Big Thinker of Inflatable Weather Modification Mountains and Femtotechnology Ideas Has Died

Nextbigfuture has covered many of the ideas of Alexander Bolonkin. Bolonkin He was a Russian-American scientist and academic who worked in the Soviet aviation, space and rocket industries. He died on Christmas day 2020 at the age of 87.

Bolonkin held 17 patents. He proposed the idea of domed cities as a protection against nuclear weapons. He wrote papers on inflatable mountains, cable space launcher, a hypersonic tube launcher, a kinetic anti-gravitation system, a multi-reflex propulsion device, space towers, an electrostatic space sail, an electric ramjet space propulsion device, and the cable aviation device. He proposed AB-Matter femtotechnology.

Inflatable Mountains for Weather Control

Arxiv – Cheap Artificial AB-Mountains, Extraction of Water and Energy from Atmosphere and Change of Regional Climate by Alexander Bolonkin

Bolonkin’s idea is creating a cheap range of inflatable ‘mountains’ (really immense gasbags) from a thin film whose presence forces humid air (a wet wind) to rise to high altitude. It is well known that air expands and cools at altitude. The air humidity decreases, exceeds the maximal saturation level and superfluous water vapor condenses in various forms, including rain or rain clouds.

The top of the gasbags’ film is located at an altitude of ~3 – 5 km. It is supported at this altitude by a small additional air pressure produced by ground ventilators. The film is connected to Earth’s ground by controlled cables, which allow some change in the height and orientation of the artificial mountain(s). The gasbag’s external surface may require double-layer film. We can control the heat conductivity of the dome cover by pumping an air between two layers of the dome cover and change the solar heating (solar radiation) by control of cover clarity or pumping a warm air between layers if icing-over or show is at the dome top. That allows selecting for different conditions (solar heating) in the covered area and by pumping air into the dome.

The building of a film dome is very easy. The collapsed film is spread out over Earth’s surface, turn on the pumping propellers and the film is raised by air overpressure to the needed altitude limited by the support cables. Damage to the film is not major trouble because the additional air pressure is very small (0.005 – 0.05 atm) and air leakage is compensated for by the air impellers.

The UAE and the Netherlands have given serious study the inflating mountain concept.

Dome Cities Versus Nuclear Weapons and Missiles

Nextbigfuture looked at making two large concrete or nanomaterial monolithic or geodesic domes over cities that could protect a city from nuclear bombs.

Alexander Bolonkin idea was for a cheaper, technological easy approach with thin-film inflatable domes.

It not only would provide protection from nuclear devices it could be used to place high communication devices, windmill power and a lot of other money-generating uses. The film mass covered of 1 km**2 of ground area is M1 = 2×10**6 mc = 600 tons/km**2 and film cost is $60,000/km**2.

Bolonkin also had the concept of placing small stones onto an air-inflated dome. If a missile hit the film, then the kinetic energy of the missile would slam many stones into the missile as it was passing through the inflated dome.

FemtoTechnology Beyond Nanotechnology

Bolonkin tried to figure out ways to bootstrap to the point where we could engineer with protons and neutrons. It was an interesting conceptual exercise.

Stable Femtotech Matter:

The necessary condition (prerequisite LAW) of stability the AB-Matter are the following:)
The number of protons must be less than approximately 90 into a local sphere of the radius of 3 femtometers at any point within AB-Matter.

2) The number of nucleons must be less than approximately 240 into a local sphere of the radius of 3 femtometers ( 6 femtometers diameter) at any point within AB-Matter.

3) AB-Matter contains a minimum of two protons.


Bolonkin was intellectually fearless. He was willing to try solve big problems with big ideas. He had a grounding in current engineering, science, physics and aviation. He was willing to see where he could push the limits to generate interesting concepts and proposals. His ideas were also fun and interesting. Even if there were flaws, Bolonkin had explored out-of-the-box solutions that could become the basis for new implemented ideas. Nextbigfuture enjoyed his writings and ideas and will continue to his fearless push for big ideas and solutions.

Written By Brian Wang,