part 5 and it just keeps getting better-
here are some sample pics and text from this amazing installment-
Since “Moon with a View” was originally posted, reaction has been varied – to say the least!
Some, on reading, have become intrigued. Others are repelled. And some, typified by this truly wondrous comment on “Coast to Coast AM” a few
nights ago – “This time Hoagland has really walked off the cliff!” – are simply, as the phrase goes, “out to lunch.”
Fundamental to many criticisms of this theory is the scale of the construction we’re proposing. These critics see the entire idea of an
“artificial moon” – and one almost a thousand miles across -- as totally preposterous, mainly because of the size of such an undertaking. What
they forget is that some of these (artificial world) ideas are actually quite old … and increasingly achievable – even (as you will see) within
the constraints of current technology and physics!
Their most famous incarnation is, in major part, due to Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies’ professor, Dr. Freeman Dyson.
Almost half a century ago, Dyson published a remarkable idea in the prestigious mainstream journal, Science [Dyson, F. J. "Search for Artificial
Sources of Infrared Radiation," Science, 131, 1667 (1959)] – which described something termed a “Dyson Sphere.” Dyson ended his Science paper
with the following conclusion:
“I think I have shown that there are good scientific reasons for taking seriously the possibility that life and intelligence can
succeed in molding this universe of ours to their own purposes [emphasis added]
In Dyson’s 1950’s calculations, he envisioned huge, artificial planets -- built from the “disassembly” of a star’s natural planetary system,
and its subsequent reassembly into a vast number of smaller, precisely engineered artificial worlds. The resulting “Dyson Sphere,” in Dyson’s
speculations, seemed the largest artificial structures that an advanced civilization could probably ever technologically create. And as such, he
believed, they might even be observable light years away, with our “primitive” technology from Earth ….
In this classic Science paper, Dyson was suggesting that such extraordinary objects – by literally englobing an entire solar system in a swarm of
artificial “worlds,” thereby trapping almost all the parent sun’s emitted light and converting it to heat -- would glow brilliantly in the
infrared region of the spectrum ... thus giving themselves away even in Earth’s 20th/21st Century telescopes, as “artificially modified star
Dyson’s inspiration for this extraordinary idea (as was Arthur C. Clarke’s for many of his …) ultimately derived from famed science fiction
writer, Olaf Stapledon – in particular, his 1937 classic, “Star Maker”:
… As the eons advanced, hundreds of thousands of worlds were constructed, all of this type, but gradually increasing in size and
complexity. Many a star without natural planets came to be surrounded by concentric rings of artificial worlds. In some cases the inner rings
contained scores, the outer rings thousands of globes adapted to life at some particular distance from the Sun ….
Since Dyson’s pioneering publication of his “outrageous” speculation some 50 years ago, other workers have followed up with a variety of
additional scenarios. All agree that, given enough time and current technological advancement, even our own terrestrial civilization could construct
the beginnings of a “baby” Dyson sphere (see schematic - below), perhaps in the next hundred or so years. The key is in those terms: “time”
… and “technological development.”
In other words -- a 900-mile-wide, C60 “fullerene?!”
Amazing as it may sound, there is actual human precedent for this idea: embodying the geometry of the material used in constructing a particular
monument … in the monument’s final macro-geometric form! The most striking example of this practice (before Iapetus, that is …) was brought to
my attention several years ago, by my good friend and colleague, Stan Tenen.
Stan pointed out that the Great Pyramid, located on the Egypt’s Giza Plateau, is composed primarily (except for a bit of granite “here and
there” inside …) of another carbon-compound known as “calcium carbonate” (CaCO3). Most folks know it better as “limestone.” It’s also
known as “calcite” -- the rock type that forms huge layers of the 70-million-year-old strata making up the Plateau, as well as much of the rest of
Egypt -- extending east, all the way to Indonesia ….
Huge blocks of calcium carbonate were quarried (not far from the Plateau …), and carefully shaped into the “six million tons of limestone blocks
…” that were then used to create a structure over 750 feet on a side and almost 500 feet high: the legendary Great Pyramid itself.
Stan, both to me and on the radio, noted that if you just look at the exterior geometry of the Great Pyramid (below), shaped visually by the three
angles it presents from any one side -- the 76-degree angle at the apex, and the two 52-degree angles where it touches the ground at the base -- you
will actually be looking at a giant replica of the same internal angles of the calcium carbonate crystal of which it is composed!!
In other words: the Great Pyramid – exactly like Iapetus in our scenario – is a demonstrable giant replica of the precise material that someone
used to build it!
Looked at in a larger context, creating a moon-sized “truncated icosahedron” would simply be the ultimate means of saying “five-sided/six-sided
symmetry is crucially important in the Universe ....”
* * *
Finally, a major, serendipitous aspect of this model is a completely integral explanation for Iapetus’ latest, fascinating mystery -- “the