Set in the distant future, human is transitioning to a type 3 advanced civilization on a Kardashev scale in about a hundred years or two. We have nearly exhausted the energy from our Sun and several other neighbouring main sequence stars, the demand for energy soars exponentially with every star system conquered.

We are currently facing a energy crisis and my experts are setting their eyes on a binary star system just light years away from Earth, we identified it as a binary star system consisting of a Uv Ceti Star aka flare star and a red dwarf. According to a report the flare star has been ejecting massive charged particles frequently as we believed that the companion star is responsible for stirring up the magnetic field on the surface of the flare star.

Question: I'm looking for a reliable and efficient method to harvest energy from the flare star however my engineers feedback that they could not predict the next mass ejection. How can I get around this problem without putting my crews at risk and still be able to tap the energy from the star?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A Kardashev 3 civilization is powered by all the stars in the galaxy. It would have exploited UV Ceti long ago in its ancient past. The possible engineering challenges would be standard operating procedure. Just harvesting energy from yet another flare star. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 7 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android: they are transcending to type 3 so at least the neighbouring main seq stars are being mined so in order to conquered the galaxies they need to mine flare stars and compact stars too. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jan 7 at 1:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You really need to fix your grammar; it is almost impossible to read your question. $\endgroup$ – Marvin the Paranoid Android Jan 7 at 2:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "My engineers cannot predict when..." I'm not sure how you expect to reach K3 level with such simpletons doing engineering for you. Have them upgraded, or replace them with something smarter. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 7 at 10:22

Your timescales need some attention. It is not possible for humanity to reach K3 in a couple of hundred years. K3 implies a galactic-level civilisation powered by a significant fraction of the energy output of all the stars in the galaxy. With human reproductive rates, even if we invented instant stellar-range FTL travel tomorrow and found optimum colony conditions at every star we tried, we wouldn't populate the galaxy for over a thousand years.

Also, what the heck have you been doing that has exhausted the energy of the Sun in a few hundred years? A K2 civilisation might expect to consume a large fraction of the energy output by a star at its normal burn rate, but not generally to accelerate the burning of a star so that it burns through its multi-billion year fuel supply in a couple of hundred years. If your process is even 0.1% inefficient you will generate waste heat equal to a million times the sun's actual current output and will have laid waste to the solar system.

If you're still worried about individual stars near Earth and haven't more-or-less automated the process of stellar harvesting you're only really at K2 scale.

How you deal with this particular star is really a plot point and dependent on what technology you decide your characters have access to. Some suggestions below:

  1. Ignore it and harvest an easier star. Given the capabilities of your engineers (I presume they are AIs at this civilisation level?), this may be the best bet.
  2. Build a Dyson swarm of energy harvesters and accept that some parts of the swarm will get trashed occasionally.
  3. Build more robust harvesters that don't get trashed when a mass ejection hits them and can move back into their correct position afterwards.
  4. Move the companion star out of the way so it stops destabilising the flare star.
  5. Turn one of the stars into a black hole and feed the other one to it, then harvest the energy emitted from the accretion disk.

If you are approaching K3 civilization type, building Dyson sphere should be now no problem for you.

On "flare star" thing. If there is chance of accidents which would damage given sphere, try using Dyson's made out of individual satellites. You should be able to mass produce at marginal costs, so losing several million of them once a while shouldn't be any problem for manufactures.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi I have just made major edit to my question please check if your answer is still applicable. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jan 7 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Yep, it is, I hope at least. $\endgroup$ – Guy with jewels' names Jan 7 at 11:09

I'll add to the other answers that discuss the harvester setup, and focus on the protection aspect.

You need to take your harvester technology and surround it with a material of high magnetic permeability and redirect the magnetic field lines. The magnetic flux will kill your harvesting technology.

You also have to worry about the sudden burst of brightness. Flare stars can get very, very bright, by multiple orders of magnitude. You need to account for this. If your sensors and shields account for a certain level of brightness, the sudden brightness can disorient the systems that you need to remain in place and oriented correctly, destroy the systems with heat, etc.

It's also important to note that flare stars emit bursts of light across the entire spectrum, an immense blast of ionizing photons and handling just x-rays will not be sufficient.

Finally, it's not as simple as the red dwarf causing flares. It goes both ways. Red dwarfs can release their own flares, even superflares, and there's evidence that one flare can cause sympathy flares so you also need protection from all sides instead of whatever's just facing the target star.

But you're approaching K3 - none of this should be a problem for you. If your Dyson Sphere and harvester technology can only handle certain wavelengths, types of radiation, levels of heat, amounts of magnetic flux, then you're not ready for K3 for a long time because there's a whole bunch of other things that could wipe out your civilization.

A K3 civilization is expected to handle black holes, quasars, and gamma ray bursts. If you can't handle this, you will never be able to handle those. Better start working on that technology faster.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.