Rejuvenating the Sun and Avoiding Other Global Catastrophes
Springer Science & Business Media, 24 нояб. 2007 г. - Всего страниц: 228
This book is about an audacious idea: asteroengineering—literally, the physical engineering of a star, especially the star we call our Sun. It is an idea on the grandest of scales. Part science fiction, part science fact, asteroengineering is a response to a very definite and a very real problem, a problem that our distant descendants will one day have to face. It is also a universal problem that will be experienced – at some stage or other – by every extraterr- trial civilization that has or will exist. Indeed, the problem to be addressed resides within the parent stars of each and every li- supporting planetary system within our galaxy. In short, stars puff up to become luminous red giants as they age, and by doing this they vaporize those planets previously situated in the habitability zone where life can otherwise thrive. As their parent star ages and approaches the red giant phase, a civilization has two options open to it: stay at home, or pack up and leave. The latter option would require the hapless civilization to cocoon itself within giant spa- ships and then set itself adrift in the uncharted depths of space. If a civilization chooses to stay put, however, then all life will end—unless, that is, something is done about the demise of its parent star.
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accretion actually argued asteroid astronomers Astrophysical Journal atomic billion black hole blue stragglers brown dwarf central temperature Chapter co-workers collapse colonization cometary comets constant convective core currently density described distance dwarf star Dyson sphere Earth Earth’s atmosphere Earth’s orbital radius effect electrons energy envelope Equation eventually evolution evolve exist extraterrestrial civilizations Fermi Figure formed fully mixed fusion reactions future galactic galactic colonization giant global gravitational habitability zone heating helium humanity hydrogen hypernova impact increase indicates initial interior internal interstellar Jupiter low-mass magnetic field main sequence main-sequence lifetime Mars mass-loss rate massive stars Moon non-thermal pressure support nuclear fusion objects ocean Oort Cloud opacity outer parent star particles percent phase photon photon diffusion planetary system potential produce radiation red-giant region result solar mass Solar System space spacecraft speed star’s stellar material Sun-like star Sun’s Sun’s luminosity supernova surface temperature survival terraforming timescale Venus white dwarf
Стр. 7 - ... the last second of the geological year, in our standard pedagogical metaphors. We cannot bear the central implication of this brave new world. If humanity arose just yesterday as a small twig on one branch of a flourishing tree, then life may not, in any genuine sense, exist for us or because of us. Perhaps we are only an afterthought, a kind of cosmic accident, just one bauble on the Christmas tree of evolution. What options are left in the face of geology's most frightening fact?