How to Solve Global Warming with the Psyche Asteroid
Scientists have discovered that an asteroid 230 million miles from Earth called “16 Psyche” appears to be 90% metallic, composed of nickel and iron. NASA has plans to visit the 120-mile-wide asteroid in 2026.
Psyche is large for an asteroid, but smaller than a planet. So small, in fact, that its surface gravity is only 0.015 times that of Earth. If you were to race across the surface of Psyche at 409 miles per hour, you’d achieve escape velocity and lift off into space.
The value of the metal in the asteroid is estimated at $10,000 quadrillion. That’s a lot of nickels. But what if the asteroid could be used to solve global warming? That would be priceless.
Here’s the idea: Bring the asteroid to Earth. Or at least part of the way. Place it directly between the Earth and the Sun, then vaporize it into a thin metallic shield that can block some of the Sun’s rays and, over time, cool down the Earth’s surface.
How to accomplish such a feat? First, a large bomb would have to be inserted into the asteroid and detonated, splitting it in two parts, one part hurtling toward Earth, and the other reeling backwards toward the Sun. To stop the asteroid before it reaches Earth, this process would be repeated, taking care not to send any fragments toward Earth (with appropriate backup plans in place if things go wrong).
Once the asteroid is in position, it would be vaporized by a chemical or oxidation process. Large magnets would be used to guide and shape the thin iron shield (and later disperse it when it’s no longer needed). The shield could be either located far away from Earth, mostly unaffected by its gravitational field, or in a geostationary orbit.
Over time, this thin metallic shield would block just enough of the Sun’s rays to reverse the effects of global warming (from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere), without bringing on a new Ice Age. Glaciers would stabilize, sea levels would remain at current levels, and large coastal cities wouldn’t be flooded. How much would that be worth?