Alien "megastructure" mystery deepens, but probably isn't a Dyson sphere


The ‘Turbo’ light goes on.


And we slow down to 4.77 MHz so we can play Pong.

Not one of our better named buttons.


My dad used it to play Hearts at a slow enough speed that he could follow the card movements.


Ever read Banks’ “Culture” books? There’s a “field” for everything - including mirrors.


I love me some Banks, both the SF and the mainstream fiction. I wish he were still around to write more.


Let’s hope they stay off of Reddit and suppress any urges to drunk dial…


…he said, ignoring his Prince avatar.


The nearest one comes out in a red giant hows your langston field?


I don’t know about aliens but I think with large numbers of dyson spheres I’d try using the solar energy from multiple stars to power masers. Then use these to compress and ignite brown drawfs, increasing avaliable living space.


At that point, why not just disassemble the brown dwarfs for fusion hotpoints? You’d have more control over the power output without need for massive infrastructure.

Stellar engineering: Dyson spheres, Niven rings, and maybe something ambitious

By that point they’ve transcended the need for physical bodies and thus wouldn’t need real estate.


Good idea.


Until the other day I thought the vacuum Dyson was a member of the sphere Dyson clan, engineering brilliance and all.

'tis not so.


I just remember one of my players in the Eclipse Phase RPG I ran a few years back passing me a note that he “added a Dyson sphere emitter to the blueprints”. I had to pause the game for a moment to stop giggling and explain what a megastructure was, and why the other PCs were highly likely to notice the addition of such a thing to a spaceship capable of getting through a land-based stargate.


What did he think he was adding to the ship? A force-field?


A weapon. I mentioned Nicoll-Dyson beams before the session as an offhanded “cap” to a discussion of sci-fi interstellar weaponry.

A Nicoll-Dyson beam is basically the result of having all of the exterior elements of a Dyson Swarm all point a laser in the same direction and cut loose at full power–a laser beam an AU or two wide, powered by a star.

Of course, i failed to mention that much detail, and the player just latched onto one of the words as a buzzword.


He did.

He also discussed using using frame dragging as a method of propulsion: “just” make a torus of super dense material (we’re talking white dwarf or neutron star density), get it rotating inwards at relativistic speed, and it would accelerate anything that passed through through the ‘donut hole’.

Fun thing is since it’s acceleration via gravity, which affects all the matter of the craft at the same time (or close enough to not be noticeable with human senses), the ship doesn’t feel any acceleration, from its perspective it never stops being in freefall, it just gets to fall REALLY fast for the time it’s within the gate. You can get people going from zero to near-lightspeed in seconds (or vice versa, if the ship comes in the ring ‘backwards’) without any serious g-forces to worry about if you do this right


pretty sure scifi writers have used that idea already, mixed with godlike gravity control.


Awww, man, I miss proper SF cover art.

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