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Earthsail

Take our planet for a tour of the cosmos!
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This doesn't require any technology that isn't physically impossible, but does require that our civilization be a late Kardashev Level I or II civilization.

Here's the idea: We create some method of providing the earth with heat and light to simulate the sun. Perhaps by ringing the planet with a sort of torus in which is placed an extremely large fusion rocket, that would direct radiation towards the earth, while orbiting in a slide embedded in the torus.

Secondly, position an extremely large solar sail on the sunward side of the Earth, and have it attached to the planet by means of a number of immense columns. In this system, the solar sail 'pushes' the planet, while the light source orbiting between the sail and the earth, provides illumination and heat energy for our miniature world-system.

Thirdly: Increase the mass and intensity of the sun by feeding it the contents of the gas giant planets and nearby stars by means of star-lifting. Having already proposed that we be able to produce artificial black holes and create rigid solar sails several astronomical units in surface area, this third requirement should be no problem at all.

This coupled system should be enough to accelerate the earth out of the solar system and set it on a grand interstellar tour of the cosmos. Once we get a large enough distance from the sun for the intensity of radiation to drop off to levels insufficient for our purposes, we can simply expand the size of our solar sail so as to gain thrust from background stellar radiation.

It would take us quite a while, depending on the size of our solar sail, to accelerate to any decent speed (perhaps we should set our target velocity to about 0.5 - 0.6c?), but since I've already prepositioned that we be a civilization that can harness the power of entire solar systems or galaxies, this should be overlooked.

qt75rx1, Apr 08 2008

Kardashev Scale http://en.wikipedia...iki/Kardashev_scale
The aforementioned Kardashev scale of civilization [qt75rx1, Apr 08 2008]

Marrow http://en.wikipedia.../Marrow_%28novel%29
A novel much on the same idea. Mine is more of the precursor to the giant spaceship depicted herein. [qt75rx1, Apr 08 2008]

[link]






       [marked-for-deletion] science fiction.   

       But in any case, there is no way you would get enough radiation to move the Earth appreciably without also frying its occupants.
DrCurry, Apr 08 2008
  

       //This doesn't require any technology that isn't physically impossible// Errrrr....
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 08 2008
  

       Niven did this in his Ringworld universe. Some creatures put a number of planets in a circle with a "sun" in the center and directed the solar output for propulsion.
phoenix, Apr 08 2008
  

       That was jet propulsion, quite feasible, not solar wind pushing a sail, quite bullshit.
DrCurry, Apr 08 2008
  

       Well, addressing that point, [DrCurry], it's assumed that the solar sail would be the thing that the radiation is impinging upon, and that the area of the sail would be greater than that of the earth. Also, you still haven't said why a solar sail is "bullshit". We just need a large enough sail, no?   

       Besides, it's no more science fiction than, say, that idea a while back that proposed building some sort of gigantic orbital arch out of stone.
qt75rx1, Apr 08 2008
  

       And why won't the black hole eat the solar sail? How much mass does the black hole add to our new planet/hole system? Isn't all the radiation coming off the event horizon of a black hole in the X-ray range? Sorry, I'm going to have to say no (-). I'd say you are no Piersen Puppeteer.
MisterQED, Apr 08 2008
  

       //the planets weren't put in a circle, they were *made into* a circle.// [DrCurry], you're thinking of the Ringworld itself, but [phoenix] is referencing the "Puppeteers"' "fleet of worlds" - a Klemperer rosette of five planets orbiting a common barycenter.   

       I don't see any reason to grab our rock and take it with. Are there no planets where we're going?
lurch, Apr 08 2008
  

       //This doesn't require any technology that isn't physically impossible//   

       //We maintain a small artificial black hole//   

       Connect, please.
wagster, Apr 08 2008
  

       lurch: ah, yes, indeed I was forgetting that part.
DrCurry, Apr 08 2008
  

       Creating an artificial black hole is within the realm of possibility. The Large Hadron Collider could in theory reach energies high enough to create micro black holes. Assuming some three to five centuries of technological development, there is, within the laws of physics, the chance for us to crush together enough mass and energy to create an artificial singularity.   

       At any rate, we needn't necessarily have a black hole if that seems a bit too out there. Since I'm assuming a level of technological and infrastructural development centuries beyond our own, we could cover the planet in a shell that would maintain its atmosphere and provide a source of overhead illumination that way, I suppose.   

       Besides, would we NEED a reason to set our planet a-flying? The idea of sailing about the universe with our planet-turned-spaceship strikes a fanciful chord with me.
qt75rx1, Apr 08 2008
  

       Haul off Venus. Bring it back when it's cooled a bit.   

       Here's my objection to a black-hole-lit flying planet: in order to have the pseudo-sun's //intensity equal to that of the sun at 93 million km// is not hard, it just depends on you selecting the distance correctly with relation to the actual output. However, if it's too small, the distance has to be small, and you end up lighting/heating just a narrow band under its orbital track. In order to get the radiation to hit the entire surface of the earth, the black hole needs to be at distance D>>r, some distance exceeding the earth's radius by a large amount. But when you put it out farther to get better coverage, it needs to be brighter (more massive). And it tends to produce output in wavelengths that would require you to wear black-hole-block in BHPF 10^9. (I'll go ahead and mix up some aluminum - tungsten - concrete epoxy slurry that might work.)
lurch, Apr 08 2008
  

       I think that black hole block issue might be the deal killer here. Black hole radiation is bad. Plus where is the matter going to come from that we feed it?   

       I am reminded of that Mercury-Not-mars scheme of a civilization built on a circumplanetary track, to make sure it stayed on the dark side. Something like that might work with the black hole too. Probably all the hard radiation would render the ground toasty warm for hours.   

       I give qt a bun because I am amused by big SF-style thinks. Much grist for the mental mill.
bungston, Apr 09 2008
  

       I see your points, [bungston] and [lurch]. Amended!
qt75rx1, Apr 09 2008
  
      
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