November 27, 2008

How to Build a Weather Control System (WCS)

~James Dunn

The broader proposal is located at http://blog.360.yahoo.com/jamesbdunn?p=224

Weather Control System and Power Generation


Theory of Operation:

A thin film can be produced in space that is highly reflective on one side with electro-mechanical elements (piezo-electric, muscle wire, nano-tubes…) to control the curvature, or warp, of the mirror on the back side or embedded in the film as it is extruded (addressable MEM loops powered by induction). The mirror needs by necessity to be largely flat, the piezo-electric elements would provide active control to make precise focus possible, and to allow curvatures for various beneficial reasons.

If the mirror is produced with specific material distribution and with a slight convex curvature, the focus can be broadly changed through the rate of rotation. Ionizing radiation and manufacturing defects may mandate that active control of the mirror surface becomes a requirement to provide longer serviceable lifetimes.

Being able to focus the mirror is not needed to control the weather, the mirror could simply act as a shade structure to promote small temperature differentials. However, providing a mirror that can be focused provides a means of harvesting vast amounts of clean solar energy to displace the use of fossil fuels. Each mirror would potentially provide about one megawatt of power per day. Per day because most of the satellites will spend half their life in the shade of the Earth. So on average their day is proportional to our day in terms of energy production.

These mirrors can easily be a kilometer in diameter, or along a side, with only a very small amount of raw material. The mirror curvature should be actively controllable to compensate for varying forces created by solar winds and to allow focusing the mirror precisely. Small motorized weights can be used to control mirror position (see nonlinear 2-degrees of freedom control). By anticipating desired mirror angles the orbital trajectories can be actively calculated to provide a dynamically changing and overlapping mesh of mirror/shade structures to service most areas of the world (see Deep Thunder). The mirror sails its trajectory as the solar winds impart forces upon the mirror and accelerates or decelerates the mirror in an elliptical orbit around the Earth. Through coordinated use of many of these mirrors, the weather of an area can be actively controlled; and with many such groupings, globally.

The mirrors are not geo-synchronous! They orbit and change trajectories through computer coordination. They either position themselves to allow the passage of the Sun’s rays, or like a valve, turn to block the passage of the Sun’s rays and direct the light where needed; perhaps out into space. By having continuously overlapping trajectories, the system of mirrors provides a greying and smoothing effect where small changes spread out along an area so that positive control of weather extremes is maintained, but not noticeably from day to day. Weather would be published in advance like “TV Guide” for television.


Method of Production:

Raw materials from Earth, or harvested in space, are transported to a space-based factory that assembles/deploys/maintains the mirrors. (perhaps in the vicinity of a space elevator)

Stage 1: Centrifugal Mirror Stator

The radiation resistant mirror substrate is created by any number of different processes. For instance, in the vacuum and micro-gravity of space, extruding compounds can be performed very precisely.

A motor turns a hub six feet in diameter at some slow speed (extrusion under centrifugal force). A precision non-stick variable slot is machined continuously around the outside edge of the hub along its radius. A large pipe-like void is created connecting the slot at the edge of the hub, with a rotary joint to supply the mirror substrate compound (all machined on Earth). The heated and/or epoxy mixture of compounds is extruded into the slowly rotating cavity where it is pushed out through the outside precision slot (done in orbit). The centrifugal force pulls the compound out to a growing radius. The liquid compound has a high surface tension and holds together like a soap bubble.

The liquid compound is not conductive but has metal particulate to help shield the control elements on the opposite side of the mirror from ionizing radiation, and to provide electrostatic elements for pushing and pulling on during manufacture.

The rotation rate of the hub decreases as the extruded compound begins to solidify on its journey away from the center of the extrusion hub to limit the centrifugal forces. The temperature and/or hardening agent of the mixture is actively controlled to time the events so that the entire sheet sets up into a solid at the same moment, or at a rate where the inside edge solidifies at a slightly faster rate then the outside edge of the extrusion.

The hub is then disconnected from supply apparatus and the hub is used as the physical structure to house the control/communications package. The thickness of the membrane is thicker near the hub to support the local loading and bending moments. The extrusion slot is made adjustable to actively control the membrane thickness during its extrusion.

The liquid compound supply apparatus is removed from the hub. The mirror membrane is now permanently attached to the center hub. The compound supply apparatus is fitted with another hub and a new mirror substrate begins its manufacturing process.

Stage 2: Electrostatic Force Strain Apparatus (EFSA)

In space there are solar winds to apply forces to the mirror substrate while it is being manufactured. These forces are small but they need to be neutralized to prevent the mirror from having blemishes (wrinkles) in its surface.

The EFSA is laid parallel to the rays of the Sun. The rotating mirror substrate is maneuvered into the center of the EFSA. The EFSA is energized and the rotating mirror substrate is slowed to a stop.

The mirror would normally spin while in operation and the tendency of the mirror would be to flatten out. But during construction, the centrifugal forces would increase the complexity of applying the coatings and control elements.

Two parallel meshes of small ultra fine wires are formed in space in a large diameter; connected at the outer edges by rigid structures. The wires are charged with varying polarities in each opposing array, imparting controllable forces between the wire mesh arrays, and upon the mirror substrate. Through control of differential electrostatic charges, the basic shape of a mirror substrate laying between the mesh arrays can be automatically shaped by pushing and pulling on the mirror substrate surfaces. This allows for working on the mirror without centrifugal forces.

Stressing the wire mesh by differential electrostatic potentials provides an active control mechanism to remove the “wrinkles” of the mirror while applying the coatings and mechanical control elements to the mirror substrate.

Atomized materials are dispersed by electrostatic application, similar to powder coatings. Layered coatings are applied to the control side of the mirror substrate to create the active control elements for focusing the mirror.

A reflective coating is applied onto the reflective side of the mirror substrate.

Piezo-electric compounds (particulate under electromagnetic stress) and conductive pathways are preferentially applied. Metal particles are sprayed to provide the conductive pathways using electrostatic application. Capacitive components, charged networks, and common ground shielding provides piezo force stability in the ionizing radiation environment.

Alternatively, piezo-electric materials or nano-tube muscle wires, and the electrical pathways can be embedded in the mirror substrate as it is being extruded. However, the expansion rates of the liquid substrate must be taken into account.

Alternate Control Scheme:

MEMS technology allows for trillions of small devices to be produced that can be preferentially oriented as they are sprayed onto the mirror substrate. A loop of nanotubes can be addressably controlled from energy collected by induction near adjacent embedded wires. These loops can increase or decrease in diameter whenever the RFID-like device recieves a signal with it’s address. To compare an example, 36 unique addresses uniquely describe coordinates separated every 3 feet in the United States.

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The control elements allow the active control of the surface of the mirror to provide precision control over the light reflected. In this way, even with imperfections in manufacturing and minor damage from space debris, the majority of the mirror will still function as designed.

The center of the mirror, the hub, is then outfitted with a mechanical control and communications package. A series of criss-crossed wires provide the electrical connections for controlling the piezo-electric manipulation elements. A gasketed pressurized cabin clamps around and through the hub to allow technicians to make the electrical connections and mount control hardware, free of space suits.

A small portion of the mirror is made into a solar array to power the mechanism, or a solar array is attached directly to the control/communication package. The intent is to have thousands of these mirrors, so most likely the mirror will sail its trajectory. Manufacturing thousands of mirrors would be like manufacturing thousands of cars. Mass production techniques makes this practical.

To create a somewhat rigid surface, the mirror may or may not be caused to rotate. Causing a tightening of the surfaces similar to what happens to a string, when slinging a weight on the end of that string in a circular path.

Once set into rotation, mirrors may be coated with different chemicals to cause different frequencies of light to be reflected, or limit the angle of reflection to allow further control of the reflected light and perhaps provide additional protection for the mirror surfaces. Different versions of mirrors would be uniquely designed for certain performance characteristics. For instance:

  • A prizm-like effect is produceable by using various coatings. This might reflect both low and high frequency light away from the Earth, while pouring only the visible spectrum of light onto an area on the Earth.
  • Infrared might be selected specific to providing ground-based solar collection stations with power. The infrared spectrum would allow producing power even in mildly clouded conditions.
  • Perhaps the direct conversion of photons into microwave energy.
    http://smartech.gatech.edu/bitstream/1853/16111/1/Boechler_Nicholas_S_200705.pdf

Calibration of the mirror is accomplished by precisely positioning lasers stationary to the mirror hub and rotating the mirror. As the laser beam passes over the mirror surface the deviation of the reflection is recorded and the piezo electric (or other control) elements are manipulated to compensate. The mirror is then calibrated for flatness, and specific desired curvatures as anticipated for its anticipated orbital trajectories.

Once deployed, a robotic system can rendevous with mirrors to autonomously check calibration. This is a natural consequence of technology.

Methods of Application:

Additional solar energy higher in the atmosphere may provide for clear skies to allow more radiation from the surface to escape into space; cooling effect.

Mirrors reflect light away from the Earth; cooling effect.

Mirrors illuminate a portion of the Earth; heating effect.

Almost all weather is a function of temperature differentials.


Potential Benefits:

Control of flight related weather windows.

Far less weather related damaged infrastructure here on Earth (almost a trillion dollars saved annually)

This system provides more opportunities for space-based industries to develop.

Global Warming is REVERSED and controlled (all weather controlled).

Produces an abundance of clean energy; more than is presently used on the entire planet; virtually eliminating all human produced greenhouse gas emissions.

Commercial enterprise and space-based industry collaborate while the Government provides ethical oversight.

Emergency rescue resources; rain and retarding winds over forest fires, light during the night for rescue operations, passive reflectors for communication efforts, globally dispersed sensor systems, …


Potential Detractor:

Building the Weather Control System is inexpensive because it has immediate payback potential. However, misuse of the system could permanently damage micro-environments. An Ethical Oversight Committee would need to be put in place to ensure ethical use and implementation of induced weather phenomena.

Of particular importance is that an unstable condition is not created whereby the loss of the mirror system from an extraordinarily large solar flare or asteroid field strikes would cause environment failures on Earth. We must maintain naturally stable environments, and just use the WCS to make minor adjustments to prevent momentary out of control failure of our environments.

If a large volcano erupts, a small asteroid strikes the Earth, or the Earth’s magnetic field flips, we would be able to optimize the weather until the natural balances are restored.

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