# If you were to fire a laser or maser into space, how much of its energy would be lost to the atmosphere?

I'm very interested in knowing about how much energy would be lost to the atmosphere if you fired a laser or maser into space. I know the laser would probably diverge quite a bit over that distance, and the photons would probably lose a lot of their energy traveling through the medium of air. Just to be specific let's say the boundary to space is the Karman Line in this case (100km). The difference between a laser and maser is also important because of the absorption spectrum of the atmosphere.

The reason I'm curious about this is if you fired a powerful array of lasers or masers into the atmosphere powered by the heat in the atmosphere I'm curious how difficult it would be to provide a significant alteration to the effects of global warming, by moving excess energy into space.

• Google "absorption spectrum of the atmosphere" and you'll get dozens of references that can answer this question. May 17, 2020 at 3:43
• The answer to your final question woudl be "extraordinary difficult to a level you may not appreciate." The energy balances of a planet are massive. From one of my favorite pages on Wikipedia the energy of the sun striking the earth every day is something like 500x the total electricity use of the entire world for a year. Power on a planetary level is a thing to behold! May 17, 2020 at 5:49