“You can’t cover the sun with your finger,” but perhaps with science and technology, you can. According to Forbes reports, Bill Gates is funding a project that would cover the Sun to dim sunlight to “cool” the Earth.
The research, called the Controlled Stratospheric Disturbance Experiment (SCoPEx), is carried out by scientists at Harvard University and aims to get sunlight to reflect outside of our planet’s atmosphere.
This solution would be achieved by spraying tons of non-toxic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) into the atmosphere. “SCoPEx is a scientific experiment to advance the understanding of stratospheric aerosols that could be relevant for solar geoengineering,” the project page reads.
The project will begin to carry out tests that so far consist of launching a balloon with scientific equipment, which will not spray CaCO3 but will function as a test of maneuver and to explore communications and operating systems.
SCoPEx will take a small step in its early research this June near the town of Kiruna, Sweden, where the Swedish Space Corporation has agreed to help launch a balloon carrying scientific equipment 12 miles (20 km) high. The launch will not release any stratospheric aerosols. Rather, it will serve as a test to maneuver the balloon and examine communications and operational systems. If successful, this could be a step towards a second experimental stage that would release a small amount of CaCO3 dust into the atmosphere.
“We plan to use a high-altitude balloon to lift an instrument package approximately 20 km into the atmosphere. Once in place, a very small amount of material (up to 2 kg) will be released to create a disturbed air mass approximately one kilometer long and one hundred meters in diameter. Then we will use the same balloon to measure the resulting changes in the disturbed air mass, including changes in aerosol density, atmospheric chemistry, and light scattering, ”they explain.
According to Forbes, scientists opposing this project believe that solar geoengineering could bring unavoidable risks and extreme changes in weather patterns that would be no different from current global warming trends.
They also explain that environmentalists fear that a “dramatic” change in mitigation strategy will become a “green light” for greenhouse gases to continue to be emitted without any variation in current consumption patterns.