What Is A Dyson Sphere?

Throughout human history, how we consume and use energy has changed drastically. Over one million years ago, humanity first learned how to control fire. Today, our society is largely powered using fossil fuels, along with smaller amounts of renewables and nuclear energy. What we are capable of is limited by how much energy we have available. Imagine if we had a limitless amount of energy at our disposal. What would we be capable of? Colonies throughout the solar system and beyond would become entirely feasible. Humanity could become an interstellar civilization if its energy supply were limitless. Although it may sound like science fiction, in the future, we may have the energy of an entire star

Harnessing The Power Of A Star

Dyson sphere
                      Rendition of a Dyson Sphere surrounding a star. NASA

Imagine if we could harness the entire energy output of a star. In 1960, the physicist and astronomer Freeman Dyson imagined just that. As a thought experiment, he created the concept of the Dyson Sphere. This large sphere would theoretically encompass an entire star within it, absorbing the entire energy output of the star. Although he only theorized this idea for more advanced civilizations elsewhere in the universe, we can imagine a future where humanity has the technology to accomplish such a task. In the far future, we will likely have developed far more advanced and different forms of technology than we use today.

If technology advances enough, we could consider building a Dyson Sphere a feasible option. For now, we’ll ignore the economic implications this may have, and assume that we have the money and resources to build such a large structure. Rather than building a single structure around the sun, it would be a far better idea to encompass the sun in a vast amount of solar collecting satellites. It would potentially be a good idea for humanity to set up shop on nearby Mercury, where large bases can collect the energy absorbed by the satellites. Furthermore, the satellites themselves could be assembled on Mercury by advanced robotics technologies and sent into orbit around the sun as well. After the project’s completion, humanity will have the entire energy output of a star at their disposal. 

Dyson Spheres And Alien Life

Dyson Spheres can also be a tool in searching for intelligent life. Any advanced civilization that seeks to expand itself well beyond its solar system will need a limitless supply of energy to do so. Using all the energy of a star makes sense, and so maybe there are some stars in the universe encompassed within Dyson Spheres. It’s possible that one day, scientists may discover such a star.