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Vaelroth
2006-Jan-16, 04:09 AM
I'm not quite sure where to put this, so I stuck it here.

Could anyone explain (or point me to an explanation) as to why a solid Dyson Sphere wouldn't work. I remember reading somewhere (maybe here) that there was a problem with the net gravitational force acting on every portion of the sphere and causing it to collapse, but is there any theoretical way to get a solid sphere to work? Or am I just an idiot?

Van Rijn
2006-Jan-16, 08:06 AM
Wiki has a good intro to various Dyson sphere ideas here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere

And this talks about the stability of a Dyson shell:

http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/dysonFAQ.html#STABLE

What you are referring to is generally called a "Dyson shell" as opposed to a Dyson swarm (lots of objects in orbit all about a sun) or a "Dyson bubble" (thin/low mass structure supported by light pressure).

The problem with a passive Dyson shell is that it would need an impressive strength to weight ratio to support itself from collapse or buckling. Remember, it isn't in orbit around the sun. One work around would be a dynamically supported shell using masses in "maglev" like tracks that are moving well above orbital velocity. As long as the power stays on, that could work, but it isn't clear why you really would want a Dyson shell in the first place.

ToSeek
2006-Jan-16, 06:42 PM
Moved to "Q&A".