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The Cygnus Bubble And Astroengineering

The Cygnus Bubble PN G75.5+1.7 is a natural feature in the constellation Cygnus; it is a planetary nebula created when a star ejected its outer layers of luminous gas.


(Cygnus Bubble)

As noted in the Daily Galaxy, it provides an interesting opportunity to wonder about the engineering possibilities open to more advanced civilizations.

[Freeman] Dyson's thought experiment suggested that in our search for advanced extraterrrestrial civilizations that Instead of radio signals we should look for spheres, which are artificial mega structures that enclose the orbit of a star, fabricated from the material of that solar system. The key is to distinguish a Dyson sphere from natural dust components. The Dyson sphere is the marker of what Kardashev calls a Type 2 civilization, which is capable of using up all the energy produced by a star. A Type three civilization uses up all the energy produced by a galaxy.

There is a compromise between a mere planet and a full Dyson sphere; a ringworld, described below by Larry Niven from his 1970 Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel Ringworld. An artifact that is a ribbon of matter with a star at it's center, it has over 3 million times as much surface area as the Earth. The ring rotates at 770 miles per second, providing centripetal force of roughly our gravity. What did it look like from the surface?

The Ringworld had no horizon. There was no line where the land curved away from the sky. Rather, earth and sky seemed to merge in a region where details the size of continents would have been mere points, where vanishing point held his eyes fixed.

You might also enjoy this related story Find Extraterrestrial Civilizations By Their Works . Via Daily Galaxy via Atomic Rockets.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/30/2010)

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