Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • International Journal of Astrobiology, Volume 9, Issue 2
  • April 2010, pp. 89-99

The Solar Wind Power Satellite as an alternative to a traditional Dyson Sphere and its implications for remote detection

  • Brooks L. Harrop (a1) and Dirk Schulze-Makuch (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550410000066
  • Published online: 01 March 2010
Abstract
Abstract

The search for Dyson Spheres has been propelled not only by the hope of discovering intelligent alien life, but by humanity's ever-increasing need for energy. However, the Dyson Sphere is not a practical design, requiring too much matter to build and too much energy to stabilize. Here we discuss the various designs of a Dyson Sphere and propose the Solar Wind Power (SWP) Satellite, a simplistic, self-sustaining system that draws power from the solar wind and uses a laser to fire energy to collectors (on space stations, bases, etc.) positioned anywhere in the Solar System. While a small SWP Satellite can provide an estimated 2 MW of power, larger (or networks of) satellites could provide terawatts of power or more. The cost of the SWP Satellite would be relatively cheap – it primarily consists of shaped copper, with only a few complex systems onboard. Detection of such a satellite would be difficult using current technology, because at this time we can only detect solar wind deviations of up to 10−13 MS yr−1, while a 2 MW satellite would only divert 10−34 MS yr−1. Thus, only very large SWP Satellites could possibly be detected.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

V. Badescu (1995). Acta Astronaut. 36, 135138.

J.F. Cochran & D.E. Mapother (1958). Phys. Rev. 111, 132142.

F.J. Dyson (1960). Science 131, 16671668.

U. Feldman , E. Landi & N.A. Schwadron (2005). J. Geophys. Res. 110, A07109.1–A07109.12, doi:10.1029/2004JA010918.

M. Kallenrode (2004). Space Physics: An Introduction to Plasmas and Particles in the Heliosphere. Springer, Berlin.

R. Lallement , E. Quemerais , J.L. Bertaux , S. Ferron , D. Koutroump & R. Pellinen (2005). Science 307, 14471449.

T.J. Linde , T.I. Gombosi , P.L. Roe , K.G. Powell & D.L. DeZeeuw (1998). J. Geophys. Res. 103(A2), 18891904.

M. Maksimovic (2005). J. Geophys. Res. 110, A09104.1–A09104.9, doi:10.1029/2005JA011119.

D. Ruffolo , W.H. Matthaeus & P. Chuychai (2003). Astrophys. J. 597, L169L172.

R. Schwenn & E. Marsch (1991). Physics of the Inner Heliosphere II. Particles, Waves, and Turbulence. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

B.J. Wargelin & J.J. Drake (2002). Astrophys. J. 578, 503514.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: