As appeared in the summer 2001 issue of Whole Earth Review.
390,000 km2 of solar sails, placed in non-Keplerian orbits around the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point, can intercept enough (~0.25%) sunlight to offset global warming and concomitant rapid climate change due to anthropogenic CO2, or if you will, a mirrored Maunder Minimum. Such mirrors can also provide total planetary electricity demand, estimated at 300 quads (quadrillion BTUs) by 2050, displacing all terrestrial carbon-burners.
The capital cost of solar sails is at least an order of magnitude less than the sum of economic, social, and environmental damages/externalities due to unmitigated climate change over the next century, rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate US$200 trillion in 1999 dollars. The capital cost may also be less than the already budgeted replacement/expansion cost of the world's energy generation plant (ROM est. US$20 trillion through 2050).
This world-saving concept is:
Who should attend? Students interested in:
Basic models will be used to demonstrate the concepts and a short CG animation prepared for European broadcast television will be shown.
Instructor's Note (11/30/01):
Slides and supporting material referenced in this presentation
have now been
About the speaker:
Robert G. Kennedy III, P.E., is president of The Ultimax Group Inc., a registered professional engineer in California and Tennessee, and '86 alumnus of Cal Poly's mechanical engineering program. He "minored" in Russian studies and went on to earn a special M.A. in national security studies at Cal State San Bernardino.
In 1994, he was appointed as a Congressional Fellow by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to work for the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space, under the overall chairmanship of the late George Brown (D-42-CA), where he worked on Milstar, commercial remote sensing, and Russian/American space issues.
Robert has designed special transmutation machines to produce artificial superheavy elements like 252californium in gram quantities for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; designed robots for military, nuclear and industrial applications; and manufactured and distributed Russian space software worldwide, making the Russian evening news on the Sputnik anniversary in October 1997. These days, Robert telecommutes to various network security or counter-cracking gigs around the world from his home office in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he resides with his wife, numerous cats, a Tennessee walking horse, and a yard full of trees and Detroit iron.
Robert G. Kennedy III, P.E.
The Ultimax Group, Inc.
112 Mason Lane
Oak Ridge, TN 37830-8631