The Dyson Sphere and the Search for E.T.s

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Shield World Construction by Adam Burn

Freeman Dyson, a physicist, published a paper in the Science journal called, “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infra-red Radiation”. His hypothesis outlines a “Dyson Sphere”, which is a structure that envelops a star for its energy.

[blockquote]What does this mean for the search for intelligent life in the universe?[/blockquote]

Let’s say a planet, like our own, has used up all its energy. The next available energy source would be its mother star. They might build something around it that would harness the energy it emanates. That structure would give off infrared signatures that would be detectable by us. The infrared signature would be entirely unique and would provide a way for us to detect.

The issues around such an object involve lower levels of gravity, given that our own knowledge of physics is constant.

Now, we have another theory that expands upon Freeman’s own work. Ibrahim Semiz and Salim Ogur, from Bogazici University in Turkey, have defined a new class of Dyson sphere. This new class hypothesizes a sphere built around a white dwarf.

A white dwarf’s mass is similar to our own Sun, and it’s volume is similar to Earth. Its stored thermal energy gives off a faint luminosity. Our nearest white dwarf is Sirius B (Sirius A is much brighter in comparison) With what we know of white dwarfs, this is the final state of evolution of all known stars. It starts off very hot, then cools away its radiation. This process culminates into a theoretical black dwarf because the amount of time it would take to cool off would be almost 14 billion years (about the age of the universe).

The idea Semiz and Ogur talk about is if advanced civilizations survive the red giant and supernova stages, they would have the technology for a Dyson sphere. Also, the gravity from such a sphere would be similar to Earth.

Is this model something we aspire to when thinking about venturing off into space? Would finding this technosignature (evidence of advanced technology by aliens) lead to us thinking about astroengineering in a different way?

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Andrew Bliss is an award winning film maker and photographer with experience in writing, directing, producing, editing, and visual effects. He has lived all over the world including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Italy. He is a first generation Indonesian and a second generation Fin. He has over six years experience as a US Navy broadcast journalist. While in the Navy, he graduated top of his class, won several awards for his work in Europe and Africa, managed Marines at Combat Camera at the Pentagon, and produced a feature film. The film was produced in Italy while on active duty.

Prior to serving in the Navy, Andrew was a professional martial artist with numerous awards including Athlete of the Year (1999), International Champion (two years in a row), and was the first competitor to place first in seven events in international competition (two years in a row). He trained with the prestigious Beijing Wushu team and has over ten years experience as a coach and mentor.

After serving in the Navy, he taught for Apple, made several award winning short films, and earned a degree in Interactive Design. He is also an alumnus of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.