J. Storrs Hall is the author of Nanofuture: What’s Next for Nanotechnology, a book that explains the physics of atomically precise manufacturing, and the potential applications of nanomachines to revolutionize our relationship with the material world.
In 2008, at the Global Catastrophic Risks conference in Mountain View, California, he gave a presentation entitled “The Weather Machine” in which he outlined the potential for using atomically precise manufacturing to produce millions of tons of programmable diamond balloons that would be around a nanometer thick and capable of reflecting sunlight.
These little balloons would be filled with hydrogen and stabilize around twenty miles up in the stratosphere and blanket the globe.
They would contain tiny control units with just barely enough power, fans, or other actuators to tilt themselves to a preferred orientation.
These diamond balloons, once covering the earth, would essentially form a programmable greenhouse gas, a thermostat for the entire planet. If you turn the balloon’s mirrors towards the sun, they would reflect the sunlight back, cooling the planet to the desired temperature. If you set them sideways, it allows the sunlight to come through.
“If you are worried about our world dying because of global warming, or if you are one of the people who is worried about our world falling into an ice age, we can fix that.” – J. Storrs Hall
This talk was recorded in October, 2008.