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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Dyson Spheres - Thoughts, Pros & Cons

    A brief primer from Wikipedia:

    A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output. The concept is a thought experiment that attempts to explain how a spacefaring civilization would meet its energy requirements once those requirements exceed what can be generated from the home planet's resources alone. Only a fraction of a star's energy emissions reach the surface of any orbiting planet. Building structures encircling a star would enable a civilization to harvest far more energy.

    The first contemporary description of the structure was by Olaf Stapledon in his science fiction novel Star Maker (1937), in which he described "every solar system... surrounded by a gauze of light traps, which focused the escaping solar energy for intelligent use." The concept was later popularized by Freeman Dyson in his 1960 paper "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation". Dyson speculated that such structures would be the logical consequence of the escalating energy needs of a technological civilization and would be a necessity for its long-term survival. He proposed that searching for such structures could lead to the detection of advanced, intelligent extraterrestrial life. Different types of Dyson spheres and their energy-harvesting ability would correspond to levels of technological advancement on the Kardashev scale.
    The person they're named for:

    Fourteen questions/thoughts I had regarding this speculative technology, and some pros and cons.

    1. How practical are they?
    2. How soon could we possibly build them?
    3. What materials would be needed to build them?
    4. Is there enough matter in the solar system to build one?
    5. Are they a good idea?
    6. Stealth Dyson Spheres: what detection methods could a Dyson Sphere make itself invisible to, and what counter-measures could be used to penetrate the stealth?
    7. Freedom vs Confinement...
    8. Is it better to have free access to all the stars?, or:
    9. Would a Dyson Sphere retard the development and the ability for solar-wide civilization to adapt to unexpected challenges?
    10. Would a civilization go stir-crazy confined within a Dyson Sphere?
    11. Might confinement within a potentially undetectable Dyson Sphere one of the best defenses against other intelligent species, which may very well be hostile?, or:
    12. Would such confinement within a solar system be extremely risky - would a civilization, even within a Stealth Dyson Sphere, neglect interstellar travel and make themselves a sitting duck for an attack?
    13. A take on more money, more problems... more area to build on, more problems?
    14. Relativistic Kill Vehicles vs. Dyson Spheres - how would a Dyson Sphere defend itself against the ultimate planet-killing terror weapon?
    Last edited by Ironduke; 16 May 18, at 04:45.
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