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Vent the Atmosphere

Too much of a good thing?
  (+4, -7)
(+4, -7)
  [vote for,

A little greenhouse effect is a good thing, or we would get chilly. However, too much is bad. The addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect because somehow CO2 is extra good at that. I propose that by cutting back the total amount of atmosphere, one could balance the input of CO2 for a net neutral greenhouse effect.

To do this, one would erect a nuclear power plant at the pole connected to a space elevator, and start pumping. Smallamounts of atmosphere already leave at the poles, and this technique would accelerate this natural process. Once the atmosphere was appropriately pared away, one could turn off the pump.

Other benefits:

1: A satellite atop the elevator could have windows that opened.

2. It may be possible to direct some of the expelled atmosphere to the moon, for later recovery or to facilitate colonization.

3: Really spectacular auroras!

bungston, Aug 21 2006

Balloon man aka Air Dancers http://www.ameramark.com/airdancers.htm
For use in defense against unsavory UFO's [NotTheSharpestSpoon, Aug 22 2006]


       [Marked-for-deletion] Bad science. The space elevator (if it could be built at all) must be near the equator.
ldischler, Aug 21 2006

       [ldsicher] - I must point out that as the proposed device is essentially a large hose, it would be supported from the inside by the rushing air. In essence it would be similar to those inflatable structures used to advertise things, which are supported from below by a blower. There would be no need for an orbiting top part. It would thus be more akin to a "space fountain" than a space elevator and could be placed in any old spot. The science remains just a little underripe.
bungston, Aug 21 2006

       Then it's quite the rope trick you've got there. I'd have to MFD it for magic.
ldischler, Aug 22 2006

       Using a huge (I mean gargantuan) balloon man, the kind with flapping arms,standing on top of the world, we can also scare away all the evil aliens coming to kill us. Don't tell me they aren't coming, I won't believe you.
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Aug 22 2006

       Wasn't there another idea like, this but involving a straw big enough to let the vacuum of space to syphon the atmosphere of on its own?   

       yup and that one wouldnt work either.
jhomrighaus, Aug 22 2006

       Bung has been sending the atmosphere into space for years: "You could pump the liquid oxygen up the space elevator and it would accumulate in a quaking ball at the top. No need for any holes or refrigeration device. Then after you conquer the world, pump it back down."--bungston, Sep 26 2003
ldischler, Aug 22 2006

       How would we get our atmosphere back? Global warming is temporary and the Earth will balance itself out. Yes, we will have extremely high temperatures and freak weather, the entire planet will become rather wet (Central North America will all be under water, like the it was at the end of the mesozoic, all the red states being inundated) and then will come the ice age. Thousands of species will go extinct and even species that are now strictly polar would have already been wiped out by the perpetual summer of the intitial hot period. Mankind will tough it out for a few thousand years, then the continual supply of C02 constantly given off by the eruption of volcanoes will thaw us out. It's happened several times before in geological history, a ceaseless cycle. What you propose is irreversible.
jellydoughnut, Aug 22 2006

       Under this proposal the atmosphere would simply fall back to earth unless it was somehow able to achieve escape velocity.
jhomrighaus, Aug 22 2006

       [jhom] is right, mostly. Some of the air would escape from the effects of the solar wind and such. The higher it was blown, more would escape. But most is coming back down. Fortunately, there are several ways to get the escaping air up to escape velocity, including ion drives and plasma jets, but the mechanisms will need some support for their weight and thrust.   

       Air that escapes the Earth might form a torus in the vicinity of our orbit, and get swept back up again in a few years. Or it might just go away on the solar wind. Maybe some packaging, such as giant plastic bags, would keep the air handy if we want it again, while it floats in orbit.   

       As for the main idea, at least the air-pushing part, it would work. I would take out the word elevator, as it has a different meaning than a giant inflatable tube.   

       Global cooling should follow, I think. Still, it's a bad thing to push all of the air out. I worry about all these CO2 sequestration schemes that seem to ignore the -O2 part that's being locked up along with the C-. This one pushes away everything. Oh, what the hell, it would work as described, so I'm croissanting.   

       BTW, what do you mean, atmosphere is already being lost at the poles? Doesn't that happen everywhere?   

       And why do this at the poles? The air there is fresh and clean. Try Los Angeles or somewhere. Closer to the equator the tube and the escaping air would get a little boost from centrifugal force--kinda like a space elevator.
baconbrain, Aug 22 2006

       why cant we just plant more trees? seems easier and more econimical than building a nuclear power plant at the poles.
bleh, Aug 22 2006

       Why not use one of those suppressed air powered engines to do this, rather than a nuke?
Galbinus_Caeli, Aug 23 2006

       Maybe we should just live higher up, where it's cooler.
moomintroll, Aug 23 2006

       Makes about as much sense as discarding the dirty parts of your house.
lurch, Aug 23 2006

       I ilke it. It's completely nutty, and might just work. I agree with [baconbrain] about losing the -O2 in sequestration schemes. Never occurred to me before.   

       Is it possible the gas would cool enough to liquefy or near to it on the way up into space? The satellite could then liquefy or even solidfy it and mount a solar sail on it, sending on its way to a human colony or future landing site elsewhere.   

       Still, by far the cheapest thing would have to biosequestration - algae, trees, bamboo, kenaf, plankton, whatever. That gives us back most of the -O2 as well.   

       If you can make the satellite dance on the end of the hose like a ping pong ball on a vacuum cleaner you get two buns from me :-)
BunsenHoneydew, Aug 28 2006


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