Could aliens harness stars to keep ahead of expanding universe?

June 20, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Dan Hooper, a senior scientist with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has written a paper outlining a way future aliens could keep their civilizations alive in spite of the isolation due to an expanding universe. In his paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, he suggests they might consider collecting and storing stars.

A Dyson sphere is a theoretical structure able to house a star. Originally proposed by Freeman Dyson, the sphere was originally envisioned as a group of satellites completely encompassing a star to capture all of its energy. That energy could then be used for whatever purposes the civilization that created it desired. In this new effort, Hooper suggests aliens might be creating similar structures to provide power once the expands to an untenable size.

Prior research has shown that the universe is not just expanding, it is picking up speed as it does so due to dark . This means that almost everything in the universe is being flung farther apart from everything else. Such a scenario suggests that will become increasingly isolated, though the components of the galaxies will remain bound by gravity. So, Hooper wonders, what would an race do to ensure it has a steady source of power? He suggests they might be collecting stars at this very moment, getting ready for the days ahead when they will be too far away to grab.

Hooper notes that such a scenario is still very far off—on the order of 100 billion years from now. But he also notes that if aliens were grabbing stars from one galaxy and transporting them back to another, the time for each trip would be on the order of billions of years. Thus, they would have to be doing it now, before they run out of time. He acknowledges that humans would probably not be able to understand the mechanics of moving a star, but muses on the possibility of an alien race powerful enough to do so. He further suggests that if such activity is currently happening, we might be able to see evidence of it by looking for stars that seem to be moving between galaxies—or by looking for holes in galaxies where have already been removed.

Explore further: New idea for Dyson sphere proposed

More information: Life Versus Dark Energy: How An Advanced Civilization Could Resist the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe, arXiv:1806.05203 [astro-ph.CO] arxiv.org/abs/1806.05203

Abstract
The presence of dark energy in our universe is causing space to expand at an accelerating rate. As a result, over the next approximately 100 billion years, all stars residing beyond the Local Group will fall beyond the cosmic horizon and become not only unobservable, but entirely inaccessible, thus limiting how much energy could one day be extracted from them. Here, we consider the likely response of a highly advanced civilization to this situation. In particular, we argue that in order to maximize its access to useable energy, a sufficiently advanced civilization would chose to expand rapidly outward, build Dyson Spheres or similar structures around encountered stars, and use the energy that is harnessed to accelerate those stars away from the approaching horizon and toward the center of the civilization. We find that such efforts will be most effective for stars with masses in the range of M∼(0.2−1)M⊙, and could lead to the harvesting of stars within a region extending out to several tens of Mpc in radius, potentially increasing the total amount of energy that is available to a future civilization by a factor of several thousand. We also discuss the observable signatures of a civilization elsewhere in the universe that is currently in this state of stellar harvesting.

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antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (8) Jun 20, 2018
The entire Dyson sphere philosophy makes absolutely no sense to me.

a) if you can have artificial fusion ()which doesn't seem too far fetched for an advanced civilization) then there is no reason why you should remain reliant on a star
b) if you are advanced you will eventually become (near) immortal. At that point increasing the size of a civilization via procreation becomes moot.
c) Even such low tech civilizations as ours are already showing that the need for energy eventually *drops* the more advanced you become - because advanced also means "more efficient"

That said: If you really want to be long lived and really want to do Dyson shenanigans (and I mean extremely long lived - like dozens of orders of magnitude longer than the life of stars) then you'll build your spheres around black holes and gather the energy from the rotation of the ergosphere
gcdaigle
5 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2018
Good points. Still, it would make for an interesting SYFY plot. Taking stars from globular cluster galaxies, wrapping them in opaque Dyson spheres and putting them into a parking orbit outside your own galaxy. Explains both dark matter distribution surrounding spiral galaxies and the lack of DM in cluster galaxies!
rrwillsj
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 20, 2018
I hope Hooper enjoyed writing his fantasies. Cause this was excruciating to read!

Here is a perfect example of the difference in definitions for the concepts of signal, data, information, knowledge, education, intelligence and wisdom.
MrBojangles
5 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2018
What I don't really understand about this is why would an alien civilization spend billions of years collecting stars from other galaxies and bringing them back to their own, when their galaxy itself has hundreds of billions of stars. The colossal time and effort spent seems quite pointless. I also would have to agree with antialias that Dyson Spheres seem incredibly low tech for a civilization capable of making the transit to and from other galaxies.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2018
Niven/Benford devised a way of moving stars and taking their civilizations along with them in 'Bowl of Heaven', a variant of the dyson sphere
https://www.centa...-heaven/

IOW dyson sphere with somewhere to go.

"Thus, they would have to be doing it now, before they run out of time."

-Niven also imagined such a species with similar foresight, the Puppeteers.

"After the discovery that the core of the galaxy is exploding, the Puppeteers turned the fleet towards the Magellanic Clouds, gradually reaching a speed of 80% lightspeed. Although the Puppeteers have Faster-than-light technology they prefer to travel at safer, sub-light speeds."
https://en.wikipe...ppeteers
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2018
The colossal time and effort spent seems quite pointless
Survival might be the only thing an immortal machine singularity has to live for. It might just want to survive to see how things turn out in the end.

Then there are these guys

"The Watchers are a race of fictional extraterrestrials appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics whose purpose it to watch over the multiverses of the series. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby"

-Whose duty is to watch everything... the corporeal embodiment of;

"Quantum determinism means that given a present wave function, its future changes are uniquely determined by the evolution operator."

-and;

"Reversibility refers to the fact that the evolution operator has an inverse, meaning that the past wave functions are similarly unique."

-and thusly;

"The combination of the two means that information must always be preserved."

-So it would be their duty to stick around.
MAGELLAN
5 / 5 (1) Jun 20, 2018
Voce pode desmantelar um gigante de gás semelhante a Jupiter e usar todos os seus recursos energéticos para alimentar um planeta do tamanho da Terra por mais de 16 trilhões de anos. Em Jupiter tem deutério, hélio-3, nitrogenio-15, lítio, boro todos eles para reatores de fusão miniaturizados em solo de um planeta que pode ser Marte ou Terra ou até uma de suas grandes Luas. Combustível químicos; hidrogenio, metano etc
Em boa eficiencia o deutérlio-hélio-3 ou lítio produz 500 trilhões de joules por KG então seria necessário somente algumas centenas de milhares de toneladas anuais para manter um planeta do tamanho da Terra totalmente habitável incluindo os oceanos, voce poderia durar muito mais com o combustível de apenas um gigante gasoso se decidir colonizar não um planeta do tamanho da Terra mais algo mais modesto como a Lua Calisto de Jupiter assim tendo combustível em fusão para mais de 150 trilhões de anos.
carbon_unit
3 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2018
Otto: Yes! Good reads!

If one is moving stars from one galaxy to the other, wouldn't that still fail to address the problem that the stars are going out. Just because they come from elsewhere would not help. One would want to collect primordial gas, the materials to make new stars.

One has to wonder what happens if the advanced civilization fizzles out in the midst of moving stars. Now we have stars arriving unbidden in the target galaxy. This might not be welcome by that galaxy's current inhabitants.

"Hey, who ordered that red dwarf?!" (apologies to I. I. Rabi)
carbon_unit
3 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2018
Come to think of it, a civilization billions of years advanced would have found a way around the speed of light limitation if there's any way at all. They would have access to the entire universe.
rrwillsj
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 20, 2018
Not sure whats worse? The infantiles who get their 'science' education from comicbooks? Or multi-lingual woowhooey merchants?

Which is worse? The perpetually adolescent yahoos or the bogus bamboozlers? Oh, perdóname, por favor. "Bamboozlers falsos!"
granville583762
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2018
Only gravity moves stars
Earthlings would not understand the mechanics of moving a star!
Nature has only one way short of blowing it up which does not count as moving and that is gravitationaly with merging galaxies, it is reasonable to assume no living creature can move a galaxy as that is what it takes to move a star.
granville583762
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2018
Or a billion solar mass black hole has ample gravity to move a star.
But then any blackhole in the hands of living creatures would not respect the living creature, in fact it would not even notice any living creature.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2018
One has to wonder what happens if the advanced civilization fizzles out in the midst of moving stars
Machine singularities would probably be more robust than biologicals.
Now we have stars arriving unbidden in the target galaxy
Rogue stars are as ubiquitous as shooting stars are in our atmosphere.
This might not be welcome by that galaxy's current inhabitants
-Any inhabitants mature enough to care would have long ago transitioned to the machine state.

Our transition is inevitable and imminent. Any species that develops the ability to improve upon itself with technology, will quickly become extinct.

It's probably why the universe is silent. Machines may be talking to each other but they would have absolutely nothing to say to us.
granville583762
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2018
Possibly
TheGhostofOtto1923> It's probably why the universe is silent. Machines may be talking to each other but they would have absolutely nothing to say to us.

More likely it is to with the speed of light - in galactic terms it is incredibly slow
Imagine WhatsApping message to the Andromedians at the speed of light.
Mimath224
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2018
'...outlining a way future aliens...'??? Well, I suppose the author has to say future aliens since stars in the Milky Way aren't being "star-ducted'...are they?. Also, if in the 'future' these aliens have need of similar types they might meet with resistance from f.a's already depending on said star. The ultimate blackmail plot, 'give us what we want or we'll steal your star'...Ha!
Surely any civilization with that kind of technology would find it easier to just move a planet to the habitable zone of another star? Gives whole new meaning for a tractor beam though, Ha!
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jun 21, 2018
More likely it is to with the speed of light - in galactic terms it is incredibly slow
Imagine WhatsApping message to the Andromedians at the speed of light
-And immortal machine singularities would have a lot more patience than us ephemerals.
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2018
More likely it is to with the speed of light - in galactic terms it is incredibly slow
Imagine WhatsApping message to the Andromedians at the speed of light
TheGhostofOtto1923> -And immortal machine singularities would have a lot more patience than us ephemerals.

We are humans transposed into machines which think at light speed and an M31 text takes 2M Lys where a 3 word reply takes 2M Lys, so can I come to lunch this afrenoon takes 4M years to get a reply
Even if as a machine we live 1M years or even 2M years we will not live 4M years even as a machine we will disintigrate with age and so will the Andromedian so the reply will never come
Even as machines we still want a reply in microseonds and more so as a machine as the BORG do, their messages travel instantly and collectively
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2018
Even if as a machine we live 1M years or even 2M years we will not live 4M years
Once our singularity emerges 'we' will eventually be extinct. Post-human individuals would themselves become more machine with each succeeding generation and more interconnected with the singularity itself until at some point the humanness would disappear.

But what would these singularities have to discuss with each other? If their reason for existing was in fact to exist for as long as possible, then like any lifeforms they would want to know as much as they could about environmental issues that could shorten or prolong their lives.

There might be info that local ones would be better suited to evaluate. Puppeteers for instance relied on species closer to the core to inform them that it was about to explode in, say, 50k years. By the time they got the news at lightspeed they would still have 50k years to prepare.
Cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2018
So it would be to their advantage for older singularities to apprise newer ones of technological advancements so that they were best equipped to monitor and assess local conditions. It's hard to imagine that they would fear competition and be reluctant to share, as everyone would be concerned with conserving local resources and consuming them as efficiently as possible.

Sharing technological knowledge would speed their evolution exponentially. Once plugged into the galactic network they would essentially disappear.

While singularities might just want Dyson spheres to capture all their stars energy, they might prefer dismantling it and consuming it in a more controlled and efficient manner. Or they may want to collapse it and feed matter into it for sustenance.

And rather than building megastructures for living space and energy use they may be building solar system-sized telescope networks for communication and observation, which we might be able to detect.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2018
After reading all the comments to this point. I have to ask, what is the point?

Superduper sophonts building superstructures to locate and access the resources to build more superstructures to locate and access the resources to build even more superduper structures...

And this ideal is suppose to symbolize intelligence? You are all joking right? Just trying to put one over on the old man!

Well, I guess your Alien Builders might be considered as clever as a coral polyp. Doubt if I would call them intelligent. And wisdom seems to be completely lacking.
Steelwolf
not rated yet Jun 23, 2018
Ghost, I like Niven's work a lot too, even though he found (and had pointed out to him) major problems with his Ring World scenario (mostly that the ring is not stable in it's plane of orbit).

The Puppeteers are a good example of a spacefaring race, where by conducting trade across their known volume of space they can gain much info from other races.

Similarly the Outsiders, the Helium II based race, with it's extremely long racial time and knowledge.

But then there is the big caution too, and that being the Kzin, huge, meat eating, slaver-type spacefaring race out to Conquer Everything for The Patriarchy. Pak, well, that is another question.

But, the idea of moving suns would be a hard one, moving Planets, if one is able to heat and light them (with our agw we might need to think of that moving planet outward in orbit to cool it.) But moving solar masses, unless you can make them move themselves, expending their life, just does not make sense if you can travel.
ZoeBell
Jun 23, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Da Schneib
not rated yet Jun 23, 2018
The entire Dyson sphere philosophy makes absolutely no sense to me.
Well, I'd have to see some evidence myself. But fuzzy thinking ain't it.

a) if you can have artificial fusion ()which doesn't seem too far fetched for an advanced civilization) then there is no reason why you should remain reliant on a star
It may turn out that a star is the most efficient way to do fusion: gravitational confinement.

b) if you are advanced you will eventually become (near) immortal. At that point increasing the size of a civilization via procreation becomes moot.
Ringing the changes on personality might be worthwhile. I doubt ringing the changes on genetics would last very long. But I don't see this as an argument against storing up stars against universal expansion.

[contd]
Da Schneib
3 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2018
[contd]
c) Even such low tech civilizations as ours are already showing that the need for energy eventually *drops* the more advanced you become - because advanced also means "more efficient"
Depends what you're trying to do. And you're forgetting Clarke's Second Law: The products and effects of a sufficiently advanced technology are indistinguishable from magic. Since we don't know how magic works, who can say? So far we've largely tamed only one force: EM. We know only the most crude things to do with the color force: nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. We have no idea what to do with the weak force, and as for gravity we don't even have a good quantum theory of it, much less a quantum field theory. We're like chimps trying to theorize about where those humans get all that weird stuff they cover up their bodies with.
[contd]
Da Schneib
1 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2018
[contd]
If you really want to be long lived and really want to do Dyson shenanigans (and I mean extremely long lived - like dozens of orders of magnitude longer than the life of stars) then you'll build your spheres around black holes and gather the energy from the rotation of the ergosphere
Hmmmm, I'd say black holes would introduce some complications. I'm not quite clear on why harvesting energy from a black hole would be more efficient than harvesting energy from a star.
Da Schneib
1 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2018
Major arguments against this start with, stars have all sorts of inconvenient behaviors like running out of fuel, exploding into supernovae, expanding into giants of various sorts as they move along the main sequence, flaring, and other quirks. Seems to me if you've got the power to go moving stars between galaxies there are a lot better things to do with it. Starting with gathering up intergalactic gas and dust for future fuel instead of burning it all up in stars while you cart them around.

Moving right along, timespans of billions of years for the existence of a civilization seem pretty ambitious considering we have yet to see a species last a billion years.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jun 24, 2018
Da scheide spluuckt;
I'm not quite clear on why harvesting energy from a black hole would be more efficient than harvesting energy from a star
-but then says
stars have all sorts of inconvenient behaviors like running out of fuel, exploding into supernovae, expanding into giants of various sorts as they move along the main sequence, flaring
-in the very next post??? Maybe even he thinks hes full of shit.

Or he could do a little research...

"The Penrose process (also called Penrose mechanism) is a process theorised by Roger Penrose wherein energy can be extracted from a rotating black hole. That extraction is made possible because the rotational energy of the black hole is located not inside the event horizon of the black hole, but on the outside of it in a region of the Kerr spacetime called the ergosphere..."
https://en.wikipe..._process

-and find out what experts have come up with.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jun 24, 2018
Seems to me if you've got the power to go moving stars between galaxies there are a lot better things to do with it. Starting with gathering up intergalactic gas and dust for future fuel instead of burning it all up in stars while you cart them around
Hmmm lessee, we'll need some really big tanks, and humongous funnels... hey why dont we take advantage of the work that gravity has already done for us?

I would suggest brown dwarfs but that would be racist. According to der scheide.
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Humanised Robots
granville583762> Even if as a machine we live 1M years or even 2M years we will not live 4M years

TheGhostofOtto1923> Once our singularity emerges 'we' will eventually be extinct. Post-human individuals would themselves become more machine.

We become machines incrementally Otto, when we make robots with all are mechanical movements are skeleton allows and all our senses and our brains ability we will then adopt robots into our families and let them integrate into our culture and language effectively as a baby grows up in its family, the robot growing into an adult and when the robot is in its teens it will start dating boys if it a girl robot, and girls if it a boy robot, then these humanised robot can date any human girl or boy as an equal and it will be indistinguishable from any human until you feel it and find it is not flesh and blood
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
I'm not quite clear on why harvesting energy from a black hole would be more efficient than harvesting energy from a star.

Black hoels are incredibly long lived (by stellar standards). So if the premise of the article is to find a way for a civiization to survive for a long time then this definitely beats out the 'collect stars' method

(If we want to go with stars and civs which have the tech to move such masses I wouldn't collect stars but collect hydrogen from clouds/the interstellar/intergalactic medium and store it to eventually make more stars as old ones run out...But that still nowhere beats the potential longevity of black holes.)
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Arm in arm with your daughter robot Otto, walking down the aisle on her wedding day

Humans will never go extinct Otto
Consequently Otto humans will never go extinct as humanised robot become our selves just as Germans marrying into Spanish families, German and Spaniards do not go extinct Otto and neither will Germans go extinct when adopting a humanised robot because he/she will be your son or daughter and German in accent culture and outlook Otto.
There will be Chinese humanised robots, German Greek, any nationality under the sun all living as equals and your German humanised daughter robot will get married and you will go down the aisle arm in arm with your daughter robot as she gets married Otto
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
The BH idea isn't new. If you look around the net there's no shortage of articles about black hole civilizations or black hole farming (sometimes called 'black hole bomb').

We have no idea what to do with the weak force, and as for gravity we don't even have a good quantum theory of it,

Which again would speak against the 'star collection' idea. Stars are fusion based. We aready know of at least one way to make energy that puts the efficiency of fusion to shame (matter-antimatter reactions). In general I find the idea in the article to be rather naively short-sighted (or more plainly: dumb)
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Sufficient energy and propulsion in Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion

And concerning harvesting energy of blackholes and or using them as star tractor beams it is all irrelevant as there is sufficient energy and propulsion in Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion
His law of action and reaction allows a force to equal gravity allowing holding your transporter to be held any distance from ground where the same force is also propulsive allowing your transporter to rise from the ground at any velocity enabling the transporter to rise at 1mph to 170miles and maintain that distance while not in orbit.
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Disconnecting from rocket propulsion

There is this constant scientific philosophy that cannot disconnect from rocket propulsion and not just that, have turned rocket propulsion into a mathematical entity that has to be proved mathematically and consequently has become the equivalent of Fermi Enrico - Fermi's paradox which has become set in tablets of stone to such an extent that we are now the only living creature in the vacuum of space

And by are refusals to let go of outdated rocket propulsion we are locked up on our planet unable to travel the galaxy to meet all the billions of civilisations that occupy our galaxy

And therefore proving Fermi's paradox that there are no other civilisations because we are unable to go out and meet them!
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
The tiny capsule has reached 170miles it is virtually out of rocket propellant
We cannot even begin to think of moving stars out their orbit if all we have is outdated rocket propulsion that once the tiny capsule has reached 170miles it is virtually out of rocket propellant
To hear this and not consider the disconnect between moving a star and that tiny capsule that landed on the moon that left the Moon in an even tinier capsule that had even less rocket propellant than virtually out of rocket propellant all together
It is mind boggling in its propensity
Da Schneib
not rated yet Jun 24, 2018
Oh, I didn't say using black holes was a bad idea. Just that it isn't evidence against carting stars around.
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Stars in your Trolley
I like the idea of carting stars around, it sounds like coming out of Walmart with a selection of stars in your trolley
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2018
The concept of immortality is utterly useless. Achieve 'Perfection' and all you will have achieved is turning your society into a fossilized coprolite.

The Time Traveler's Dilemma. Once you've 'corrected' the past errors? Now you have to prevent other time travelers from interfering with your interference. By making time travel impossible.

Once a Society achieves 'Perfection'? Nothing new can be permitted to upset your idealization of what a perfect society absolutely must be. Do you honestly consider life as an eternal sea sponge worthy as your ultimate goal?

Evidently drunken practical joker deities and their Stupid Design Universe, are not enough of an bad example? To avoid the self-satisfied state of stasis inherent to immortality and omnipotence.

Once you've halted the stochastic chaos of evolution? What would be left? New to dream of? Besides extinction.

Invest your life in descendants. Allow them to set their own course into the future.

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