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Moonshot: Out of this world

akbakb Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
In the XPRIZE spirit of pushing the limits...
An obvious and natural (safe) way of removing CO2 is to grow more forests on a massive scale, including turning the deserts green. I've addressed how we can do that in the XPRIZE design competition for forests, and recommend that as a useful way forward.

However, here's an out of this world challenge. This is based on the assumption that any technological solution for extracting carbon probably needs to result in a valuable product and/or solve a difficult technical challenge. For example, turning CO2 into diamonds, graphene, and carbon-nanotubes might have the potential to result in an economically viable solution. This would allow bulky concrete constructions (which emit CO2 in the production of the material) to be replaced by these strong lightweight alternatives - whilst also removing CO2. A win - win solution.

But we can make this even more exciting by taking this idea out of this world, into Earth orbit. Using large arrays of orbiting solar panels (addressed as an option in the XPRIZE energy design), pipes could suck up the outer atmosphere, extract carbon into the above valuable forms, and 3D print these materials to create space based structures (space stations, refuelling depots for Moon and Mars trips, rockets, etc.).

Comments

  • NickAzerNickAzer Portland, OR, USAPosts: 203 admin
    That's an epic idea Adam @akb - we love Moonshot thinking! Personally, I've been working on the Lunar XPRIZE for the last six years (and writing about it since 2009!) so for me, space is definitely the place :)
  • akbakb Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
    Glad that you like it Nick, @NickAzer
    We might well see very interesting space activities coming to life in the next decade.
    Keep up the good work :-)
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