Free to a good home! Someone who’s actually good at writing should write this book.

First, quick primer on Dyson spheres. Okay, so you have orbiting solar panels out in space, so you can collect solar energy and pipe it back down to use on Earth. Now mega-size that idea. The panels get bigger and bigger, until you’ve completely surrounded the sun with solar panels.

The upside of this is you get all of the sun’s energy, with none wasted lighting up, say, Mars. Hopefully the Earth is still somewhere inside the sphere, or you’ve just condemned the human race to eternal darkness. Oops.

Now back out a couple orders of magnitude. You’re an alien somewhere on Betelgeuse. What did that just look like from your perspective? A star just went out. It didn’t go nova, it just went out. That has to be scary, right?

And just to add a dash of paranoia fuel, there’s a type of matter called dark matter (different from antimatter) that must make up 4/5 of the universe, if our physics is right — except that it doesn’t absorb or emit radiation. Astronomers can only find it by looking where orbits are distorted by gravity.

Now go back to the alien looking at Earth’s shiny new Dyson sphere. You can’t see any light coming from the sun (because it’s all getting absorbed by the sphere), but its gravitational effects are still there. In fact, it would look just like our description of dark matter.

What if it’s already happened? What if it’s already happened to 4/5 of the universe?

Why yes, I am a crackpot, thank you for asking.

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