Here we have two artist’s interpretation’s of “Ring and Bubble Worlds” hypothetical megastructures first theorised by physicist Freeman Dyson and popularised by legendary American Sci-fi author Larry Niven. The Ringworld concept was of course recently re-imagined and brought to the fore as the backdrop for Bungie’s seminal First Person Shooter “Halo”.
The top cover is interesting – though admittedly it’s visually descriptive, the scale is completely wrong – Larry Niven’s artificial world is about 600 Million miles in circumference – this would mean here that the central star is tiny! Also on closer inspection the topography is actually stuck on sideways and the whole thing looks more like a giant Zoetrope!…. anyway nitpicking aside, as a cover it still rocks
A “Dyson Ring” is the most simple form of a “Dyson Swarm” basically a vast collection of satellites strung around a star to capture solar energy, this differs slightly to the ring’s described in Niven’s novel and Halo which are actually artificial worlds. Freeman Dyson envisaged these concepts as a solution to meet the needs of a long-lived technological civiliastions energy requirements – that is to say if we succeed in not blowing ourselves/planet into dust and continue to evolve there may well come a time where we need to harness mass solar power from the sun.
Dyson Sphere’s and their variants are certainly fascinating concepts and not total science-fiction either – part of the SETI project (Search for Extra Terestial Intelligence) includes looking for “Infrared Heavy” spectra – which it is theorised a massive star encompassing structure would kick out. As for building one, with the global slowdown and general miserableness it’s probably not cards this year.
Read more about the Dyson Sphere here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere
Also of extreme interest and a good follow up bit of reading is “The Kardashev Scale” a method of measuring a technological civilisations energy needs – the crux of classifying this breaks down into the following:
Type 1 – A civilisation being able to harness all the power available on a planet.
Type 2 – A civilisation harnessing all the power available from a single star (dyson sphere)
Type 3 – A civilisation harnessing all potential energy from a galaxy! (godlike?)
I tend to find the more one reads about the actual Science behind Science Fiction the more one tends to rationalise that idea’s like little green folk zipping about the cosmos in Flying saucers or Millennium Falcons is unfortunately – quite probably – bollocks!
Art (I think!) by and Vincent Di Fate (Top) Dean Ellis (Lower) ……
Images sourced via Flickr’s user Jlever