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Earth Shell

Eliminate time zones with planet-enclosing shell
 
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I'm not actually "proposing" this as an idea for many obvious reasons, but I thought this community might be a place where someone might have heard of this being handled in a sci-fi context.

What I envision is enclosing Earth and its atmosphere in a giant shell. Maybe it would have a radius of a half-million miles, and would include the moon in its orbit, so tides would not be effected. This shell would, through some purely hypothetical* technology take all the solar radiation that hits it and spread it uniformly around its entire inner surface. Furthermore, it would go through a 24-hour cycle that goes blocking enough light so that it's dark as night down here on the surface to letting enough through so that it's as bright as noon, then back to darkness.

This way, day and night would occur at the same time at all longitudes. Financial markets would open and close at the same time, relatives in other countries would be awake at the same time, etc.

If the day/night cycle were always 12 hours of each, it would be like an equinox every day of the year; there would be no seasons. This would screw with the life cycles of many species and probably collapse the ecosystem. Or, the ratio of day to night could be artificially manipulated to simulate seasons. On the first day of "spring", start lightening the entire sphere at 6:00 AM and darkening it about six PM. As you get closer to "summer" the areas near the poles are never darkened and the sphere is lightened sooner and darkened later at higher latitudes than at the equator, then the process is reversed until you get another 12/12 day for the beginning of "fall," then you begin to keep bigger and bigger areas around the poles in constant dark.

Anyone ever hear of anything like this?

*And by hypothetical I mean most likely friggin' impossible.

cranford, Dec 21 2009

Dyson Sphere http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere
On a stellar scale. [DrWorm, Dec 21 2009]

Dyson Sphere http://www.dyson.co.../balltechnology.asp
[swimswim, Dec 21 2009]

Earth in a bubble Earth_20in_20a_20bubble
[xaviergisz, Dec 21 2009]

[link]






       Thank you for the "Dyson Sphere" response, but it's not quite the same thing. A Dyson Sphere surrounds a star and people live on its inner surface; it replaces a planet. I'm thinking of a leaving the planet right where it is and enclosing it in a million-mile-diameter ball.
cranford, Dec 21 2009
  

       I know the Dyson Sphere is different. I just thought that it was an interesting, similar idea. Also,I couldn't possibly not vote for a megastructure, so here ya go [+].
DrWorm, Dec 21 2009
  

       [ ] interesting "indirect lighting" but <blah> otherwise... also not an invention.   

       Possibly exists in SF... I'm thinking of an (unread) story where aliens build a shell 'round the Earth for some reason or other... and I just finished "Century Rain" in which an alien species duplicates the Earth c.1945 and puts a realistic simulation on the inside of a shell to keep the dup'd inhabitants unaware that they're not in Kansas anymore... or something like that.
FlyingToaster, Dec 21 2009
  

       Why would you have to include the moon in the shell in order to preserve tidal effects? Is your shell made of gravity- proof paper?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 21 2009
  

       How would you keep the sphere's orbit around the sun synchronized with earth's, such that it doesn't veer off and crash into the earth?
tatterdemalion, Dec 21 2009
  

       Meh, people would have to live in enclosed structures built into a dyson sphere. No gravity inside, no atmosphere inside or outside.
MechE, Dec 21 2009
  

       Ah. Another hick from the Periphery, who's never been to Trantor before.
lurch, Dec 21 2009
  

       And they think I'm crazy.
Ah Supp, Oct 07 2011
  

       Of course we do. You're here, aren't you?
Alterother, Oct 07 2011
  

       There does exist some fiction where certain features of this Idea have been explored, only in an inside-out sort of way. A Dyson Sphere, as mentioned, is one, but the earliest version is to be found in the "Pellucidar" stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Vernon, Oct 07 2011
  

       // Anyone ever hear of anything like this? //   

       Hundreds of times. Variations on this theme are a sci-fi staple. If I linked to every book on Amazon that has something like this in it, HB would crash and Jutta would come to my house and beat me to death with a cricket bat. Read Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, John Varley, Larry Niven, Greg Bear, Stanislaw Lem*, Gene Rottenberry...   

       *on second thought, don't read Lem. I don't want to be responsible for your death.
Alterother, Oct 07 2011
  

       A series of orbiting mirrors could do this if you set the azimuths properly. The back would reflect daylight on the daytime side and the mirrors would reflect light onto the earth on the nighttime side. Then all the trees would die because their hormones would go screwy. Also half of the human population would get headaches, difficulty concentrating, overeating or undereating problems, and possibly mental problems for the same reason
Voice, Oct 07 2011
  
      
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