SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016

A Dyson Sphere is Constructed

Zero in the universe and counting



TUCSON (A-P) — Premise:

  1. Human Earth technology is able to build a 1 km2 solar array in space.
    1. Behind the array are automated factories that can build all elements of the array.
    2. Only solar electrical energy and heat is used.
    3. After the first one is constructed, all materials are gathered by mining all solar system bodies, including asteroid belt and Oort Cloud, except Earth, Earth's Moon, and Mars.
    4. The robotic ships that mine materials are part of the array.
    5. The array is built using robots who can make another array, including copies of themselves.
    6. The time needed to mine materials, transform them, and duplicate the array is 35 years.
    7. Most energy is used to maintain, repair, and duplicate the array.
  2. A power surplus exists such that 150 humans can live sustainably in their habitat.
    1. The human/earth life habitat is a 760 m long cylinder 250 m in diameter, having an inner surface area of 0.6 km2 (148 acres).
    2. The cylinder would not be capped on the ends, just a cylinder about 1 story thick in rooms and corridors.
    3. Most rooms are ecological biomes or agricultural areas artificially lit to maintain the life-support system and provide humans with food.
    4. The habitat would be 47 times more area than Biosphere 2 with 1/2 the population density.
    5. Population density 250 humans/km2, far less than in India, about that of the United Kingdom, but the maximum for a solar powered habitat at a distance beyond Mars, possible only because of ultra-efficient future technology..
    6. The cylinder rotates to simulate 1g gravity.
    7. The humans self-organize and are confined to their habitat most of the time with limited individual travel.
    8. The humans can overpopulate and destroy their habitat's ability to support them, but not destroy the array.
    9. Failed habitats are colonized by other more adaptive humans.
    10. Habitats are closed systems except for energy input which is fixed, amount available cannot be increased, merely left unused, but no humans ever choose to use less than the maximum available.
  3. The humans are not needed to operate, build, or maintain the array.

So the first array section is built by humans and their machines including robots using Earth resources. It is located at a distance from the sun of 250,000,000 km or 1.7 AU, between Mars and the asteroid belt. A Dyson sphere at this distance would have a surface area of 196,349,540,849,362,077 km2. Openings allow mining bots to transport material between inner and outer solar system.

The first Dyson array section is completed in 2200 CE. The second is constructed and inhabited in 2235 and attached to the first. In 2270 each array has made a copy so there are now four arrays housing 600 humans. In 2305 there are eight arrays and 1,200 people. In 2340 there are 16 arrays and 2,400 humans....and so on. The preconditions for exponential growth are in place. Growth will continue until the Dyson sphere is complete or the resources of the solar system are used up. If an array were flattened out it would have a thickness of 10 meters. Total volume of the Dyson sphere material is 1,963,495,408,493,620 km3 or 6,558,074,664,368,690,800,000,000 kg or 2,200 times the mass of the asteroid belt. Mercury, Venus, and all moons but Moon would be mined (total mass about the same as the Dyson sphere) as well as all comets and the Oort Cloud would be available for materials in short supply.

When the Dyson sphere is complete, it will sustainably support a population of 29,452,431,127 billion humans, or 4 billion times more than Earth does at present, so 1 Dyson sphere equals 4 billion Earths. Earth has been "preserved" as a resort for the ultra-elite to visit and the lesser elites may be able to visit Moon or Mars recreational areas once in their lives.

But how long will it take to build and populate a Dyson sphere? A billion years? A million years?

Periods of 35 years - number of 1 km2 pieces.

1 - 2
2 - 4
3 - 8
4 - 16
5 - 32
6 - 64
7 - 128
8 - 254
9 - 508
10 - 1,016
11 - 2,032
12 - 4,064
13 - 8,128
14 - 16,256
15 - 32,512
16 - 65,024
17 - 130,048
18 - 260,096
19 - 520,192
20 - 1,040,384
21 - 2,080,768
22 - 4,161,536
23 - 8,323,072
24 - 16,646,144
25 - 33,292,288
26 - 66,584,576
27 - 133,169,152
28 - 266,338,304
29 - 532,676,608
30 - 1,065,353,216
31 - 2,130,706,432
32 - 4,261,412,864
33 - 8,522,825,728
34 - 17,045,651,456
35 - 34,091,302,912
36 - 68,182,605,824
37 - 136,365,211,648
38 - 272,730,423,296
39 - 545,460,846,592
40 - 1,090,921,693,184
41 - 2,181,843,386,368
42 - 4,363,686,772,736
43 - 8,727,373,545,472
44 - 17,454,747,090,944
45 - 34,909,494,181,888
46 - 69,818,988,363,776
47 - 139,637,976,727,552
48 - 279,275,953,455,104
49 - 558,551,906,910,208
50 - 1,117,103,813,820,416
51 - 2,234,207,627,640,832
52 - 4,468,415,255,281,664
53 - 8,936,830,510,563,328
54 - 17,873,661,021,126,656
55 - 35,747,322,042,253,312
56 - 71,494,644,084,506,624
57 - 142,989,288,169,013,248

57.27 doublings, 196,349,540,849,362,077 segments, full size x 35 years/doubling = 2,004 years.

So for 2,000 years human population grows at 2% per year, easily within human ability. Those not wanting to breed at that rate would be out bred by those who breed even faster. Those driven to breed would dominate.

Then population growth would have to stop in little more than a cosmic heart beat. At some point all consumptive exponential growth has to stop. Humans, having consumed the solar system and using the entire energy output of Sol, would have to transition. All could continue to breed within their habitat, but they could also overshoot and destroy their environmental carrying capacity such that they would go extinct. On a mature Dyson sphere any growth culture that attempted to grow by consuming its neighbors would be a cancer that could destroy all sustainable life on the sphere if unchecked before its empire building collapsed. Cancer kills host then it dies. Note: you are living in a growth culture.

An economic growth rate of only 2% is called a recession. A growth culture would strive for 4%, and 10% growth (a seven year doubling time) would be better. So in the best of all possible worlds, the growth culture will not last 2,000 years, but will finish its Dyson sphere sooner. Only a slacker growth culture would take more than 400 years to make a Dyson sphere. The greater the rate of growth, the sooner it ends.

If it doesn't end soon, our planet for the taking will be all used up. Consuming the solar system is not important. There can be no never ending growther story. Ending it sooner is better. Choosing to transition now is what makes sense. It won't feel good to growthers, but it is what makes sense and is doable by questioning and letting go of growther assumptions, values, memes, and their deeply belived in narratives. Enough is enough, transition now. Spread the word. Protesting economic growth? Something to consider.

Some materials and energy in a form usable for interstellar space travel could be set aside and used to send robots and humans to the stars. If one vessel were sent out every 35 years, 57 would be sent out during the 2,000 year growth phase of Dyson sphere construction. When finished, all growther cultures would transition or go extinct. Actually all growther cultures will go extinct, it is merely a question of whether the humans transition to a sustainer culture or go extinct. During the sustainer phase that could last hundreds of millions of years, as long as the star burned more or less steady, all cultures would value "enough" instead of "more" and even if growth ships could be sent out, they would not be interested in doing so to infest the galaxy. The growthers would want to replicate their culture and infest the universe, so they would and could do so only for the short time their culture was possible within a solar system. The sustainers would have alternative values.

One sustainable system, however, a perennial favorite, would be perpetual warfare, aka empire building, assuming the system design allowed it and provided no one empire ever won. As Orwell noted, three contending empires that never made the mistake of winning could maintain war, could keep a needed boot stoomping in the human face forever. Once a Dyson sphere is complete, when what looked like an endless frontier ended, growth goes on, the rate equaled by the destruction and loss of life that war entails. The system works great for the winners who perpetuate it. The system would evolve to favor winners. Those able to grow their population the fastest, most to be used as fodder for conquest, would proliferate. Patriarchy would be adaptive. The alpha male and a few select comrades who had survived combat would be the only adult male population needed. All other males would be expendable and very few would live past the age of 25. Over 90% of the adult population would be females conditioned to regard childbearing as their greatest service to society and any who failed to become pregnant within a year of menses or childbirth would willingly (or not) sacrifice themselves on the alter of the religion that demanded they do so or volunteer as human shields on the front line should death in battle be possible. Warrior societies who maximized population growth would tend to prevail and be selected for. As millennia pass, a war torn Dyson sphere would become a cauldron of incessant birth and premature death, assuming sustainable warfare was the chosen pattern. The future of humanity could resemble its past (and present), just lacking the potential for consumptive economic growth.

So assume 50 ships make it to 50 solar systems near Sol and within 2,000 years the stars go dark when their Dyson spheres are complete and in the mean time 50 ships are sent out by each to consume more solar systems. Seen from afar, an area of the galaxy would go dark and over millennia the dimming would spread like a cancer. If a ship reaches a solar system with life, they may or may not consume it and its home planet too. Resistance would be futile. How long would it take for the Milky Way to blink out?

Well, as seen from any other galaxy, the growing blob would expand from Sol and all 100 billion or so stars would blink out over a period of less than 8,000 years assuming warp drive. Assuming sub-light speeds, accelerating at 1g and turning around to decelerate at 1g half way to star, then the trip to the star, going about 1 light year per 2 years, or less than 10 years to get from one star to another, so the doubling time would be about the same, less than 16,000 years to blink out a galaxy. Even if it took ten times longer, in cosmic time the galaxy, any galaxy in which any life form managed to construct a Dyson sphere and technosporulate, would blink out.

Of some 2 trillion galaxies or so, none are observed to be in the process of blinking out (very unlikely to see) or of already having blinked out (to become an infrared emitter). Assume only one species manages to technosporulate to other galaxies (all others fail, hit limits to growth, and are forced to transition or go extinct). Assume it takes 5 million years on average to reach a new galaxy, 16,000 years to blink it out, and that 50 ships are sent out to other galaxies....the entire universe would be blinked out in less than 40 million years. The absence of evidence is signification. Either we humans are the first growth culture to develop in the known universe, or the light from infrared galaxies that have blinked out from spreading Dyson spheres has not yet reached us. Or growth cultures hit limits to growth full speed ahead and go splat before being able to construct a Dyson sphere. Believers in growth are, in effect, betting that their descendants will blink out the entire universe in less than 40 million years—that they will remain incapable of thinking....."and then what?"

If any life form can construct a Dyson sphere, rather easy to imagine with not much more than current technology, then as a growth culture they will build it, will technosporulate, and will soon blink out their galaxy. One possibility is that growth cultures are so unsustainable that none acquire the ability to build a Dyson sphere and technosporulate. This would be consistent with no galactic growth cultures being observed, inferred as a Dyson sphere implies a creator. We humans now are in overshoot and likely to collapse our life-support system before the century is out, and will not have built a Dyson sphere. Without fossil fuels to rebuild, we may never have the option of building one. Growthers should look around the neighborhood (observable universe) and take note.

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