer at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy, who has devised a novel idea to lessen the amount of sunlight hitting our planet.

In a paper titled “Solar radiation management with a tethered sun shield” recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Szapudi proposes placing a sort of umbrella in a near gravitationally stable region of space between Earth and the sun along the sun-Earth axis, combined with a captured asteroid as a counterweight, that would shade the planet from a fraction of our star’s rays.

He was working on a space ship propulsion idea and read a paper about solar sails, spurring him to look into sun shades.

“In Hawaiʻi, many use an umbrella to block the sunlight as they walk about during the day,” said the UH astronomer. “I was thinking, could we do the same for Earth and thereby mitigate the impending catastrophe of climate change?”

Do you agree?

26 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • Harrison wambui

    44 w

    A very good move

    • Kevin

      44 w

      This is quite the milestone

      • Sameen Shahid

        45 w

        I wonder if they considered the impact it might have on space

        • Princess

          45 w

          The idea is undeniably great however, like any other innovation solution, its important to consider potential challenges that may arise in the future.

          • George Kariuki

            45 w

            Collaborative efforts among scientists, policymakers, and communities are crucial to ensure the successful implementation of these ideas and technologies.

            • Ajema Lydiah

              45 w

              great invention to mitigate climate change


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