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© Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

Global warming and climate change are progressing more or less unchecked. The further the average temperature on earth rises, the more urgent becomes the question of how to counteract it. An interdisciplinary team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has presented a visionary geoengineering concept that should be able to reduce global warming. “Space Bubbles” is based on the use of a large-scale collection of inflatable bubbles in space to shield the Earth from some of the sun’s radiation.

The project of a space-based solar shield is part of a solar geoengineering approach. This consists of a set of technologies aimed at reflecting some of the sunlight hitting the Earth to combat atmospheric heating. Unlike Earth-based geoengineering proposals, this method would not directly interfere with our biosphere and would therefore pose fewer risks of damaging sensitive ecosystems. The “raft,” made up of frozen bubbles the size of Brazil, would be placed in space at a location between the Earth and the Sun where gravity effects are minimized. According to Professor Carlo Ratti of the MIT Senseable City Lab, moving forward with feasibility studies for such a solar shield could help make informed decisions in the coming years should geoengineering approaches become necessary. Ratti doesn’t see the project as an alternative to existing efforts to mitigate climate change, but as a backup solution in case things get out of control.

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