Dyson Spheres

The material factors which ultimately limit the expansion of a technically advanced species are the supply of matter and the supply of energy. At present the material resources being exploited by the human species are roughly limited to the biosphere of the earth, a mass of the order of 5 X 10^19 grams. Our present energy supply may be generously estimated at 10^20 ergs per second. The quantities of matter and energy which might conceivably become accessible to us within the solar system are 2 X 10^30 grams (the mass of Jupiter) and 4 X 10^33 ergs per second (the total energy output of the sun).

The reader may well ask in what sense can anyone speak of the mass of Jupiter or the total radiation from the sun as being accessible to exploitation. The following argument is intended to show that an exploitation of this magnitude is not absurd. First of all, the time required for an expansion of population and industry by a factor of 10^12 is quite short, say 3000 years if an average growth rate of 1 percent per year is maintained. Second, the energy required to disassemble and rearrange a planet of the size of Jupiter is about 10^44 ergs, equal to the energy radiated by tlhe sun in 800 years. Third, the mass of Jupiter, if distributed in a spherical shell revolving around the sun at twice the Earth's distance from it, would have a thickness such that the mass is 200 grams per square centimeter of surface area (2 to 3 meters, depending on the density). A shell of this thickness could be made comfortably habitable, and could contain all the machinery required for exploiting the solar radiation falling onto it from the inside.

It is remarkable that the time scale ozf industrial expansion, the mass of Jupiter, the energy output of the sun, and the thickness of a habitable biosphere all have consistent orders of magnitude. It seems, then, a reasonable expectation that, barring accidents, Malthusian pressures will ultimately drive an intelligent species to adopt some such efficient exploitation of its available resources. One should expect that, within a few thousand years of its entering the stage of industrial development, any intelligent species should be found occupying an artificial biosphere which completely surrounds its parent star.


The energy and time required to dismantle a planet and turn it into a biosphere surrounding a sun.

Folksonomies: astronomy extraterrestrials

/business and industrial/energy/electricity (0.192468)
/society/work/unemployment (0.192041)
/business and industrial/energy/renewable energy (0.145985)

technically advanced species (0.964437 (positive:0.212929)), present energy supply (0.904448 (neutral:0.000000)), total energy output (0.903088 (positive:0.299808)), average growth rate (0.886091 (neutral:0.000000)), ozf industrial expansion (0.863562 (neutral:0.000000)), intelligent species (0.832014 (positive:0.327525)), Jupiter (0.788049 (positive:0.244017)), habitable biosphere (0.756188 (neutral:0.000000)), Dyson Spheres (0.735702 (positive:0.638348)), artificial biosphere (0.731302 (positive:0.267044)), mass (0.719895 (positive:0.244017)), material factors (0.693681 (positive:0.212929)), Malthusian pressures (0.689005 (positive:0.388005)), efficient exploitation (0.687342 (positive:0.388005)), human species (0.681284 (neutral:0.000000)), reasonable expectation (0.680971 (positive:0.392971)), square centimeter (0.677715 (neutral:0.000000)), following argument (0.675527 (negative:-0.607524)), material resources (0.671204 (neutral:0.000000)), spherical shell (0.662652 (positive:0.327033)), total radiation (0.662252 (positive:0.244017)), surface area (0.661345 (neutral:0.000000)), parent star (0.652260 (positive:0.267044)), available resources (0.651589 (positive:0.388005)), grams (0.650574 (positive:0.480275)), consistent orders (0.649850 (neutral:0.000000)), industrial development (0.648370 (neutral:0.000000)), sun (0.646947 (positive:0.358383)), solar radiation (0.641526 (negative:-0.297001)), thickness (0.564432 (positive:0.343190))

energy supply:FieldTerminology (0.862216 (neutral:0.000000)), solar radiation:FieldTerminology (0.580651 (negative:-0.297001)), solar system:FieldTerminology (0.528904 (positive:0.480275)), thousand years:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 3000 years:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 1 percent:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 200 grams:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 800 years:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 19 grams:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 3 meters:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 30 grams:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 20 ergs:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 33 ergs:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000)), 44 ergs:Quantity (0.528904 (neutral:0.000000))

Sun (0.949836): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Solar System (0.727225): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Energy (0.706335): dbpedia | freebase
Mass (0.698574): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Earth (0.667052): dbpedia | freebase
Light (0.585435): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Jupiter (0.511731): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Planet (0.508515): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation
Periodicals>Journal Article:  Dyson , Freeman J. (Jun. 3, 1960), Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation, Science, New Series, Vol. 131, No. 3414 (Jun. 3, 1960), pp. 1667-1668, Retrieved on 2014-03-16
Folksonomies: astronomy extraterrestrials


16 MAR 2014

 Dyson Spheres and Their Detection

Dyson Spheres > Additional Support/Evidence > Seeing Dyson Civilizations
Folksonomies: speculation astronomy
Folksonomies: speculation astronomy