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Title: Life versus dark energy: How an advanced civilization could resist the accelerating expansion of the universe

Abstract

We present that 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. Lastly, we also discuss the observable signatures of a civilization elsewhere in the universe that is currently in this state of stellar harvesting.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States); Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
OSTI Identifier:
1462730
Report Number(s):
arXiv:1806.05203; FERMILAB-PUB-18-254-A
Journal ID: ISSN 2212-6864; 1677930
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-07CH11359; FG02-13ER41958
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of the Dark Universe
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2212-6864
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS

Citation Formats

Hooper, Dan. Life versus dark energy: How an advanced civilization could resist the accelerating expansion of the universe. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1016/j.dark.2018.09.005.
Hooper, Dan. Life versus dark energy: How an advanced civilization could resist the accelerating expansion of the universe. United States. doi:10.1016/j.dark.2018.09.005.
Hooper, Dan. Thu . "Life versus dark energy: How an advanced civilization could resist the accelerating expansion of the universe". United States. doi:10.1016/j.dark.2018.09.005.
@article{osti_1462730,
title = {Life versus dark energy: How an advanced civilization could resist the accelerating expansion of the universe},
author = {Hooper, Dan},
abstractNote = {We present that 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. Lastly, we also discuss the observable signatures of a civilization elsewhere in the universe that is currently in this state of stellar harvesting.},
doi = {10.1016/j.dark.2018.09.005},
journal = {Physics of the Dark Universe},
issn = {2212-6864},
number = C,
volume = 22,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {9}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on September 20, 2019
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