How to Build a Dyson Sphere - The Ultimate Megastructure-Renewabe Energy solution

The history of humanity is told by the energy we use. First we had to use our muscles then we learned to control the fire. We industrialized the world using coal and oil and entered the Atomic Age when we learned to separate a nucleus. At each stage we increased our energy harvest on a scale never seen before and advanced as a species.

 Currently, we are slowly making the transition to renewable energy and if we are lucky, fusion energy will become viable in the future. As Humanity progresses, if we don't destroy ourselves or our habitat, we will possibly gain total control of the resources of our planet. At the moment, we're probably going to start looking at new places to expand. But space is complicated, and to establish a serious human presence in the solar system will require immense amounts of energy. Fortunately, we know where to find it: The Sun. The ultimate source of energy.

 A furnace 100 quintillion times more powerful than our most efficient nuclear power plant. It shines with the energy of one trillion nuclear bombs per second.

 How do we get this energy?

 Not a little, all of it. If we want to collect as much physical energy as possible, we're going to have to build the largest ambitious structure in the universe: Dyson's Sphere .A megastructure that encompasses an entire star to capture its energy output. For an intelligent species, building a Dyson Sphere is a technological leap comparable to the discovery of fire for our ancestors.

 The transition from a planetary species to an interstellar species. It would usher in an age of exploration and expansion on a scale that you cannot imagine. So what would it look like? A solid shell enveloping the Sun is probably not the right way. A large rigid structure like that would be vulnerable to impact and could break. It could be deflected and crash into the Sun.

Dyson Swarm : An improvement : Approximation and estimation

 A more viable design for the Dyson Sphere could be a Dyson Swarm, a huge set of orbiting panels that harvest the power of the Sun and spread it elsewhere. Such a swarm would give humanity unlimited energy. But building it will not be easy. The Sun is very big so we need a lot of satellites. If each satellite measures 1 km², we would need about 30 quadrillion to surround the Sun. Even if they are built as lightly as possible, we need 100 quintillion tonnes of material. And then we need the energy to put the parts together and to deliver them to their positions around the Sun. In addition to all this, we need permanent infrastructure installed in space to start building.Let's assume for the purposes  that our descendants will take care of it and will want to create the megastructure.

The challenges can be classified into three categories: materials, design and energy.

To get the vast amount of material required for our Dyson Swarm, we're going to have to disassemble an entire planet. Among the available planets, Mercury is the best candidate. It is the closest to the Sun and it is very rich in metals. Close to the Sun also means fewer trips. And Mercury has no atmosphere and has only a third of the Earth's surface gravity making it comparatively easy to launch materials into space. Then we will have to consider the design of our swarm. The simpler the better. Conventional solar panels are too complicated and short-lived.

 Our satellites need to operate without repairs or interventions for astronomically long periods and they need to be inexpensive to produce. They will surely look like huge mirrors which will refocus the Sun's rays on collection centers like concentrated solar power plants on Earth. To build and launch them effectively, they should be incredibly light and made with a little more polished metal bonded to a support. And finally, we need the energy to launch the swarm itself.

 Take a game to a planet and launch things into space requires an enormous amount of energy. For example, if we used all of the fossil fuels and uranium on Earth and if we were perfectly efficient, we could only launch the mass of Mount Everest into space. Rather a meager accomplishment compared to the planetary disassembly.

To get the energy to build a Dyson Sphere, it's almost like you need the energy that a Dyson Sphere produces. But it's not big deal. There are many rays of Sun to be obtained on Mercury. So let's get to work. Humans are expensive to keep alive and are very sensitive to their surroundings, so we want to automate as much as possible. Ideally, we will have a small crew of controllers who oversee an autonomous machine army who do the job .

Four parts of technology required: solar collectors, miners, refineries and launch equipment.

Solar collectors will give us the energy we need to disassemble the planet. To start, we can deploy 1 km² in the form of a mirror or traditional solar panels. They will produce the energy to operate our miners who will mine the surface of the planet and our refineries which will extract the precious elements and manufacture our satellites. To send them into space we need a creative and effective solution. Rockets are too expensive and complicated to desorb and reuse.

Instead, we will use some kind of electromagnetic gun. A long electromagnetic track that will launch our satellites at high speed. Our swarm satellites will be well packaged for launch and will deploy like a huge origami once in orbit. From this point, we can take advantage of an exponential growth using energy from parts of the swarm existing to build more infrastructure on Mercury and launch new panels faster and faster.

 Each panel provides the energy to build another.

 These will work together to build the next two. Four becomes eight. Eight becomes sixteen. And so on. In 60 doublings, the Sun would be completely surrounded by solar panels And it can happen quickly. If 1 km² of solar collectors takes a month to build, we could have finished in a decade. If only our infrastructure on the surface of the planet tracks the increase in the energy budget. Just collect 1% of the sun's energy is an incredible change for the energy budget of our species .

We could create the infrastructure to transport an unlimited amount of energy in the solar system for all kinds of projects, Colonies on other worlds, Terraform planets, Build more megastructures, Or even travel to other stars. It could be the beginning of an interstellar civilization. Based on physics alone, it's not just possible, but easy. It's such a simple process and a necessary step for any species to extend beyond their native planet that many astronomers think there are probably Dyson Spheres already existing in the Milky Way.

 We haven't spotted any yet, but there may be. It is far from certain that Humanity will reach this point. Too often our attention is focused on short-term political gains and conflicts that won't make a difference in the long run. But if we survive the challenges we have imposed on ourselves, we could potentially become the first species in the universe to create a structure at the scale of a star. If we do, the only remaining limit will be our imagination .

Post a Comment