Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

General Honors

Department

Astronomy

First Advisor

David Brain

Second Advisor

Abby Hickcox

Third Advisor

Lisa Dilling

Abstract

Over the past century, climate change due to anthropogenic forcing has rapidly increased the temperature of the globe. The rate of warming has outpaced the ability of Earth systems to adapt, and as rates of emissions continue to increase, the Earth is quickly reaching a climate tipping point. As political agreements fail to efficiently mitigate this danger, it is time to turn to other solutions. This proposal will advance the creation of a solar shade, in order to reduce the amount of sunlight the Earth receives, and thus employ geoengineering to counter anthropogenic warming. Advancements in drone technology, reusable first stage rockets, and foldable space structures mean a space shade is now actionable, as well as feasible. This paper will discuss the materials and methods of construction, as well as including an in-depth cost analysis of solar shade deployment. There will also be a detailed outline of a control organization, to be instituted along with the technical aspects of a solar shade. Finally, this proposal examines the policy issues inherent to geoengineering projects, and how this proposal resolves those concerns. In its entirety, this proposal will present a scientific and politically minded solution to combat global climate change.

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