Re: Dyson shell redux

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Mar 17 2001 - 11:07:40 MST

On Sat, 17 Mar 2001 wrote:

> Are we talking a gossamer vs. orbiting swarm version of Dyson? What
> is it good for, as it's much too thin for doing anything serious with
> all the energy flux holding it afloat?

Essentially yes. The "Dyson-net/Web" (to differentiate it from everything
else we have) is a solar-sail based design that Jeff's theorizing prompted
a discussion of. You certainly can do computing with it (gates only
need 3 atom thickness now (with the conductors added on top of that)).
You can certainly have somewhat thick regions centered in a lightened
solar sail design (the most advanced solar sail designs are now "holey"
with the holes being smaller than the impinging light wavelengths).

Spike, I think the way you need to do this calculation is to figure out
the minimum area required to radiate the heat from a 400 nm^3 diamondoid
nanoputer. You need to dissipate 60 nW (plus any power conversion losses
(~60-70% more if you go photovoltaic). We will assume with diamonidoid
material you can solve the heat conduction problems (i.e. no cooling fluid -
unlike an MBrain). Probably assume an operating temperature of around
500 deg. C since diamond can probably go that high or somewhat higher.

You then want to determine whether that mass of that is and whether it
can be supported by the light pressure and what orbits it can maintain
itself in (by allowing more or less light to "flow" through it. Though
I didn't think of it before, you not only can have nano-mirrors to vector
the photons in different directions, you can also have nano-irises
that control light "flow" through the material.

What it is "good" for (if the design holds up) is 2-D cellular automata
architectures (which Anders has suggested may be good for solving some
types of differential equations). Its also the only architecture you
may be able to build in those solar systems that have been strip-mined
by the roving E.Y. SysOp managed MBrains that need every little bit of
matter they can cheaply lay their hands on because the can't ever "erase"
a sentient being...


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