Researchers Working on Plan to Cool Planet Earth by Blocking Sun

Researchers are exploring a wild idea to stop Earth from overheating: sending umbrellas into space to block the Sun's warming ways.

Scientists are ready to put the idea to the test. As the NYT reports, a team led by Asher Space Research Institute physics professor and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology director Yoram Rozen claims it's ready to build a prototype.

But there's one big problem: the shield has to stretch an area of roughly 1 million square miles, or around the size of Argentina.

Since that's far too big of a structure to launch into space on a single rocket, Rozen and his colleagues are proposing a scheme in which a swarm of smaller shades are launched into space, where they'll work together.

"We can show the world, 'Look, there is a working solution, take it, increase it to the necessary size,'" Rozen told the NYT.

The idea has technically been around for decades now. Instead of fully blocking out the Sun completely with a giant parasol, researchers have suggested we only need to block anywhere between 1 and 2 percent of sun's s radiation to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

Last year, a team of researchers from Harvard University and the University of Utah explored the idea of placing dust at a "Lagrange point" between the Sun and the Earth to overcome climate change.

An other team suggested using an actual "umbrella" tethered to an asteroid to achieve the same effect.

However, a sunshade would only be one part of the solution as the Earth's atmosphere would still be trapping heat in the form of greenhouse gas emissions.

Not everybody is on board with the idea. Critics told the New York Times that a sunshade would be incredibly cost-prohibitive and unrealistic, given the pace at which global warming is accelerating. 

That isn't to mention the beating such a shade would have to be able to withstand while exposed in outer space.

Proponents, on the other hand, argue we should leave no stone unturned in coming up with solutions to climate change.

Rozen and his team are now looking to secure anywhere between $10 million and $20 million to build their prototype.

"We at the Technion are not going to save the planet Earth" he told the NYT. "But we’re going to show that it can be done."