Dyson sphere

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A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure originally described by Freeman Dyson. Such a "sphere" would be a system of orbiting solar power satellites meant to completely encompass a star and capture most or all of its energy output. Dyson speculated that such structures would be the logical consequence of the long-term survival and escalating energy needs of a technological civilization, and proposed that searching for evidence of the existence of such structures might lead to the detection of advanced intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Since then, other variant designs involving building an artificial structure or series of structures to encompass a star have been proposed in exploratory engineering or described in science fiction under the name "Dyson sphere". These later proposals have not been limited to solar power stations. Many involve habitation or industrial elements. Most fictional depictions describe a solid shell of matter enclosing a star, which is considered the least plausible variant of the idea (see below).


Origin of concept

The concept of the Dyson sphere was the result of a thought experiment by physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, where he noted that every human technological civilization has constantly increased its demand for energy. He reasoned that if human civilization were to survive long enough, there would come a time when it demanded the total energy output of the sun. He proposed a system of orbiting structures (which he referred to initially as a shell) designed to intercept and collect all energy produced by the sun. Dyson's proposal did not detail how such a system would be constructed, but focused only on issues of energy collection. Dyson is credited with being the first to formalize the concept of the Dyson sphere in his 1959 paper "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infra-Red Radiation", published in the journal Science.[1] However, Dyson was inspired by the mention of the concept in the 1937 science fiction novel Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon, and possibly by the works of J. D. Bernal and Raymond Z. Gallun who seem to have explored similar concepts in their work.[2]

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