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Suppose a synthetic material is created that can withstand the heat of the sun. Suppose also that this material is incredibly insulated, strong, durable, flexible, etc... And it's also cheap. It can become as common as plastic.

What else in addition to this material would be needed for humanity to successfully colonize and live on our Sun? Things like housing, clothing, and nearly all utensils would presumably be made from this super material (and other materials like it), but how would it be possible to grow and/or sustain any type of food? How would we transport and recycle water in this super-heated environment?

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marked as duplicate by James, ckersch, TrEs-2b, Rob Watts, Twelfth Sep 12 '16 at 19:15

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    $\begingroup$ The problem with your scenario is that the sun does not have any sort of solid surface. It would be like trying to land "on" Jupiter, which is mostly just gas. As a result, you cannot land on the sun, rather you can only enter the atmosphere, and you would fall toward the center until heat becomes a secondary concern to pressure, which would crush pretty much any material. $\endgroup$ – MozerShmozer Sep 12 '16 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ This question combined with a hard-science tag only admits of the answer "they couldn't." No landing surface, 28Gs of gravity, 6000 Kelvins or so... not happening, rest your head. $\endgroup$ – SudoSedWinifred Sep 12 '16 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ Adding to that, perfect insulators are impossible, and so if this substance were to exist an enclosed habitat made of it would rapidly become too hot for human to survive. To survive close to a star, you require active cooling, at levels of effectiveness incompatible with the hard-science tag. $\endgroup$ – John Dallman Sep 12 '16 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ We could only live on the sun during winter, of course... ;) $\endgroup$ – Jesse Williams Sep 12 '16 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ @JesseWilliams Of course not in winter ! You just need to land on the sun at night :o $\endgroup$ – Kaël Sep 12 '16 at 18:01
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I don't have the least of least idea how humanity can ever even imagine living on the sun, but here is a list of a few little problems you are going to face, when living on the sun.

1- The Sun Does Not Have A Solid Surface

Pretty weird that sun's surface is in molten state (reference). Also, it keeps wobbling all the time. You would need to find something which would stand upright on such a stellar sized wobbling ball.

2- Radiation

The sun is an unbelievably gigantic hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen bombs release extremely high amounts of lethal radiation including gamma rays and x-rays. You would need to find a means to shield your colony from them.

3- Gravity

The gravity at the surface of the sun is estimated to be 274 m/s² (reference). This is about 28 times greater than the gravity on Earth. I have no idea how you are going to reduce it or live with it.

4- Magnetic Field

Sun's magnetic field is twice as strong (on the surface) as Earth's (reference). Our normal electronic devices would malfunction greatly and roast more frequently there. Also, I have no idea what negative impacts it would have on the human brain and body.

5- Being Caught In A Solar Flare Is Bad

Also, if you get to be standing on a region where a solar flare erupts, I have no idea how it will fare for you. I think it will be very much bad day for you.

6- Food, Oxygen, Water And Other Things

... will not be available on the sun. Also, forget about farming or keeping livestock.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think your number 5 is off. Earth's magnetic field is extremely weak. Doubling it would have little effect on existing electronics, and it would be trivial to build new electronics capable of withstanding any issues caused. The problem would be the really strong fields, like the 4000 Gauss mentioned in your reference -- about 8000 times stronger than Earth's field. $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Sep 19 '16 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelS: Don't forget the horribly, horribly high levels of radiation ... you still think electronics would fare fine? $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Sep 19 '16 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ That's covered under your second point. And it's not like electronics would have fun in the Sun's magnetic field. My point was that the problem isn't just a doubled magnetic field; that alone would be trivial. The problem is an extremely erratic magnetic field that can get up to 8000 times stronger than Earth's. $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Sep 19 '16 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ Also don't forget the reversal of magnetic poles every 12 years or so. @MichaelS $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Sep 20 '16 at 2:54
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As other comments and answers have pointed out, it would be very hard to find a way for any life to survive on the sun, even with a super material like that.

But lets see if we can alleviate some of the problems:

  1. The Sun Does Not Have A Solid Surface

This is only superficially difficult. We won't land on the surface - as there isn't one. We'll be traveling inside some ship or device that doesn't land. Like an airplane that flies in Earth's atmosphere and doesn't lands.

  1. Radiation

I can't think of a solution, except of adding one more super attribute to the super material: it absorbs or reflects most of the radiation.

  1. Gravity

28 g means that humans can't survive but we could convert our idea for the flying ship to a gigantic torus that its center is the same as the Sun's and rotates quickly enough to create 27 or 29 g. Humans live inside.

  1. Magnetic Field and
  2. Solar Flares

The gigantic torus is insulated for magnetic fields and can withstand very high temperatures from the outside.

  1. Food, oxygen, water and other things

Everything needed for survival is brought into the torus after it has been created, in vast quantities. The plan is to create a self-sustainable environment, with soil, plants and animals.


Conclusion: Not sure how feasible any of these ideas are. They seem quite ridiculous at first glance but the bigger obstacle is the existence of such a super material. If there was such a thing, it might be just possible to overcome the rest, although I don't see why it would be a good idea. If the technology was so advanced to make something that survived on (or in) the sun, it would certainly be easier to build spaceships-planets that go around the sun and not so near it.

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