There's also the risk of going too far: If someone were to "turn down" the sun too much, it could have dire impacts on earth's global climate. That conjures images of movie villains and freeze machines — and to someone motivated enough, maybe they could do it.
"You can imagine some James Bond scenario where an evil scientist says, 'If you don't do what I demand, I'll freeze the planet,'" MacMartin says. "Technically, yes, it's possible to do that. But I guess it's just not something I worry about."
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Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.