Essays

Energy for a Future Star-Spanning White Civilization

The problems which cause mediocre minds to declare “it’s all hopeless” cause extraordinary minds to find unseen pathways.

by David Sims

A BROWN DWARF star having a mass of 0.05 solar masses contains about 5.9747e+55 hydrogen atoms, making possible a maximum of 1.4937e+55 nuclear reactions by the proton-proton chain, for a maximum total of 6.294e+43 Joules of energy.

If this mass is used in nuclear reactors, and the efficiency is 50% in getting energy from the atoms to the consumers, then the brown dwarf would meet the global energy needs of Earth (at the 2013 level) for 5e22 years.

If that same amount of energy were equally divided up among one billion people, and each person were allocated 500 kilowatt-hours of energy use per day, then the brown dwarf would last, once again, for 5e22 years.

Stars are pretty, but stars are wasteful. Star formation will end, due to a depletion of hydrogen in the Universe, in about one hundred trillion (1e14) years. The stars will have nearly all gone out by 10 trillion years later. It would have been much better, from an engineering standpoint, to bank most of the hydrogen into brown dwarfs and wait for someone to come along to use it, since that way the hydrogen would last for at least a hundred million times longer.

Of course, without so many stars, life might never have evolved. The most wasteful hot blue stars of spectral types O and B were needed, for a while, to produce heavy elements and scatter them as they died in supernovae. The stars of types G, K, and M, forming after the metals became available, were needed to produce intelligent living creatures.

But here we are. Once we figure out how to fuse hydrogen into helium to extract nuclear energy with some efficiency, the need for stars — any stars at all — will be past. They are pretty, but surely the universe could henceforth do with fewer of such expensive decorations.

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Source: Author

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3 Comments

  1. Marc
    July 18, 2017 at 4:20 am — Reply

    Until we find an efficient and safe way to travel in Space at faster-than-light velocity, Space exploration will remain a useless distraction! Fortunately, there has been a lot of theoretical work being done(quite officially!)by NASA, and bright individual Scientists, such as Miguel ALCUBIERRE. But so far as I would guess, Faster-than-light Interstellar Travel is probably still hundreds of years away from us!… But one cannot entirely dismiss the possibility of a spectacular scientific-technological breakthrough in the near Future… Such breakthrough have happened quite often in Physical Science!

  2. Christopher Pike
    July 21, 2017 at 8:28 am — Reply

    “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin – 1895

    Thus spoke one of the most famous physicists who ever lived. Yet, less than a decade later, “the impossible” became real. This historical incident, along with many others, prove how even the experts are often wrong about the pathways new technology will take. And we went from “impossible” heavier-than-air flight in 1903 to jet aircraft within a mere 40 years. And walking on the moon only 66 years after Orville and Wilbur Wright made the “impossible” possible. That’s less than a lifetime. What a leap forward! So within the lifetime of some reading this such a leap could very well happen again; some new, previously unknown scientific/technological method or machine could break the light barrier, and the universe will be ours. And once it is, we must make certain the subhuman hordes will not follow.

  3. Walt Hampton
    July 23, 2017 at 10:14 am — Reply

    Controlled nuclear fusion…a tough nut to crack….

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