Status Report

Life Versus Dark Energy: How An Advanced Civilization Could Resist the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe

By SpaceRef Editor
June 15, 2018
Filed under ,

Dan Hooper
(Submitted on 13 Jun 2018)

The presence of dark energy in our universe is causing space to expand at an accelerating rate. As a result, over the next approximately 100 billion years, all stars residing beyond the Local Group will fall beyond the cosmic horizon and become not only unobservable, but entirely inaccessible, thus limiting how much energy could one day be extracted from them. Here, we consider the likely response of a highly advanced civilization to this situation. In particular, we argue that in order to maximize its access to useable energy, a sufficiently advanced civilization would chose to expand rapidly outward, build Dyson Spheres or similar structures around encountered stars, and use the energy that is harnessed to accelerate those stars away from the approaching horizon and toward the center of the civilization. We find that such efforts will be most effective for stars with masses in the range of $M\sim (0.2-1) M_{\odot}$, and could lead to the harvesting of stars within a region extending out to several tens of Mpc in radius, potentially increasing the total amount of energy that is available to a future civilization by a factor of several thousand. We also discuss the observable signatures of a civilization elsewhere in the universe that is currently in this state of stellar harvesting.

Comments:    11 pages, 4 figures
Subjects:    Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO); Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA); Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)
Report number:    FERMILAB-PUB-18-254-A
Cite as:    arXiv:1806.05203 [astro-ph.CO]     (or arXiv:1806.05203v1 [astro-ph.CO] for this version)
Submission history
From: Dan Hooper 
[v1] Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:10:51 GMT (383kb,D)

SpaceRef staff editor.