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The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants
The Atlantic ^ | 10/4/12 | Ross Andersen

Posted on 10/04/2012 9:46:47 PM PDT by LibWhacker

A team of astronomers is now looking for Dyson Spheres, massive star-scale solar power plants that extraterrestrial hunters hope alien civilizations employ

In 1960, mathematician, physicist, and all-around genius Freeman Dyson predicted that every civilization in the Universe eventually runs out of energy on its home planet, provided it survives long enough to do so. Dyson argued that this event constitutes a major hurdle in a civilization's evolution, and that all those who leap over it do so in precisely the same way: they build a massive collector of starlight, a shell of solar panels to surround their home star. Astronomers have taken to calling these theoretical megastructures Dyson Spheres. Dyson's insight may seem like nothing more than a thought experiment, but if his hypothesis is sound, it has a striking implication: if you want to find advanced alien civilizations, you should look for signs of Dyson Spheres.

Last month a trio of astronomers led by Penn State's Jason Wright began a two-year search for Dyson Spheres, a search that will span the Milky Way, along with millions of other galaxies. Their project was just awarded a sizable grant from the Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds research on the "big questions" that face humanity, questions relating to "human purpose and ultimate reality."

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science; UFO's
KEYWORDS: aliens; dyson; seti; spheres

1 posted on 10/04/2012 9:46:53 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: KevinDavis

Space Ping.


2 posted on 10/04/2012 9:49:30 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: LibWhacker

3 posted on 10/04/2012 9:51:02 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: LibWhacker

If they have vegetation with sufficiently good photosynthesis, they figure out how to harvest that, right on their own planet. Trying to surround their “sun” would be overkill.


4 posted on 10/04/2012 9:53:47 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: LibWhacker
The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants


5 posted on 10/04/2012 9:54:59 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson
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To: LibWhacker

I would think that if there were aliens in the vicinity that advanced we would have picked up EM transmissions from them by now. I believe there is life out there but one thing that troubles me is why haven’t we picked up their version of survivor or dancing with the stars. Or have we............


6 posted on 10/04/2012 10:01:46 PM PDT by albionin
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To: LibWhacker

Also the best way to find paybacks to liberal cronies.


7 posted on 10/04/2012 10:03:50 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: LibWhacker

aliens are probably smarter than humans and are laughing their ass off at us using solar and wind power!


8 posted on 10/04/2012 10:05:10 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: LibWhacker

9 posted on 10/04/2012 10:07:58 PM PDT by Daffynition (Self-respect: the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious. ~ HLM)
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To: dalereed

Their taxpayer subsidized solar equipment was probably obsolete before being deployed, but they can probably find suckers here to buy them if they don’t charge for delivery.


10 posted on 10/04/2012 10:10:20 PM PDT by clearcarbon
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To: LibWhacker

Seriously? There are theoretical sources of power that dwarf fusion, even on the stellar scale. By a LOT. Any truly advanced civilization would have developed one of them...


11 posted on 10/04/2012 10:12:22 PM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: albionin

EM transmissiona decohere within a few light years.


12 posted on 10/04/2012 10:14:21 PM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: LibWhacker

That massive array of collectors seems to be a nutty idea. If a civilization could build such an extensive assembly, it seems it would require massive amounts of raw materials. Ejecting so much mass from the planet would seem to lessen the mass of their home planet, maybe enough to alter its orbit, it’s weather, it’s time calculations and its long-term prospects. My guess is that all good environmentalists seek skittles-pooping unicorns whose magical waste is an energy source as well as a tasty snack.


13 posted on 10/04/2012 10:15:20 PM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: LibWhacker

There are no Dyson spheres anywhere in this galaxy or any other.

Looking for them is a fools errand.


14 posted on 10/04/2012 10:21:05 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: Sgt_Schultze

It could come from asteroids.


15 posted on 10/04/2012 10:31:15 PM PDT by MetaThought
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To: MetaThought

The unicorns?


16 posted on 10/04/2012 10:33:08 PM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: LibWhacker

Wow, I clicked on this thread wondering if Obama had established a subsidy for Illegals to set up solar panels.


17 posted on 10/04/2012 10:38:53 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: LibWhacker
**** The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants ****


Paid for by Obama's $ 90 Billion GREEN ENERGY policy

18 posted on 10/04/2012 10:39:52 PM PDT by American Constitutionalist
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To: LibWhacker; KevinDavis

erm...

Do you think there is enough matter in this whole solar system to actually build a real Dyson’s Sphere??


19 posted on 10/04/2012 11:13:34 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: John Valentine

Hex. By Alan Steele.

Maybe there are Dyson Spheres...

Ringworld. By Larry Niven.

If no spheres, maybe a partial.


20 posted on 10/04/2012 11:17:18 PM PDT by Dryman (Define Natural Born Citizen)
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To: LibWhacker

You want to find aliens, look no further than Congress.


21 posted on 10/04/2012 11:20:34 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Daffynition

Hellfire !

I’ve got three of those !!

Now if only I could harness that energy......


22 posted on 10/04/2012 11:28:30 PM PDT by onona (Taglines R Us)
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To: albionin
I would think that if there were aliens in the vicinity that advanced we would have picked up EM transmissions from them by now. I believe there is life out there but one thing that troubles me is why haven’t we picked up their version of survivor or dancing with the stars. Or have we............

The SETI project has been looking for signals from nearby stars that exhibit some non-random content that could be, for example, TV transmissions. The reruns of "I love Lgrzbyliy", "I dream of Jaxcryghie", "Grysbypwn's Island", and "Leave it to Bzaqqrytir" collected to date are apparently hilarious enough that they are keeping them to themselves so far.

23 posted on 10/04/2012 11:39:15 PM PDT by SFConservative
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To: Sgt_Schultze

If a civilization is building a Dyson Sphere, it doesn’t need to eject mass from planets. It will simply demolish them wholesale for the mass.

How to demolish a planet ?? Increase its’ spin rate until it starts coming apart. The means of doing so are left to the alert observer as an exercise. . .


24 posted on 10/05/2012 12:01:50 AM PDT by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border. I **DARE** you to cross it. . . .)
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To: LibWhacker

The Dyson sphere would be built from the material of the solar wind, and would also be supported by the solar wind, and so would be very light, sort of like a huge soap bubble.

But the whole idea is stupid, what would they need that much energy for?


25 posted on 10/05/2012 2:12:44 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Total englobement isn't really necessary. A simple band around the star would suffice. Larry Niven introduced the idea in his Ringworld books.


Here is a graphic with more information.
26 posted on 10/05/2012 2:32:10 AM PDT by jmcenanly ("The more corrupt the state, the more laws." Tacitus, Publius Cornelius)
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To: LibWhacker
The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants

I read an article posted here a month or two ago saying that there was a huge scope or scope array planned or under construction in South America (Peru?). This instrument would be capable of resolving mountains on exoplanets.

Well, if you can push optical astronomy that far, why not look for artificial city lights on the night side?

Granted- you're limited to such planets as you can resolve optically, which is a tiny fraction of what's likely out there- but with capability expanding all the time...?

27 posted on 10/05/2012 2:57:54 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Sgt_Schultze

If humans were to build a Dyson sphere, we would use all the matter in the solar system, not just a little bit of the Earth. Except that in the Sun, of course. Jupiter alone is over 300x the mass of the Earth.

Besides astonishing physical manipulation capabilities, building such a thing would require the ability to transmute matter, changing it into other elements, and probably to manipulate matter on the nano scale in massive quantities.

Not presently known to exist material is strong enough to build into a Dyson sphere.

No presently known material is strong enough to build


28 posted on 10/05/2012 3:20:55 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: SFConservative
The SETI project has been looking for signals from nearby stars that exhibit some non-random content that could be, for example, TV transmissions.

Many modern radio transmission methods are purposely designed to appear as random noise. Unless a receiver knew the random sequence patterns in use they'd never know there was any intelligence to them.

29 posted on 10/05/2012 3:47:41 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: LibWhacker

Seems more practical to build your own miniature star and use it for energy than to try to build a shell around an existing star.


30 posted on 10/05/2012 3:57:13 AM PDT by mamelukesabre
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To: jmcenanly

LOL. Whenever I see such depictions, my first recommendation is to visit some website that shows our solar system TRUE TO SCALE.

Be prepared to scroll a lot. And watch out you don’t miss the flyspeck that is planet earth. All the silly notions expressed in this thread will go right out the door, then. (It might also cause feelings of loneliness and insignificance - don’t worry, that’ll pass.)

The usual condensed models that look so tidy are an extreme disservice to the general public.


31 posted on 10/05/2012 4:59:19 AM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: Sherman Logan
If humans were to build a Dyson sphere, we would use all the matter in the solar system, not just a little bit of the Earth. Except that in the Sun, of course. Jupiter alone is over 300x the mass of the Earth.

Please see my post #31. It applies here as well.

32 posted on 10/05/2012 5:02:43 AM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: albionin

“I believe there is life out there but one thing that troubles me is why haven’t we picked up their version of survivor or dancing with the stars. Or have we............”

Perhaps human affairs ARE their version of the entertainments you cite. I recall a sci-fi short story titled “The Trouble With Bubbles.”


33 posted on 10/05/2012 5:07:59 AM PDT by headsonpikes (Mass murder and cannibalism are the twin sacraments of socialism - "Who-whom?"-Lenin)
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To: jmcenanly

Yah, but you gotta be able to make a lot of scrith.

A single continuous object is not needed. Just a huge number of BIG solar collectors orbiting the star, transmitting the energy to where it is needed via microwave or laser.


34 posted on 10/05/2012 5:18:44 AM PDT by Rifleman
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To: albionin

I should have known it was a Philip K. Dick story:

“The Trouble With Bubbles” is a 1953 science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. The story is set in a future where mankind has attempted to reach other intelligent lifeforms through space exploration, and found nothing. In light of this yearning to connect with other lifeforms, people can buy a plastic bubble known as a Worldcraft, the tagline of which reads “Own Your Own World!”. The owner of the Worldcraft is able to create a whole universe, controlling all the variables inherent to its development. Within the universe, lifeforms just like humans exist....

It’s well worth a read...


35 posted on 10/05/2012 5:21:38 AM PDT by headsonpikes (Mass murder and cannibalism are the twin sacraments of socialism - "Who-whom?"-Lenin)
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To: Moltke

You are quite right, of course. The amount of matter needed to produce such a sphere would be astonishing, even if we had the material manipulation and engineering capacity to do so.

Might have to go get stuff from other solar systems and bring it back, which of course leads to the obvious question of whether it probably wouldn’t be simpler to just terraform those other systems.

Not to mention safer. Even with a Dyson Sphere you’ve still got all your eggs in one (really big) basket.


36 posted on 10/05/2012 5:22:49 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: headsonpikes

Good point. Or perhaps this is all just an experiment by pandimentional mice to find the question that goes with the answer 42.


37 posted on 10/05/2012 5:54:55 AM PDT by albionin
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To: LibWhacker

Just like dollars and Solyndra, the amount expended to create would never be offset by what you get back.


38 posted on 10/05/2012 6:06:18 AM PDT by jdsteel (Give me freedom, not more government.)
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To: LibWhacker; SunkenCiv; Slings and Arrows; JoeProBono; Daffynition; Revolting cat!

39 posted on 10/05/2012 8:56:11 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: albionin
I would think that if there were aliens in the vicinity that advanced we would have picked up EM transmissions from them by now.

I think they found out that EM turns into background noise at around 5 LY distance from its origin point.

40 posted on 10/05/2012 11:27:46 AM PDT by America_Right (I am the 53%. Please get out of the cart and help me pull for a while.)
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To: piytar

Yeah, we’ve almost figured out fusion, it renders a massive engineering construct for energy purposes obsolete.


41 posted on 10/05/2012 4:28:44 PM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: a fool in paradise

This is of course a ridiculous idea. Photovoltaic arrays are not efficient at all, unless compared with feeding oats to a horse which turns a generator by walking in a circle.


42 posted on 10/05/2012 5:09:04 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: jmcenanly

If one had to replicate such a situation to power Planet Earth, I wonder if the ring of solar cells would need to be wide enough that it would even be visible several light years away?


43 posted on 10/09/2012 3:50:23 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: Brett66

Political considerations are probably the only reason that there isn’t something like fusion/geothermal, in which a fusion bomb is set off underground, then the heat that was generated tapped.


44 posted on 10/09/2012 3:52:28 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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