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Dyson Sphere: A Close Reality?

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How far do you think modern engineering and astrophysics are from constructing a fully operational Dyson Sphere, given economic issues, man power, limitation of modern day science?

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I discovered the Dyson Sphere concept just a week or two ago. Jonathan Hickman wrote about them in Avengers issue 9 this month. That's completely trivial, but found the concept fascinating. Sadly I couldn't begin to estimate how far away we are from attempting such a thing, or if we ever will. Would love to see it happen though.

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How far do you think modern engineering and astrophysics are from constructing a fully operational Dyson Sphere, given economic issues, man power, limitation of modern day science?

 

 

About as far away as your average cow is from actually jumping over the Moon.

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How far do you think modern engineering and astrophysics are from constructing a fully operational Dyson Sphere, given economic issues, man power, limitation of modern day science?

 

We need to start mining off-planet and using the ore we find to build more bases to build more stuff off-planet. We'll need to do that for at least half a century to build up infrastructures that make it more economical. I'd say you'd need a couple of centuries of this type of economy to explore the space around which a Dyson sphere would fit. That's a lot of space.

 

The real factor here is need. The surface area and energy provided by a Dyson sphere is staggering, on the order of 600 million times that of Earth. How long would it take our species to reach a point where that much area and energy was a big consideration? It won't get built before then.

 

Such a project would be the ultimate human undertaking, requiring a degree of cooperation and communication that would be truly worthy of our species' capabilities.

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I think Phi is right — we have the basic engineering ability to do this now, but we lack infrastructure and we lack the driving need to do it. Our current energy needs are orders of magnitude smaller than what terrestrially collected solar could provide.

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Screw reality, use a 3d physics engine (Or make one) and build it yourself. Hell, doing that if you are successful in a simulation, plan for one to be built. Good sir, you are the harbinger of your destiny. If you would like to see a Dyson sphere then think it to reality! eyebrow.gif

 

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Edited by JapethMontenegr

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I think Phi is right — we have the basic engineering ability to do this now, but we lack infrastructure and we lack the driving need to do it. Our current energy needs are orders of magnitude smaller than what terrestrially collected solar could provide.

 

If the whole planet could agree this was the best, most efficient path to take, we could require everything to be built so it interconnects with everything else. We could build bigger bases and bring them together when the time was right. Eventually. we'd have started a ring world.

 

It makes me wonder, When offworld exploration explodes in the future, will the Dyson sphere concept become the conservative path? It's based on the tradition of getting the most out of any system you work with, and progress with as little radical change as possible. It's a simple (not easy), scalable solution that requires a great deal of methodical effort and long term plans. But will current conservatives ever let us get to that point?

 

Right now it's hard to get nations to agree to codes of conduct for space, and sharing technology specifications is very touchy. The country that comes up with a successful autonomous robotic mining vehicle is going to redefine our whole existence, imo.

 

I just think there will probably be some discoveries that will take us further out, and the focus on building a Dyson sphere around our home star will be scattered by so many directions to go and things to find. History tells us it's very likely we'll spread outward as fast as we can rather than focusing our efforts so close to home for as long as it would take to build a DS.

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As much as I am suspect of "the market will provide", I think that by the time it becomes necessary to gather solar energy from a ring of satellites, it will be because it's economically viable to do so. Either because of energy scarcity or cheap construction. We will already be mining asteroids, I think, which would be economically viable. I think it will be multinational companies, not nations, that drive it.

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Like Phi said, the real issue is need. I have 2 "need" reasonings:

1: At some point we will need to leave. I don't know if humanity will be around long enough for it to matter, but the Sun will begin expanding, and everyone in the solar system is going to have to abandon ship. At that point, the population of the solar system will far surpass human imagination: hundreds of billions of people need to leave, and it would take possibly millions of ships to get everyone out. So instead of building all those ships, the Sol system populus decides to build a massive Dyson ship. Massive in scope, everyone can get on board, and the sphere could support life: plants, animals, all that good stuff. Being self-sustaining, propulsion really isn't a problem. You don't need to be anywhere in a certain amount of time if you can take care of yourself. So, if humanity hasn't expanded outside the solar system, the shpere could float forever, and become the new cradle of humanity. If humanity has expanded its reach, another planet could be waiting to recieve the sphere, and that would be the end of that.

2: There is a problem on a galactic scale, and we need an escape. You could fix it by building a generation sphere, like mentioned above, and launch it out into intergalactic space. The other option is interdimensional sphere. In the Halo books, the authors go into detail to describe the Ark, as well as the Dyson sphere the group ends up in at the end of Ghosts of Onyx: they were designed to support an entire galaxy, and could be accessed through portals, leading to a parallel dimension which contained the sphere(s). This would solve a galactic threat, such as a malicious alien race (like the Covenant) or any other galaxy wide extinction event.

 

It would require more resources than we have now, so mining extraterrestrial bodies would be required. Building and designing wouldn't be impossible right now, but would be an interesting event to watch. If it does happen while I'm alive, I'd be honored to work on it.

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Wouldn't the Sun's deadly expansion take millions upon millions of years to affect us? I see the human race becoming extinct before we get to year 10000, its happened to every race, its going to happen to us too. I believe the Dyson Sphere argument is for when the population of Earth exceeds 15 billion, by then where going to need ALOT more power and materials...so they better start formulating now. BTW if your going to mine for asteroids, you might as well have unlimited power in space.

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More than two hundred years, fewer than ten thousand.

 

Edit: and as a geologist, thinking on a geological time scale, that translates into now.

Edited by Ophiolite

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