What Is a Dyson Sphere and Can We Ever Build One ?

Dyson spheres may be unrealistic right now, but they’re likely coming in the next few hundred years.

A Dyson sphere is a truly mammoth mechanism, big enough to surround an entire star. The purpose of this megastructure is to absorb the energy released by a star, for use by humans, be it on Earth or elsewhere.

The idea of a Dyson sphere was first put forward in the 1960s by theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson, where he theorized that orbiting solar collectors could be used to harness the energy of stars. Such a venture has been an interesting topic of conversation ever since. Scientists and enthusiasts alike have since considered the feasibility of such a structure, given its immense size.

To put the proposed size of a Dyson sphere into numbers, it would need to be bigger than the diameter of a star, like our sun. This would mean that a minimum diameter of 1.4 million kilometers would be required. To put this into scale even further, a Dyson sphere would essentially need a diameter over a hundred times that of the Earth. Pretty mega.

A Dyson sphere would also require huge amounts of resources, including millions of tons of metal and circuitry. This is part of the reason why humanity is currently far from building such a structure. But, would we really want to build one, anyway? What would the real benefits be?

Video Credit: Isaac Arthur

Why Would We Build a Dyson Sphere?

The sole reason for building a Dyson sphere would be to harness incredibly large amounts of energy from a star. Our sun, for example, releases around four million tonnes of energy every second. If just half or a quarter of that was absorbed by a Dyson sphere, we’d be able to access gargantuan amounts of energy.

This would prove hugely beneficial for humanity, given that it would totally negate the need for non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, and gas. The current climate crisis associated with the use of harmful fossil fuels is now reaching a breaking point, with countries scrambling to reach their environmental initiatives, while other nations ignore the crisis altogether. It is clear that humanity is in need of a renewable and dependable energy source, and this is where Dyson spheres could be hugely beneficial.

Dyson spheres would also allow for people around the globe to access sufficient amounts of energy, without the need for power stations. Essentially, using a Dyson sphere could power our entire planet effortlessly, giving people in third-world countries the ability to achieve a higher quality of life.

In a sense, the successful use of a Dyson sphere would totally change the world as we know it, and could help in reducing the effects of climate change that are threatening our planet. While this sounds pretty incredible, building a Dyson sphere certainly wouldn’t be a walk in the park in humanity, and it might still be hundreds or thousands of years away from becoming a reality.

Video Credit: What If

How Realistic Are Dyson Spheres?

Given that Dyson spheres are such massive structures, it certainly isn’t possible for us to build one at the moment. A big reason for this is the time and resources it would require to transport the materials needed for the Dyson sphere.

With our current technology, it would take a craft around four years to reach the Sun. And, given the sheer amount of material that would need to be transported, hundreds of crafts would be needed. If not, a smaller number of crafts would need to make hundreds of trips back and forth, which would be incredibly time-consuming.