In Search of Dyson Spheres and Mortality

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posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 03:23 AM
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A universe turned inward




"Imagine the energy crisis of a really advanced planetary civilization. They've used up all their fuels, they depend on solar power. An enormous amount of energy is generated by the local star, but most of the star's light doesn't fall on their planet. So perhaps, they would build a shell, to surround their star, and harvest every photon of sunlight. Such beings, such civilizations, would bear little resemblance to anything we know."
Carl Sagan

Back in 1960 Freeman Dyson began to consider the facts of death on a planetary scale. Like a candle, our beautiful Sun will run down and the energy we need to keep living will fade away with it. In dramatic terms we’ll be in the cold against the silence of space and alone in our little backwash of the galactic arm. At such a time, alone or not, life on Earth will experience a long, drawn-out extinction event that will span millennia. Will we let it?

Based on our current knowledge, this is the fate of all planetary systems – all stars die and their civilisations with them. Say hello to entropy!

Dyson scratched his head and he ummed and ahhhed for a while before coming up with the concept of Dyson Spheres. There are many variations on this concept although it’s essentially about closing the windows and doors to keep the heat in. He imagined a civilisation constructing a sphere, or cloud of stations, around their sun to trap as much of its diminishing energy as they could. Clever enough and possibly something that’s unavoidable for civilisations to endure? I guess that depends on a million other events such as access to space travel, exotic energy or visits from the ‘neighbours.’



Speaking of neighbours, we’ve been pressing our ears to the walls for years now and spying through the gaps of our metaphorical curtains. So far, nothing. Space seems mighty quiet right now. Well, if we had a civilisation within our galactic neighbourhood, what if they are already behind something like a Dyson Sphere? What if they are hunkered around the embers of their sun and we can’t see their ‘light’ or hear their ‘chatter?’

In science, we have that PITA called the 1st Law of Thermodynamics and its apocalyptic sister, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.. We could say it’s part of the reason why the Universe is *probably* doomed to a fading, cold death. It simply means that energy cannot be created or destroyed just converted into other forms. For our purposes, this means that our potential Dyson-dwellers can’t keep all the energy in a closed system…some has to escape by conversion in the mid infrared range.



Beginning last month, this is just what some scientists have set out to do. They’re looking for the signature of energy escaping from Dyson Spheres. Cool, huh?


That's because if Dyson Spheres exist, they promise to give off a very particular kind of heat signature, a signature that we should be able to see through our infrared telescopes. The solar energy collected by a Dyson Sphere would heat it, the same way that your computer heats up when it uses electricity. That heat would radiate off the sphere as infrared light rather than visible light. "A Dyson Sphere would appear very bright in the mid-infrared," Wright explained to me. "Just like your body, which is invisible in the dark, but shines brightly in mid-infrared goggles."
The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants

The search is intended to last for two years and might have more chance of success than SETI’s approach. Radio signals disperse and civilisations might only have brief windows (in galactic terms) where they generate the types of signals SETI are listening for. However, something like a Dyson solution would presumably be a stable system with a steady output of mid infrared radiation. Also, in theory, these potential systems could have life-spans of millions of years which would offer us much greater windows of opportunity.


Wright's group will have access to data that Fermilab's researchers could only dream of. They'll be scanning three different infrared sky surveys, including NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) (pictured up top) which is hundreds of times more sensitive than IRAS. They'll be looking for Dyson Spheres in our galaxy, but also for whole galaxies with excess waste heat -- galaxies that may contain a large number of stars enshrouded in technological megastructures.


Success for us would be a world-changing event. It’d be a joyous occasion to actually know that LIFE is out there and the Universe isn’t as quiet as we thought. However, spare a thought for what existence within a Dyson environment could be like. Psychologically, you’d live within a universe turned inwards and you’d be poking at the embers of a dying fire as the cold gets ever nearer. As much as we'll celebrate such an awesome discovery, it'd be like looking at our own inevitable death and that of our Sun.





posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 03:35 AM
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yet another concept I learned from star trek......I liked that episode, it brought back Scotty for a cameo. Good episode all around...

Oh yeah, I don't think we could ever build something like this. I don't think an advanced civilization could either. The sheer size of construction would take all the metal resources of several planets.....and we would have to hodgepodge all the different available materials so one side would be made of 10% aluminum, and right next to it 2% of the structure would be made of steel. You would end up using mud for crying out loud.

Unless you could develop a process where you introduced a small moon, and out of the other end or as the end result you got a pure metallic sphere you could chip away at. Like if you could detonate an explosion of some type of AN exotic process where all molecular composition of everything it touches was changed to a desired metallic composition. Like sand to glass from a nuke, but instead rock in general to hard , heat resistant metal.

There is the other side, you can't just build and make it a snug fit, you would need to leave several planetary orbits size room in between the shell and the sun. We are talking so much building material it is literally the whole earth, moon, and several others, ironed out and made paper thin to just hug it.

You might be able to use a smaller star, but I don't see the point. You could get more energy from our own, and just make the biggest solar panels you can....so what if some energy escapes out the other side.....you don't need that much. Unless you are trying to open a star gate for Destiny to gate to.....lol


edit on 7-10-2012 by BIHOTZ because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 04:53 AM
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reply to post by BIHOTZ
 
It's something of a scale we can barely comprehend isn't it? I agree that the business of building a Dyson Sphere could be approaching impossible due to energy requirements and limitations of available material...plus effects of gravity on such a mass.

In the article (The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants), they explore variations on the sphere. Imagine a multitude of stations surrounding the star like satellites are beginning to surround Earth? They'd have multiple functions, but typically serve to catch the star's energy.


So how do Wright and his team aim to find a Dyson Sphere? Though the word "sphere" summons to mind a solid structure, Wright says his team won't be looking for solid shells. "Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible," Wright told me. "It would probably have to be more like a swarm of collectors."
From linked article.

Artistic conception of possible 'Dyson Swarm.'

Travel between habitable moons and planets would be limited by technology and especially the proximity of suitable worlds or younger stars. I think the Dyson solution would therefore only be an option for a civilisation that was very isolated.

Another notable flaw in the Dyson concept is that if a civilisation could create swarms or spheres around dying stars, they might just as easily construct an artificial world around a younger, nearby star. Why commit to a dying star with so many more out there? Could we move one day? We've got 19 G-type stars within ~30 light-years.



posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 06:08 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


Hi Kandinsky , thought provoking thread

The Dyson sphere is a truly mind blowing concept , to encase a dying star and live within that environment must surely only be possible in the realms of science fiction but to surround a Star with energy collectors is in my view a practicable solution to unlimited energy provision .

Its a solution that I'm sure is our future and the first steps are being planned and prepared for at this time , could this be the first step to us building a Dyson style Solar array ... the futures bright , the futures Solar



I think the scientific search for Dyson sphere signatures in our Galaxy is an exiting prospect and shows that scientists do have the capability to think outside the box



posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 06:30 AM
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reply to post by gortex
 
Hiya mate, thanks for visiting this graveyard thread





I think the scientific search for Dyson sphere signatures in our Galaxy is an exiting prospect and shows that scientists do have the capability to think outside the box



Hell yeah! Setting aside the mysteries of UFO phenomena, right now we have zero evidence of life or intelligence elsewhere. There's not even a suggestion of something being out there beyond, what seems to us, an inevitable certainty. As such, it's a great ambition to keep searching with every means available. Now we can add this Dyson search to the SETI and Kepler methods.

Incidentally, if it was possible, I'd prefer our first consensus Contact to be at a great distance. For example the distance of time whereby something ancient and technological is discovered. Or the distance of space with the discovery of something Dysonesque.

On a deeper level, if there are civilisations out there, I wonder how they face up to entropy? No way to avoid it is there? Or is there?



posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 11:30 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky

Success for us would be a world-changing event. It’d be a joyous occasion to actually know that LIFE is out there and the Universe isn’t as quiet as we thought. However, spare a thought for what existence within a Dyson environment could be like. Psychologically, you’d live within a universe turned inwards and you’d be poking at the embers of a dying fire as the cold gets ever nearer. As much as we'll celebrate such an awesome discovery, it'd be like looking at our own inevitable death and that of our Sun.


Interesting perspective, but it seems kinda fatalistic for a Type II or III civilization...

S&F because your thread caused me to wonder whether a star needs to reach a certain point of stabilization or dying before the Dyson could be used reliably for a prolonged period. If such a ~1,000,000+/- year old species knows how this works, maybe they systematically 'seed' other systems w/DNA offspring (like us?)...

Such an advanced species may be capable of calculating how many dysfunctional eras or evolutionary hamster wheels it will take us to reach the level of technological maturation to achieve such efforts correlative to our galaxy’s interplanetary habitability and our sun’s life expectancy; upon which time, we too will have seeded other galaxies to continue the cycle of our species...

However their/our species ends-up evolving, this also seems to present a need to either evolve heartily or be able to genetically engineer-in cognitive adaptation, so that we can be combined with heartier evolutionary hominid ancestors to endure planetary hardships relative to whatever planet we end-up on during the lifespan of our star & evolution of our galaxy--if that makes any sense? Mainly, thanks for the thought provoking thread!



posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 06:10 AM
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Finding dyson spheres would be both good & bad.

1. Good: it means we are not alone in the universe. Life is more common than we thought.

2. Bad: why commit to yourself to a dying star unless you have no means to reach another star?

That is, if we find many dyson spheres, it may mean interstellar travel is extremely difficult or truly impossible. If they were interstellar capable, it is doubtful they'd go to such extremes to stay alive given the amount of working stars.

P.S I know about nothing goes faster than light, but there's still theories that don't violate that.



posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 07:09 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


What a waste of time and money looking for theses sci-fi objects the energy and materials required to build them is probably greater than the energy they would harvest.

Seriously if a race had the ability to build them it would be easier to travel in smaller ships and look for a new home!!



posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by wmd_2008
 
I'd say yes and no to your comments.

Yes it seems an irrational waste of energy to hang around a dying star when the technology, we'd expect, would be able to move to younger star-systems.

Then I'd also say no because I applaud such an ambitious project. It's the 'Big Search.' The one with the potential to shift our concepts of Life, the Universe and our place in it...the search for other lives.

Something like a Dyson Swarm might come into existence for reasons other than confinement to a single star-system; longevity of a home-world or perhaps a hub of broadening horizons? Who knows?

Making the effort to look *could* expose something else. I'm all for the attempt as it's better than never trying.



posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 02:47 PM
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All the work of a dyson sphere only to lose energy through heat? Idk ifi was that desperate I'd probably find a way to prevent that loss



posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 05:47 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 

was always interested in this but since hearing about ZPE it seems more than likely that would supply all the energy anybody ever needed to stay warm and travel around the universe



posted on Oct, 10 2012 @ 04:48 AM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by wmd_2008
 
I'd say yes and no to your comments.

Yes it seems an irrational waste of energy to hang around a dying star when the technology, we'd expect, would be able to move to younger star-systems.

Then I'd also say no because I applaud such an ambitious project. It's the 'Big Search.' The one with the potential to shift our concepts of Life, the Universe and our place in it...the search for other lives.

Something like a Dyson Swarm might come into existence for reasons other than confinement to a single star-system; longevity of a home-world or perhaps a hub of broadening horizons? Who knows?

Making the effort to look *could* expose something else. I'm all for the attempt as it's better than never trying.



The waste of time and money I was referring to was looking for these proposed objects !

Well lets refer back to the Star Trek episode it showed a sphere with a planetary orbit sized dia so how much material and how much mass!

That's the practical way to look at it
edit on 10-10-2012 by wmd_2008 because: (no reason given)





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