With the pressing concerns regarding climate change, alternative sources of energy have been a prevalent topic of discussion. These sources range from feasible ideas such as nuclear power to ideas a bit more far fetched, such as harnessing energy from waves. While the alternative energy sources in question are all relatively feasible, there are some concepts that seem like the works of sci fi novelists. The application of these concepts is nearly impossible, but the methods and their ways of harnessing energy are quite interesting.
One such concept is known as the Dyson Sphere. Theorized by physicist Freeman Dyson, these spherical megastructures would encapsulate a civilization’s host star and ideally harness all of the solar radiation produced by said star. According to Dyson, these spheres would only be necessary for an intelligent civilization far larger and with far larger energy demands than we do. This civilization would need to be capable of travel about the solar system, as once the Dyson Sphere is constructed, the civilization would reside there. One method Dyson proposed that could be applied to create this sphere would be to deconstruct a planet in their solar system- ideally a large one such as Jupiter- and redistribute the mass into a spherical shell. Instruments capable of harnessing the Sun’s energy would be built on the inner face of the sphere, and the civilization would need to have a method of radiating the additional energy so that the Dyson Sphere does not melt.
Another concept would be to somehow get a mini black hole to orbit a civilization’s planet. The late Stephen Hawking claimed that a mountain-sized black hole could suffice all of Earth’s energy demands and then some; this energy is produced by harnessing Hawking radiation. Along the event horizon, particle pairs pop into existence. The pair is composed of a particle and antiparticle, which will annihilate each other right after they are created. Sometimes, one of these particles gets absorbed by the black hole and the other is released as radiation (This is also how black holes shrink and die off over time). Hawking stated that a black hole of that size would produce high-energy electromagnetic radiation at a rate of about 10 million megawatts.
While these concepts are almost entirely implausible, it is fascinating nonetheless to think about whether or not there are other civilizations in our universe advanced enough to employ methods as intricate as these.