The ul­ti­mate so­lar power

How It Works - - SPECIAL -

The Doc­tor uses the en­ergy of a star to power the TARDIS (more about this on page 30), but can hu­mans truly tap into such so­lar en­ergy po­ten­tials? If we wanted to har­ness the full en­ergy of a star, we would need to cre­ate what is known as a Dyson sphere. In 1960, sci­en­tist Free­man Dyson first de­scribed the con­cept of a net­work of so­lar pan­els to com­pletely en­velop a star and tap into its im­mense en­ergy out­put. The so­lar mega struc­ture of a Dyson sphere, or shell, would the­o­ret­i­cally com­prise of mil­lions of in­di­vid­ual so­lar panel satel­lites ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing, stor­ing and trans­mit­ting the en­ergy back to Earth for use. How­ever, in or­der to con­struct such an ar­ray around a Sun-like star, we would re­quire more ma­te­rial than cur­rently ex­ists in our en­tire So­lar Sys­tem!

Could we har­ness the power of a star and cre­ate a new civil­i­sa­tion around it?

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