The Institute has the only known copy
of the first draft.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Moscow, U. S. S. R.
of the United
States of America
Hayward, Ca. 94[deletion]
I am writing
this letter to you to find out if you are willing to do something about the "green house effect?" It has been estimated that
within the next century the oceans will rise five meters. This change will be catastrophic. Yet people such as yourself, with
the greatest powers possessed by any person in all of history, appear to sit idly by transfixed by the spectacle of our impending
Regan's star wars initiative had its central importance not in the practical application but in the new ethos it offered.
For our scientists and engineers were through this vehicle able to take the moral high ground, using our science not for destruction
but rather for protection. Similarly I propose offering humanity at least the possibility, that our industry can save this
Those who challenge my proposal on account of the cost are simply fools. For only a fool would question the
desirability of saving the planet on account of the expense. Those who question the value of our industrial civilization,
pointing out that one should examine any activity that must devote so much of its efforts on what is after all a salvage operation
have made a some what better point.
our most efficient engines waste more than half of the energy consumed, and so if our civilization must devote five percent
of seven percent of the world's gross product to save the planet, industrial civilization would appear, on its own terms,
quite "efficient," and as the object of our salvage operation is the planet itself, the prize would seem to be worth the effort.
that the problem is global we should not be surprised that the solution is global in its scope. With this as preamble the
solution I propose is: that the moon be mined and a fine dust extracted, launched from the moon, transported from lunar orbit
to geosynchronous Earth orbit, and there dispersed in a fine layer blocking ten to twenty percent of the sun's rays over selected
areas. I propose simply the creation of the: "Rings of Earth;" dust storms in space. Mt. Krakatao
placed tons of dust in the Earth's atmosphere and produced "the year without a summer."
need to remove from the moon and suspend in orbit a volume of material equal to twenty percent of Mt. Krakatoa.
An engineering project on the order of the Panama Canal. (The Panama Canal was an engineering project undertaken at a time when there were great men who dared
to dream.) We would need only twenty percent of the volume of Mt. Krakatoa because one, we would not want to cool down the planet
too much as in the "year with out a summer," and two, we will be placing this material in orbit where it will block solar
radiation permanently and continuously.
The blocking of solar radiation by reflecting radiation before it reaches the
Earth's atmosphere will manifest itself in one, global generalized effects, two, continental effects and three, micro climate
effects. Fairly minor reductions in solar radiation will have great affects on global warming. Just as a few degrees warming
will raise sea level many meters, minor cooling, a reduction in solar radiation on the order of a half or a quarter percent
will have equally great counter effects. Secondly, by creating areas of "shade," where solar radiation is reduced by ten or
twenty percent, continental weather patterns can be changed or sustained. For example the warming of the Indian Ocean competes with the subcontinent of India for moisture.
the relative warming of the subcontinent that attracts moisture away from the Indian Ocean falling in monsoons over that dry continent on which so many millions depend. By cooling the Indian Ocean by a degree the rains over India could be increased. The Atlas mountains could be
kept in shade and glaciers formed in the valleys --- glaciers replace dams. The shift of the Sahara could be stopped, and if desired, reversed. Local effects can be created by, for example, cooling the "inversion layer"
over L.A., (an area of super heated air over the city which traps
smog), and allowing sea air to pass over the city and carry off the pollution. Panels of woven glass, made of lunar silicon,
melted in solar ovens, assembled in space, could be moved, first over L.A., then Tokyo, then Riyadh, then Madrid, then New
York, cooling these cities during prime warming, there by reducing energy requirements.
In the next generation our
children's children will look to the heavens at dawn and at sun set and see colorful clouds glistening in the heavens like
the Aurora Borealis and at night a red glow at the equator will be seen as moon dust collapsing from orbit enters the atmosphere,
and by these things will be reminded that there were once great men who cared, who dared to dream, who worked to save the
planet and all that lives there.
We have no choice, the cost be damned or we are damned.