How to Build a Dyson Sphere – The Ultimate Megastructure

How to Build a Dyson Sphere – The Ultimate Megastructure


Human history is told by the energy we use. At first we had to use our muscles, then we learned to control fire. We industrialized the world using coal and oil and entered the Atomic Age when we learned how to split a nucleus. At each step, we increased our energy harvest to a scale never seen before and advanced as a species. Currently, we’re slowly transitioning to renewables and if we’re lucky, fusion energy will become viable in the future. As humanity progresses further, if we don’t destroy ourselves or our habitat, we will likely gain complete control of our planet’s resources. At that stage we’ll probably begin to look outwards for new places to expand into. But space is hard and establishing a serious human presence in the solar system will require ungodly amounts of energy. Luckily, we know where to find it. The Sun – the ultimate source of energy. A furnace 100 quintillion times more powerful than our most efficient nuclear reactor. It shines with the energy of a trillion nuclear bombs per second. So, how do we get this energy? Not some of it, all of it. If we want to collect the most energy physically possible, we’ll have to build the largest most ambitious structure in the universe. The Dyson Sphere, a megastructure that encompasses a whole star to capture its power output. For an intelligent species, building a Dyson Sphere is a technological leap on a par with the discovery of fire for our ancestors. The transition from a planetary species to an interstellar species. It would usher in an age of exploration and expansion on a scale we can barely imagine. So, what would it look like? Solid shell enveloping the Sun is probably not the way to go a large rigid body like that would be vulnerable to impacts possibly shattering it would be liable to drift and could crash straight into the Sun a More, viable design for a Dyson Sphere might be a Dyson swarm an enormous set of orbiting panels that collect the sun’s power and beam it elsewhere such as sward would give humanity basically unlimited energy but building it won’t be easy the Sun is very big so we need a lot of satellites if Each satellite is a square kilometer we’d need around 30 quadrillion to surround the Sun even if they’re built as lightly as possible we need about 100 quintillion tons of material and Then we need the energy to actually put the parts together and deliver them to their positions around the Sun on top of all that we need to have a permanent infrastructure set up in space to start building let’s assume for the purposes of this video that our descendants will take care of that and want to create the mega structure We can sort the challenges into three main categories materials design and energy To get the vast amounts of raw materials required for our Dyson swarm will have to largely disassemble a whole planet Of the planets available mercury is the best candidate it’s the closest to the Sun and very metal-rich close to the Sun also Means less moving stuff around and mercury has no atmosphere and only about a third of the surface gravity of Earth making it comparatively easy to launch material into space Next we should consider the design of our swarm simpler is better Conventional solar panels are far too intricate and short lives our satellites need to operate without repairs or intervention for astronomically long times and they need to be cheap to produce But they’re most likely going to be enormous mirrors which refocus sunlight to central collecting stations like in concentrated solar power on earth to build and launch them efficiently they must be incredibly light made of little more than polished metal full bound to some supports and Last we need the energy to build and launch the swarm itself taking a part of planets and launching things into space requires an enormous amount of energy for example if we used all the fossil fuels and Uranium on earth and we? Were perfectly efficient we could only launch as much Mass as Mount Everest into space a rather meager accomplishment compared to planetary disassembly To get the energy needed to build a Dyson Sphere it’s almost as if you’re going to need the power output of a dyson sphere But that’s. Ok there’s plenty of sunlight to be had on Mercury so let’s get to work Humans are expensive to keep alive and are very sensitive to the environment So, we’d want to automate as much as possible Ideally we’d have a small crew of controllers who oversee an army of autonomous machines doing the actual work There are four major pieces of technology required solar collectors miners refiners and launch equipment the solar collectors are going to give us the energy we need to disassemble the planet To start maybe we deploy something like one square kilometer of them either as mirrors or as traditional solar panels they’ll provide the energy to run our miners which strip-mine the surface of the planet and our refiners which extract valuable elements and fabricate them into our swarm satellites to get them into space we need a creative and efficient solution Rockets aren’t too expensive and difficult to deorbit and reuse Instead, we’ll want to use a sort of railgun a longer Electromagnetic track which launches our satellites at high speeds Our swarm satellites will be packed tight for launch unfurling like an enormous origami once in orbit from this point we can take advantage of exponential growth using the energy of the existing parts of the swarm to build more infrastructure on Mercury and launch new panels faster and faster each panel provides the energy to build another those to work together to build the next to Four become eight eight become 16 and so on within just about 60 doubling times the Sun would be completely surrounded by solar panels and This can happen quickly if a square kilometer of solar collectors takes a month to build we could be done in a decade if only our infrastructure on the planet’s surface can keep up with the quickly growing budget of energy Even collecting 1% of the sun’s energy is an unbelievable change in our species energy budget We could create the infrastructure to being basically unlimited amounts of energy around the solar system for all sorts of projects colonies on other worlds terraforming planets constructing more mega structures or even traveling to other stars it could be the start of an interstellar Civilization based on physics alone this is not just possible but easy It’s such a simple process and such a necessary step for any species to expand beyond their home planet that many astronomers Think there are probably Dyson spheres already out there in the Milky Way we haven’t spotted any yet but they could be there it’s far from certain that humanity will ever get to this point our attention is too often focused on short-term political gains and Conflicts that will not matter in the long run but if we survive the challenges we’ve set ourselves we could potentially become the first species in the universe to create a structure with the scope of a star if We? Do it the only limitation left will be our own imagination We’ve just hit you with a lot of pretty wild claims and crazy concepts if You’re like us and enjoy using the power of science to determine absurd ways to destroy stuff you might want to hear how you can come up with something like that yourself Brilliant is a problem-solving website that helps you learn stuff through fun puzzles that split up a complex problem into bite-sized chunks and build up to an interesting conclusion It helps you understand how science works by actually using it instead of just memorizing a bunch of stuff brilliance has tons of interesting courses and puzzles on things like quantum computing astronomy and logic and even dyson sphere’s if you visit brilliant org slash nutshell Or click the link in the description you can sign up for free and learn all kinds of things as A bonus for cooks without viewers the first 688 people will, also get 20% off their annual membership with brilliance you can finish each stay a little bit smarter and Just maybe you can help to expand the human species into the universe one day We love dyson sphere’s so much that we’ve also made a poster about them it will look pretty on your wall but Also has some information about the concept of a Dyson Sphere a great way to start a conversation Or you can just stare at it and dream about the future go get it here

100 thoughts on “How to Build a Dyson Sphere – The Ultimate Megastructure”

  1. i think that for u starcraft players go to 7:07 you will kinda realize that the "alien civilizations" look like the protoss, terran, and hive

  2. So if this was a game, building a Dyson sphere would mean we buy Unlimited Energy game pass or use hacks to get unlimited energy.

  3. The concept of a Dyson Sphere is to completely enclose a star in a structure to capture 100% of its energy. People always say this idea is beyond ludicrous because of the engineering needed to make a solid shell around a star, plus the fact that it would not generate gravity through spin so you would need articifial gravity generators to walk around on the surface, etc. So the most common quote unquote practical solution is a Dyson Swarm. A Dyson Swarm being composed of thousans upon thousands of O'Neil Cylinders, or something of the like floating around the star in a cloud.

    However, I would like to go back and revisit the idea of the solid shell. I think most people interpret the concept wrong, and therefore design it wrong. Freeman Dyson proposed the idea that a Dyson Sphere would be made to capture the energy from a star, not make walkable habitable space around a star. To capture the energy from a star does not require a thick structure.

    I propose that a Dyson Sphere should be made of a thin material, like a mesh of carbon nanofibers a few meters thick. The material would not be rigid. It would be akin to the malleability of the skin of a derigible. The material would have to be engineered to function of something of a solar sail. Then the light pressure from the star would push out on the shell in all directions, basically inflating it like a balloon.

    For habitability O'Neil Cylinders could punctuate the shell here and there. The Cylinders would not be in orbit, they would be embedded into the shell, with one half inside the shell and the other out. The total mass of the O'Neil Cylinders would have to be balanced with the outward pressure of the solar winds so that the shell could maintain its inflation boyancy (inflation bouyancy, is that a thing?).

    Each O'niel cylinder would be responsible for mending any tears that occur from impacts within it's slice of the sphere. The cylinder could also act as a thruster if the shell needed to be forcibly adjusted.

    In summation I believe this Inflated Dyson Balloon would be a much more feasible version of the concept.

  4. These videos are neat and the animation is very nice, but there is so much opinion injected into the commentary that it turns me off a decent amount.

  5. This dyson swarm is a really cool idea and compared to other things on its evolutionary level quite possible to make

  6. Building a Dyson sphere is just not worth the effort, moving out and living on other planets is a much smarter choice

  7. I wish they spare me the add and really explain what you wrote your video was about…. lost me…. not because I don’t understand but because it is boring… and I am subscribed to your channel. I understand that not all the videos are going to be as well made as those about the black holes…. any way thank you for a free worked content… that is why I tried not to be too harsh because it is people like you that had help me to understand various kind of complex subjects in a such a easy and colourful way. Otherwise I will never would be able to get this knowledge because as everything in this life it has a cost and education …. knowledge is getting very expensive as many students and parents can tell. Thank you again …. have a nice day

  8. If this did work, wouldn’t there be a problem with the photons pushing back the solar panels, or would it be such a small force considering the panels small size that it wouldn’t matter

  9. This is my type of theoretical banter. None of this oh there could be amazon drones delivering your packages. How boring. I want to list to CRAZY AWESOME THEORIES based on plausible science!

  10. We’re born too late to explore the earth and too early to explore the universe. Feels bad man

  11. Keep in mind, that if you would surround sun with a massive construction and close it, you would leave a whole solar system without light.

  12. So we gonna build star killer base. One day we are beaming energy for use another day we are destroying planets lol

  13. I was intrigued to find this when a yugioh character summoned a card called Dyson Sphere that literally shadowed over the entire planet

  14. You forgot the part that while stripping mercury we wake an ancient life that seeks the destruction of humanity. Js. Awesome vid tho

  15. I don’t understand how you would “beam energy” precisely across the solar system.

    What if you miss and hit somewhere else a kilometer away with the force of 1 trillion nukes per second

  16. Talk to me about "beaming the energy back to earth". Wouldn't that require some sort of physical wire? I… just don't get it…

  17. Sounds cool.

    BUT N1: how do we get energy from dyson's sphere and get it to the Earth? Energy ray is still just fantastic creation.

    BUT N2: how do we even collect power from all solar panels in one point if our dyson's sphere won't be monolithic?

  18. the only problem is that those mirrors are also solar sails… meaning they will get pushed out of the way overtime so this is already out the windows.

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