Canadian academic Martin Beech has written a text that attempts to cross the line between science fiction and science fact. Put simply, his book details a method that just might be able to stop the Sun from losing its power and, ultimately, save humanity and the Earth itself. It investigates the idea that the distant future evolution of our Sun might be controlled (or ‘asteroengineered’) so that it maintains its present-day energy output rather than becoming a bloated red giant star: a process that would destroy all life on Earth.
This book is about an audacious idea: asteroengineering—literally, the physical engineering of a star, especially the star we call our Sun. It is an idea on the grandest of scales. Part science fiction, part science fact, asteroengineering is a response to a very definite and a very real problem, a problem that our distant descendants will one day have to face. It is also a universal problem that will be experienced – at some stage or other – by every extraterr- trial civilization that has or will exist. Indeed, the problem to be addressed resides within the parent stars of each and every li- supporting planetary system within our galaxy. In short, stars puff up to become luminous red giants as they age, and by doing this they vaporize those planets previously situated in the habitability zone where life can otherwise thrive. As their parent star ages and approaches the red giant phase, a civilization has two options open to it: stay at home, or pack up and leave. The latter option would require the hapless civilization to cocoon itself within giant spa- ships and then set itself adrift in the uncharted depths of space. If a civilization chooses to stay put, however, then all life will end—unless, that is, something is done about the demise of its parent star.
A Universal Problem.- It’s a Matter of Time.- The Sun, Inside and Out.- The Price of Doing Nothing.- Rejuvenating the Sun.- Stars Transformed.- Between Now and Then.
Associate professor of astronomy, and Head of the Astronomy Department at Campion College, The University of Regina. My main research interests during the past decade have focused on the smaller objects within the solar system (comets, asteroids and meteoroids), but concomitant to this I have continued to perform research related to the structure and evolution of stars (the area of my doctoral studies). The book being proposed here is partly based upon a series of research papers that I have published over the years and on material used in a solar system studies class. The topic of asteroengineering was recently the focus of an ‘opinion article’ I wrote for the May 2006 issue of Astronomy Now magazine, and an editorial piece in the May 2006 issue of Smithsonian Air and Space magazine.
Home web page: http://hyperion.cc.uregina.ca/~astro/mbeech.html
Brings together, for the first time, the ideas related to the physical engineering of our Sun in order to promote the long-term survival of humanity and the Earth itself
Starting with the ideas currently being promoted for planetary defence against impacting comets and asteroids this book considers the other, more distant astronomical phenomena (supernova explosions, close passing ‘rogue’ stars, and gamma-ray bursts) that pose a long-term threat to life on Earth
lacing asteroengineering in a galactic context, this book describes one of the most important and lethal astronomical problems, that of an aging parent star, which all extraterrestrial civilizations will eventually have to face
The book details a method that just might be able to stop the Sun from losing its power and, ultimately, save humanity and the Earth itself. It investigates the idea that the distant future evolution of our Sun might be controlled (or asteroengineered) so that it maintains its present-day energy output rather than becoming a bloated red giant star: a process that would destroy all life on Earth. Starting with the ideas currently being promoted for planetary defense against impacting comets and asteroids, the book considers other, more distant, astronomical phenomena (supernova explosions, close passing ‘rogue’ stars, and gamma-ray bursts) that pose a long-term threat to life on Earth. It also outlines how asteroengineering might work in principle and describes what the future solar system could look like. It also addresses the idea of asteroengineering as a galaxy-wide imperative, explaining why the Earth has never been visited by extraterrestrial travelers in the past.
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