Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods

Astrophysicist Matt Caplan might have been reading science fiction when he published a new paper in the journal Acta Astronautica, suggesting that moving the Sun could be the solution to a variety of possible problems.

Stellar engines, megastructures used to control the motion of a star system, may be constructible by technologically advanced civilizations and used to avoid dangerous astrophysical events or transport a star system into proximity with another for colonization.

This work considers two designs for stellar engines, for both human applications in the solar system and for advanced civilizations around arbitrary stars more generally, and presents analytic calculations of the maximum acceleration and deflection of a star in its galactic orbit.

The first is a large ‘passive’ solar sail, similar to that proposed by Shkadov, which we find produces accelerations of order for sun-like stars. The second ‘active’ engine uses a thermonuclear driven jet, as in a Bussard ramjet, which collects matter from the solar wind to drive He fusion. This engine requires additional mass to be lifted from the sun, beyond what is provided by the nascent solar wind, but may achieve accelerations up to producing deflections of 10 pc in as little as 1 Myr for a sun-like star.

While passive engines may be insufficient for catastrophe avoidance on short timescales, they can produce arbitrary deflections of a star in its galactic orbit over a stellar lifetime. Active engines are sufficient for retrograde galactic orbits or galactic escape trajectories, which we argue are useful to expansionist civilizations. These populations of stars may be candidates for observationally detecting megastructures.

(Via Stellar engines: Design considerations for maximizing acceleration.)

The idea of moving stars has been around for a while in science fiction. In his classic 1928 novel Crashing Suns, Golden Age great Edmond Hamilton described the process by which the sun might be steered to a new location:

To accomplish this, to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle...

The problem, then, was to increase their sun's rate of spin, and to accomplish this they gathered all their science. A mighty tower was erected over their city, on whose great top-platform were placed machines which could generate an etheric ray or vibration of inconceivable power, a ray which could be directed at will...
(Read more details about steering a star)

If you're just a little bit less ambitious (or possibly just marginally more practical) you might enjoy this article on Moving Whole Planets, Revisited. For moving planets, see the barytrine field from George O. Smith's 1952 story Troubled Star, as well as the Puppeteer's Kemplerer (Klemperer) Rosette in Larry Niven's 1970 classic Ringworld.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/29/2019)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...' - Philip Frances Nowlan, 1928.

Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...' - Mark Twain, 1889.

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... ' - Niven and Pournelle, 1981.

Metalenses Now Reconfigurable With Liquid Crystal
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...'

Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...'

What Does A Tesla Full Self-Driving Car See?
'All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures...'

BioVYZR Is Ready, Anti-Covid19 PAPR Lovers
'Some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.'

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.'

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...'

Parents Use AI To See One Last Message From Their Deceased Son
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man?'

Satoshi Tomizu Creates Pocket Universes And Worldcraft Bubbles In Glass
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...'

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... '

OK, NASA 3D Printer Of Food Not Yet Star Trek Food Synthesizer
Maybe not, but we're seeing definite progress.

Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.'

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.'

Gyroscopic Median-Straddling Mass Transit Vehicles
'It was among these leviathans that the little gyrocar was daring to thrust its puny self...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.