Dyson Sphere, the Realities

  • There must be a stand-off distance between the surface of the pertinent star and the Dyson Sphere. That would be fairly large depending on the stability of the star and the technology available for construction in its vicinity.
  • For a variety of reasons; temperature, flares, available materials of construction, etc., it is reasonable to expect the stand-off distance to be as large as the radius of the star, or more.
  • Once you decide on this distance and the star you chose, you can calculate the surface area of the proposed Dyson Sphere.
  • The thickness of the Sphere would depend on the available technology. Let us suppose it is not much more than currently available solar cells, five centimeters or so.
  • A Sphere that large and that thin would be highly unstable structurally. The Sphere will in fact require much more structure in order to assure stability.
  • The volume of construction material required for this kind of device would probably exceed the total volume of any home planet. This would obviously depend on the radius of the Sphere, its construction, the size of the star and the resources of the home planet.
  • The materials required to construct the Sphere would consist of a specific set of elements; copper, silicon, zink and silver, used in solar panels. While silicon is abundant, silver is not. These and other elements such as iron required in the supporting structure of the Sphere’s construction would constitute just a fraction of these elements present on any home planet but even all of it would be just a fraction of the needs of the Sphere.
  • The builders of the Sphere would have to mine many other planets containing suitable resources, to construct the Sphere.
  • To do this they would have to journey to nearby planets or even other star systems and bring back vast quantities of refined materials. The materials would have to be refined in order to reduce the mass of material to be transported by factors as large as a thousand or more.
  • In order to refine the materials on distant planets there would have to be well equipped colonies and suitable industrial equipment at each source of the desired materials.
  • A mighty fleet of vessels would have to operate over a protracted period of time using locally available “traditional” energy resources of the home planet. Where else would they get the energy?
  • What would be the effect of such a device on the orbital dynamics of the system?
  • The Dyson Sphere would generate energy available only locally, or a relatively short distance from the source, not energy for use in distant space colonies or in interstellar transport.
  • If the Dyson Sphere is to satisfy only the needs of the home planet, what kind of energy demand can one imagine on the surface of the home planet. The vast energy resources that will be required are those to carry out exploration far from the home planet, not locally. Using all the Dyson-captured energy of the local star on the home planet would probably melt it! It would certainly make it uninhabitable. Talk about global warming!

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Bohdan Wojciechowski

Bohdan Wojciechowski

engineer, writer, scientist, professor