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Thread: Dyson swarm or interstellar colonisation — which would logically be done first?

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    A Dyson swarm would take a very long time to build. But you don't need to harness the full resources of a system just to defend it!

    Well, "very long time" is subjective, but starting with one Dyson object, and doubling every 50 years (not implausible), one can go from 1 object to 1010 in about 1700 years. What may be a problem is if the objects form independent polities: they'll start fighting for resources within their solar system.

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  2. #92
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    ""No," said Slartibartfast, "that's just perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the Universe has that.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Energy is important to all known living things. Plants get it from light, animals get it from food, our ancestors learned to get more of it from fire. High technology life uses more energy that anyone else.

    A star is an excellent energy source. A high-tech life-form might well, at some stage, expand to the vicinity of another star to access its energy.

    It’s true they'd have to invest big amounts of energy to get there, but the return on the investment might justify it.

    But why would you do so, if the energy of your home star were not yet fully tapped? Would it not be more logical to build a Dyson swarm first, and embark on interstellar colonisation later?
    Apples and Oranges, exemplified by the open question wondering what the motivation would be for doing something different. If it's about energy balance only, then they might not leave. If they leave, then you can conclude it wasn't about energy balance.

    As for reasons, consider GRBs and wandering blackholes, neutron stars, magnetars, etc. There are system-level calamities that can happen and can't be defended against by having a Dyson Swarm. Fleeing isn't a defense, it's a survival strategy. But if you want to consider it a defense, then sending interstellar colony ships (or allowing them to be sent) is merely one of many pre-defense strategies that achieve that goal.

    Besides, any life form that grows so large so fast that the local star cannot produce a surplus of energy is so environmentally dangerous that they will destroy/convert/consume/excrete the galaxy in short order.

    As for how much energy it takes, depends on a lot of assumptions. Some may think it's far fetched, but we're basically doing both right now. We have solar orbiting objects collecting solar energy AND we have objects on trajectories beyond our star system. It's merely a matter of scaling it up.

    As for the social aspects, developments in interstellar travel will probably allow, if not require, people to sleep through the voyage.

    As for war, people will fight over anything. Even at distances of lightyears, locally programmed AI avatars that play video games as a representative of a star system will cause resentment for the losing team. War will always be a possibility because people are ridiculous. "They said our star is fat? Lase them!" Pew-pew.
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  4. #94
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    Funny, what if one group went through the motions of making a dyson swarm just to make an opponent go through the actual trouble of building one? "See you in x number of centuries."
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    Funny, what if one group went through the motions of making a dyson swarm just to make an opponent go through the actual trouble of building one? "See you in x number of centuries."
    Space race?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    Funny, what if one group went through the motions of making a dyson swarm just to make an opponent go through the actual trouble of building one? "See you in x number of centuries."
    What would "going through the motions" of building a star system sized cloud of orbital artifacts look like?
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  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What would "going through the motions" of building a star system sized cloud of orbital artifacts look like?
    Balloons?

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  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Balloons?
    Like how Ike gave Patton an inflatable army to convince the Nazis the invasion would be at Calais?
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Like how Ike gave Patton an inflatable army to convince the Nazis the invasion would be at Calais?
    Exactly.

    Golden Ship Was, Oh! Oh! Oh! may be a further inspiration (Paul Linebarger was an expert in psychological warfare)
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-Nov-26 at 05:59 PM.

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    If you can blow enough bubbles to fill a star system, you can also plausibly make a slightly smaller cloud of the actual objects the balloons stand in for.

    Producing and distributing all those balloons in their orbits would require the same levels of energy, manufacturing technology and resources needed to make over planets into swarms or collectors or whatever. If you can fake a Dyson, you can make a Dyson.
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  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What would "going through the motions" of building a star system sized cloud of orbital artifacts look like?
    Solfe didn't reply, but I assumed that it wasn't about balloons, but rather something like this: if you start building one, then the other race is going to find out when the light reaches them, so say ten or twenty years later. So they would panic because they assume that you are going to continue, even if you don't. Even if you stop, they will never be sure that you haven't simply paused, because of the lag. But just to be clear, I'm not really convinced that seeing somebody building one would prompt others to. I certainly would not be convinced to put massive resources into building something like that just because we find out that some civilization twenty light years away is doing it.
    As above, so below

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    If you can blow enough bubbles to fill a star system, you can also plausibly make a slightly smaller cloud of the actual objects the balloons stand in for.

    Producing and distributing all those balloons in their orbits would require the same levels of energy, manufacturing technology and resources needed to make over planets into swarms or collectors or whatever. If you can fake a Dyson, you can make a Dyson.

    Hardly the same amount; a balloon 100 meters in diameter could easily involve less than 100 kg of matter.

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  13. #103
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    A Nicoll-Dyson laser might actually be made from transparent balloons with phased array elements in their skins.
    Calm down, have some dip. - George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Hardly the same amount; a balloon 100 meters in diameter could easily involve less than 100 kg of matter.
    My point is, it would be a massive, wasted effort for no return. A competing civilization advanced enough to warrant such a trick, would not be fooled by such a trick.
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  15. #105
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    And SkepticJ's point is that a balloon Dyson need not be a trick, or a sham; it could be a very versatile piece of technology.

  16. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    My point is, it would be a massive, wasted effort for no return. A competing civilization advanced enough to warrant such a trick, would not be fooled by such a trick.
    Well, the military may be involved....

    My point was that decoys would take far less effort than "functional" objects. As for why they would be built, motivation is a tricky thing, as exemplified by things like the Pyramids, which have no function beyond being grave markers. All it would take is somebody to convince other people that these balloons would be a great defensive measure.

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  17. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    As for why they would be built, motivation is a tricky thing, as exemplified by things like the Pyramids, which have no function beyond being grave markers.
    One plausible hypothesis for the construction of the Giza pyramids was to provide a unifying project that enhanced the national identity of the Egytptians, developed the logistical and administrative instruments and thereby consolidated the power structure of the elite. However, this simply confirms your observation that discerning motivation is a tricky thing. We might reasonably expect that alien motivations would be . . . . alien.

  18. #108
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    But necessity is the mother of invention and that is ruled by economics, which is just math and physics, so alien motivations wouldn't be that alien. They might do it for religious reasons, and while we might think their god is alien, it doesn't mean the motivation to satisfy the dictates of a divine entity is.

    I'm curious as to how NCN thinks aliens will know the difference between a make and a fake. Is it another Project Rho "No Stealth In Space" magical telescope?
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  19. #109
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    Neutrino telescopes maybe?

    Denser objects would absorb more neutrinos. But it also isn't obvious to me how a low density would necessarily be an indication that a Dyson object might be a fake of some kind. See eburacum45's comment above about that problem.
    Selden

  20. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    But necessity is the mother of invention and that is ruled by economics, which is just math and physics, so alien motivations wouldn't be that alien. They might do it for religious reasons, and while we might think their god is alien, it doesn't mean the motivation to satisfy the dictates of a divine entity is.

    I'm curious as to how NCN thinks aliens will know the difference between a make and a fake. Is it another Project Rho "No Stealth In Space" magical telescope?
    The dynamic behavior of very low density objects could be different, as they'd be more affected by solar wind and radiation pressure. It may take a significant time, perhaps decades, to notice this, especially for objects several AU from the system's primary.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-Dec-02 at 02:03 AM.

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  21. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    The dynamic behavior of very low density objects could be different, as they'd be more affected by solar wind and radiation pressure. It may take a significant time, perhaps decades, to notice this, especially for objects several AU from the system's primary.
    But how would the remote intelligence services know if that was intended or not? Or know for sure if it was from unencumbered solar pressure on a light structure, or directed energy beamed to a massier structure?
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  22. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    But how would the remote intelligence services know if that was intended or not? Or know for sure if it was from unencumbered solar pressure on a light structure, or directed energy beamed to a massier structure?
    Unless they detected the beamed energy, they couldn't be 100% certain. On the other hand, the radiation pressure and solar wind from the primary would be continuous and directed radially outward and affect all objects, but deliberately beamed energy could have a significant tangential component, and target specific objects, so the two are going to have different dynamical effects which may be detectable at a population level.

    Of course, the entire scenario rests on the assumption that the remote intelligence has an accurate census orbiting objects in their targeted system.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-Dec-02 at 02:43 PM.

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  23. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Well, "very long time" is subjective, but starting with one Dyson object, and doubling every 50 years (not implausible), one can go from 1 object to 1010 in about 1700 years. What may be a problem is if the objects form independent polities: they'll start fighting for resources within their solar system.
    OK. I was assuming an incidental Swarm as a result of the spread of civilization, industry, & population, rather than as a direct goal.

    The space-based exponential growth technology to bootstrap the start of a total change of our Solar System is thus not inconceivably far off into our own future. We already automate much of digging, mining, processing, manufacturing, and that's under the variable environmental conditions of Earth. Several generations from now assuming no technological setbacks, we may reach that goal. End of this century, next one?

    Kind of scary to know we may someday have than kind of power in human hands.
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  24. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Unless they detected the beamed energy, they couldn't be 100% certain. On the other hand, the radiation pressure and solar wind from the primary would be continuous and directed radially outward and affect all objects, but deliberately beamed energy could have a significant tangential component, and target specific objects, so the two are going to have different dynamical effects which may be detectable at a population level.

    Of course, the entire scenario rests on the assumption that the remote intelligence has an accurate census orbiting objects in their targeted system.
    Even if it were detectable, would it be distinguishable? The observers would have to determine whether there was any shadows cast on the objects and then attempt to subtract the radiation pressure. The sunlight might be reflected to use as directed energy beams. The directed energy could also come from almost any direction. If we presume the faker system has the goal of faking for a particular observer, then they may apply corrective impulses when the orbiting objects are behind the sun, behind other parts of the swarm or otherwise not clearly visible to the observers line of sight.
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  25. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Even if it were detectable, would it be distinguishable? The observers would have to determine whether there was any shadows cast on the objects and then attempt to subtract the radiation pressure. The sunlight might be reflected to use as directed energy beams. The directed energy could also come from almost any direction. If we presume the faker system has the goal of faking for a particular observer, then they may apply corrective impulses when the orbiting objects are behind the sun, behind other parts of the swarm or otherwise not clearly visible to the observers line of sight.
    I think it would be detectable in principle; it would also require a long-term study of the target system and may not be possible in practice. It's really not that much different, in principle, from the countermeasures battle that occurred during WW2

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  26. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Would you rather wait ten thousand or a million years for your distant descendants to finish rearranging the real estate, for them go to the stars? Or would you try to go (or send someone) as soon as it becomes physically possible within your lifetime?
    as a matter of fact, for Americans the latter option looks much more appealing... I wonder if the rest of the world may think otherwise (in theory I don't: but in practice I did borrow money to renovate my house and I'd never borrow money to go on holidays)...
    Last edited by Barabino; 2018-Jan-07 at 04:25 PM.

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