Science: Terraforming
See-through planet   (+4, -4)  [vote for, against]
The world is at your feet.

Terraform a planet from silicon or some other material with a low refractive index, so that you can see through to the other side.

Could give rise to an entire new field of "inward telescoping". Observation of shallow bodies of water would be a walk in the park, and a walk in the park would turn into a whole new experience of global voyeurism.

Increased global consciousness and natural knowledge of geography a bonus. Increased job security in the polishing industry, too.
-- placid_turmoil, Jun 30 2008

God beat you to it.
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 30 2008]

//Silicon// - Silicone?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 30 2008

"Terraform" usually means to overhaul an existing planet to more earth-like conditions. This posting proposes building a planet from scratch, and is a WIBNI. [-]
-- baconbrain, Jun 30 2008

pretty concept though.
-- po, Jun 30 2008

Water would be the easiest, and no worry with cracks or tectonics, but you'd be limited to a hundred feet or so. Even with the purest materials used in optic cables, you're limited to about 60 miles. If you want to see through an entire planet, you must use something other than light, such as neutrinos.
-- ldischler, Jun 30 2008

Easiest way is to just make a huge tunnel through Earth, reinforce the sides and put a bit of glassover each end. It wouldn't be as good but you could at least theoretically do it.
-- Bad Jim, Jun 30 2008

[ldischler], as you point out distance is a concern, and we do want our planet to be of a sufficient mass to be able to exert earth-like gravity. Perhaps a very dense core, and a cobweb structure of transparent material plus one coat for the surface would do the trick.

[Max], I'm not sure silicone would be more appropriate, I know that glass for instance contains mainly silicon dioxyde (also known as silica), and silicone seems to refer to a class of synthetic polymers which, as far as I can tell, do not systematically share the particular property I am looking for: transparency.

[baconbrain], it is indeed a blatant WIBNI, but isn't all terraforming, really? Or (looking through your list of ideas) controlling gravity, for that matter.

Why thank you, [po] :)
-- placid_turmoil, Jul 05 2008

Diamond doesn't work for you?
Granted polishing it won't be easy but just think of the size of the Laser you could make.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 06 2008

I wonder if in the future those massive diamonds will work ever so elegantly into some great design. Yes, giant lasers and also a swift means to overtake Civ 0 civilizations. But, imagine a giant crystal ball able to see into the future. Maybe the diamond will contain traces of it's planetary history and we can like, see into the past and recover histories gone astray.

Or just build a bunch of drills with which to mine deserted planets... bleh.
-- daseva, Jul 06 2008

We will cast rainbows 'cross the Cosmos.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 06 2008

[2 fries], diamond has a very high refractive index and is thus not suitable. And I'm not trying to build a death star :D
-- placid_turmoil, Jul 06 2008

//in the future those massive diamonds will work ever so elegantly into some great design//
Literally, I imagine; it'd be a no-brainer to go out and collect a few and put them at trojan points of Earth's orbit to make the solar systme more sparkly. Note that the one in the <link> has a gravity of 8x Earth's and a current temperature of > 1000C
-- FlyingToaster, Jul 06 2008

[placid] I think I've an anno somewhere which postulates a revolving cylindrical space habitat with see-through "walls"(floors); sunlight comes in and is collected by an inner cylinder for light and heat.... wouldn't be as neat as a whole transparent planet, but probably easier to build.
-- FlyingToaster, Jul 06 2008

//I'm not trying to build a death star//

Think of it as multi-tasking.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 06 2008

random, halfbakery