Helioforming is the ignition of gas giants of various sizes, or black dwarves, to create protostellar or even stellar celestial bodies. This can be achieved in two ways: compression or mass increase, both of which elevate the celestial body's density over the critical point for fusion to happen.

I have been thinking about a way to achieve this feasibly in a (somewhat) high/hard sci-fi setting and I think I found a solution: dark matter, specifically WIMP dark matter.

WIMP stands for Weakly Interacting Massive Particle, a potential candidate for dark matter, which means particles that interact weakly with baryonic matter but possess a considerable mass and thus can create impressive gravity wells while being effectively invisible and intangible.

My solution would consist of utilizing technology to manipulate dark matter and deposit a considerable amount of it in a gas giant's core, increasing its mass while not increasing the volume, and thus maximizing density increase, until the ignition point is met.

On top of that, since dark matter is much more abundant than baryonic matter, it would be much easier to obtain and use on a truly massive scale.

The idea came from the following video by Isaac Arthur on dark matter technologies

Would such a feat be feasible for a civilization between level 1 and 2 on the Kardashev scale in a setting with physics resembling the real world?

  • $\begingroup$ What does my personal belief have to do with you building a fictional world? Questions based on opinions aren't permitted on this site. Can you edit this post to aske a more specific question, which will require answers based in facts, references, or specific expertise? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 11, 2022 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings Is this better? $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2022 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ We currently do not know with certainty what WIMP dark matter is made of, or how it could be manipulated (obviously not gravitically, otherwise you wouldn't need it to increase the mass of the gas giant - unless you used it as a "reservoir" of weakly interacting mass, because you're unable to use your gravity there, maybe?). So, the question "would a civilization with a lot of energy at their disposal be able to..." cannot really be answered scientifically. You can just imagine that it can, and go on from there. $\endgroup$
    – LSerni
    Oct 11, 2022 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ This has been done. It is a primary plot point in the Stephen Baxter novel, "Ring", and a background occurrence in much of his Xeelee Sequence. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_(Baxter_novel) $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2022 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


You could use this method to make a gas giant fuse hydrogen and become a "star", however unless you had some cheap method of keeping the dark matter inside it, the effect would be temporary. Unless WIMPs are heavier than atoms, they wouldn't stay inside a star on their own.

A star is not a fire that keeps "burning" on its own; once the planet's mass dropped back to normal it would revert to being ordinary gas.

For a long-term star, you'd have better luck adding hydrogen.

  • $\begingroup$ transforming it to a black hole would work permanently (until it evaporates naturally) $\endgroup$
    – zedling
    Oct 12, 2022 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ Wiki states that expected WIMP mass is about 100 GeV which is a LOT heavier than atoms. So if there are WIMPs with mass around that value, and one would assemble these somehow (they have no charge, how to contain them?), and put them into a gas giant for mass increase, they are unlikely to accelerate on their own away from the giant's gravity well. And since they are WIMPs they won't exactly get thrown out by the ignited giant's light or other effects, at least too many WIMPs would remain the giant's gravity well for it to not lose enough mass to stop fusion if it started. $\endgroup$
    – Vesper
    Oct 13, 2022 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ Given matter is affected by gravity (evidenced by clumping) and if can be cooled at least somewhat to clump locally. Then it is trivial to keep the dark and light matter masses in the same place. Gas giant present a decent sized gravity well. If A gas giant couldn't hold WIMPS via gravity, that would imply a really hot WIMP temperatures. $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2022 at 21:07

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