Extravagance, Thy Name Is Humanity

mars

Scientists have revealed a provocative new theory of moving planets like Mars, pictured, into an orbit that would create habitable conditions through such methods as using a satellite’s gravitational pull. (NASA/GODDARD)

The plans were extravagant in the extreme. For centuries, the thought of creating a Dyson Sphere, that is, manufacturing an immense hollow ball around the Sun with the inner edge of the shell positioned at One AU or the exact distance of Earth’s orbit from its star was thought to be the absolute cure-all for every problem introduced on the mother planet by human beings. The inner surface area would capture one hundred percent of all generated solar energy, providing an all but inexhaustible amount of power and living space, so humanity would run out of neither.

One of the biggest drawbacks was that you’d have to cannibalize every other object in the solar system just for the raw materials, plus you would have to find a way to create the energy necessary for the manufacturing process. However, the engineering genius even to design such a fantastic structure didn’t exist among Earth’s best and brightest and probably never would.

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The Sphere

NASA

Image: NASA, JPL-Caltech

Kahve Coffee in Boise, Idaho, Earth

“A Dyson Sphere? Are you out of your mind, Chris?”

Mike and Chris met every other Sunday afternoon at Boise’s only Turkish coffee and tea emporium for delicious caffeine and conversation. A wide variety of topics were bandied about between them, including the latest action and superhero movies, vintage comic books, and science fiction novels, as well as real science and technology news.

“Yeah, I know! But it fits the observations made of the dimming and flickering of Tabby’s Star.” Both friends were reasonably grounded and able to separate fact from fantasy, but of the two, Chris was far more speculative.

“Look at this.” Chris did some quick manipulating of his smart phone to pull up a webpage, and then turned the screen towards Mike. “Kepler’s been taking images of Tabby’s for four years now. Right here…” Chris quickly flipped the screen so he could see it, making sure he was pointing to the right part of the news story, and then flipped it back, “it says that not only does the star’s luminosity vary, sometimes by as much as 20 percent, but the total luminosity also has been reduced by nearly four percent.”

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