Rejuvenating the Sun and Avoiding Other Global Catastrophes

Springer Science & Business Media, 24 nov. 2007 - 228 pages
This book is about an audacious idea: asteroengineering—literally, the physical engineering of a star, especially the star we call our Sun. It is an idea on the grandest of scales. Part science fiction, part science fact, asteroengineering is a response to a very definite and a very real problem, a problem that our distant descendants will one day have to face. It is also a universal problem that will be experienced – at some stage or other – by every extraterr- trial civilization that has or will exist. Indeed, the problem to be addressed resides within the parent stars of each and every li- supporting planetary system within our galaxy. In short, stars puff up to become luminous red giants as they age, and by doing this they vaporize those planets previously situated in the habitability zone where life can otherwise thrive. As their parent star ages and approaches the red giant phase, a civilization has two options open to it: stay at home, or pack up and leave. The latter option would require the hapless civilization to cocoon itself within giant spa- ships and then set itself adrift in the uncharted depths of space. If a civilization chooses to stay put, however, then all life will end—unless, that is, something is done about the demise of its parent star.

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Page 7 - ... the last second of the geological year, in our standard pedagogical metaphors. We cannot bear the central implication of this brave new world. If humanity arose just yesterday as a small twig on one branch of a flourishing tree, then life may not, in any genuine sense, exist for us or because of us. Perhaps we are only an afterthought, a kind of cosmic accident, just one bauble on the Christmas tree of evolution. What options are left in the face of geology's most frightening fact?
Page 8 - The issue will be discussed in the next chapter. For the moment, suffice it to say that the possibility need occasion no concern in the present instance; there is no such effect.

À propos de l'auteur (2007)

Associate professor of astronomy, and Head of the Astronomy Department at Campion College, The University of Regina. My main research interests during the past decade have focused on the smaller objects within the solar system (comets, asteroids and meteoroids), but concomitant to this I have continued to perform research related to the structure and evolution of stars (the area of my doctoral studies). The book being proposed here is partly based upon a series of research papers that I have published over the years and on material used in a solar system studies class. The topic of asteroengineering was recently the focus of an ‘opinion article’ I wrote for the May 2006 issue of Astronomy Now magazine, and an editorial piece in the May 2006 issue of Smithsonian Air and Space magazine.

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