Science: Space
Dyson sphere energy to matter   (+1, -3)  [vote for, against]

A long time ago I made an idea which was this: a Dyson sphere be built around the sun, and the energy collected turned into matter. I believe it got some bad reviews, but I just remembered it after reading this article on Wikipedia (Check out the link). The law of the convervation of energy states that matter cannot be created or destroyed but it can be converted into each other. In the link, some researchers used a Bose-Einstein condensate to slow light to a virtual stop, and then turned the light into matter AND back. See? Its not such a crazy idea after all. The trick is getting this to work on a massive scale, and in space. Assuming you have the man power, money, and material to construct a Dyson sphere. Come to think of it, this simple idea could be used to harness the material needed to construct the Dyson sphere, heck even the material for ships, rocket fuel (or whatever you use when you build this for propulsion), etc.

Quote from the article: "In 1999, Danish physicist Lene Vestergaard Hau led a team from Harvard University who succeeded in slowing a beam of light to about 17 metres per second and, in 2001, was able to momentarily stop a beam. She was able to achieve this by using a superfluid. Hau and her associates at Harvard University have since successfully transformed light into matter and back into light using Bose-Einstein condensates: details of the experiment are discussed in an article in the journal Nature, 8 February 2007."
-- EvilPickels, Jun 05 2009

Link to that Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia...Einstein_condensate
Bose Einstein condensate [EvilPickels, Jun 05 2009]

//The trick is getting this to work on a massive scale, and in space// sounds like a good tagline to me.
-- sninctown, Jun 05 2009

If you just managed to build a Dyson Sphere, my guess would be that your supply of matter needs no refill.

I second the [marked-for-tagline] wish.
-- loonquawl, Jun 05 2009

loonquawl, I think the main advantage of this idea is:

...this simple idea could be used to harness the material needed to construct the Dyson sphere...

At perfect efficiency this would create matter at roughly 10^10kg per second.

A dyson sphere with a radius of 1 AU of about 10cm thickness would require 1.82 × 10^26 kg depending on the density of the material (see wikipedia on dyson spheres) so could be formed after 300 million years with this method.
-- xaviergisz, Jun 05 2009

This may be the explanation behind dark matter - instead of it being something all weird and mysterious, it could just be stars that have naturally created their own accretion shells.
-- zen_tom, Jun 05 2009

but why? Other than making solar system uninhabitable and wasting huge quantities of constructive energy what do you achieve?
-- WcW, Jun 05 2009

Although this idea is doomed to a similar fate as its predecessor, I have to ask if it might not, at some point in the future, be a valuable proposition? Not the idea per se, but rather matter as a form of energy storage. I have explored this previously with a similarly piscatorial response.

The first question would be why you want to lock energy, something we need, in matter. Something we have in abundance, but also, something we have very little chance of getting efficient energy out of?

The first answer would be some "cold fusion" mechanism. Creating energy from matter in a self-limiting way (remember this kind of "fusion" needs no containment other than to create the reaction itself (like a magnetic toroid or etc), i.e could not be a weapon, or, if at weapons grade, could be suitably monitored and legislated). Well then, matter becomes more important than chemical energy, or even fission energy. And so becomes a commodity. We don't want to be digging our own matter for this (even though the energies out are vast compared to mass input, hopefully we may have assimilated that lesson from fossil fuels)

The second answer is some kind of matter-antimatter reaction. In which matter is once again a feedstock.

Until matter becomes a more important feedstock for our energy requirements, more important than energy (however stored) does. This wont work. Also if you are using our Sun, you may have other problems.

To enumerous to mention....
-- 4whom, Jun 05 2009

that is completely ludicrous.
-- WcW, Jun 05 2009

[WcW] I do not think it ludicrous to view matter as a feedstock for energy requirements. Neither do most nuclear energy proponents. I do view this idea as ludicrous, but it is not far from viewing matter as energy feedstock, which is good in, and of, itself.

The Dyson sphere was always a *system* encapsulation method , it never seperated a star from its planets. This idea does and that is wrong. However, converting energy to matter as a method of energy storage may, in the future, be correct.
-- 4whom, Jun 05 2009

random, halfbakery