This paper takes part in the series essay competition of “great science” of Recordunkown.
Energy is the foundation and core of the development of science and technology. If there is no continuous supply of energy, science and technology will not be able to move forward, thus falling into stagnation. Since mankind entered the era of science and technology, fossil energy has always been applied. In more than 200 years, although human science and technology have made rapid progress, the essence of energy has not changed, and it is still in the circle of fossil energy.
In the past 200 years, human beings have constantly updated and upgraded fossil energy and developed its potential. However, fossil energy is only a kind of low-level energy after all. Even if its potential is exploited to the extreme, the quality of energy can not be really broken through.
In the 1960s, Soviet astronomer Nikolay Kardashev conceived the level of cosmic civilization. According to the control power of civilization over energy, civilization was divided into four levels. Later, scientists expanded it to seven levels.
According to Kardashev’s energy level, human’s scientific and technological strength can only be regarded as 0.7 level civilization at most, not even a small level civilization. To upgrade to a first-class civilization, we need to make breakthroughs in energy science and technology, and replace fossil energy with more powerful new energy.
The next generation of energy that can replace fossil energy is nuclear fusion. Scientists began to study and explore controllable nuclear fusion technology as early as 50 years ago. At present, they have made great achievements and are getting closer to the realization of controllable nuclear fusion. Although man-made nuclear fusion technology is very powerful and energy makes us a first-class civilization, with the continuous development of human civilization, the demand for energy in the future will be increasing.
Man made controllable nuclear fusion technology needs a lot of fuel, although this kind of fuel is mainly hydrogen, which is more common in the universe, but with the speed of human consumption of energy. When we become a second-class civilization, the energy obtained by ordinary nuclear fusion will not be able to meet the needs of human development. What should we do at this time? It’s going to take advantage of the huge natural energy sources in the universe.
The most common object in the universe is the star, which is also a huge energy source. The center of the star is a huge nuclear fusion reactor, which does not fuse hydrogen into other elements and releases huge energy. If we can make full use of the fusion energy of the sun, then human beings will not have to worry about energy for a long time in the future.
But how to make full use of the energy of the sun? Scientists came up with the concept of a Dyson ball. The so-called Dyson sphere is actually a huge solar absorption device around the sun. If we can wrap the sun with a Dyson ball, most of the radiation energy of the sun can be absorbed by us to meet the needs of the development of human science and technology.
If the sun is wrapped by a Dyson ball, then the earth will not get enough sunshine and temperature. What will human beings do? At this time, scientists thought that we could collectively migrate to the Dyson sphere, and the huge volume of the Dyson sphere could fully meet the living needs of human beings.
Undoubtedly, Dyson sphere is a great idea. If it can be realized, the development of human civilization will be greatly accelerated and upgraded to advanced civilization. Of course, it is not easy to build a huge structure of the Dyson sphere, which requires not only technology but also a lot of resources.
Of course, you can’t get fat at one go. Scientists don’t want to build a complete version of the Dyson ball all at once. Instead, they build a simple Dyson ball step by step, from simple to complex, and let some people live on it. And this simple Dyson ball, some people think that human beings can achieve it in the next 100 years, is that really the case?
100 years is a very short time for a civilization, but it is not a short time for a scientific and technological civilization. It’s only about 200 years since mankind entered the era of science and technology, and every 100 years there will be a qualitative breakthrough in science and technology. There is no comparison between the technology of 100 years ago and that of today. This is the strength of technology.
If the development speed of human science and technology continues, then the science and technology in 100 years’ time will be much more powerful than it is now. Artificial intelligence, which we have just started, can basically be realized in 100 years’ time. The era of real intelligence is not far away from us. Artificial intelligence will usher in a period of rapid development in the next 100 years. It will enter thousands of households, and become the standard configuration of everyone, just like the mobile phone now.
Controllable nuclear fusion technology is also expected to be realized within 100 years. With nuclear fusion technology and artificial intelligence, human beings will be upgraded to a first-class civilization. And this goal is very likely to be achieved in a hundred years. If human beings become a first-class civilization, they will be able to leave the earth, cross the solar system, and exploit the resources of the entire solar system.
The essence of the Dyson sphere is not complicated, it is equivalent to a more advanced and huge solar absorption device. This device is not a whole module, but is assembled by a large number of small modules, each small module is a solar absorption device. As long as we have the technology to build this small module, and can batch copy, then the construction plan of Dyson ball can be implemented.
The first-class civilization should be able to initially master the construction technology of the Dyson sphere. A simple Dyson sphere can be realized by building a large number of small solar absorption devices and then completing the assembly on the orbit of the sun. The technology of Dyson sphere is not difficult for the first-class civilization. As long as we have controllable nuclear fusion technology and the assistance of artificial intelligence, we can build automatic replication production lines one by one, manufacture a large number of modules, and then complete the assembly.
We all know that the sun is the core of the solar system, and its mass accounts for 99.86% of the whole solar system. It can be said that the total mass of the eight planets and other asteroids in the solar system is only about three thousandths of that of the sun. What a huge gap it is.
Even if we build a simple Dyson sphere around the sun, the solar system can’t meet the material requirements. Even if we dismantle all the eight planets, the resources we get can’t simply circle the sun. To achieve this goal, we must focus on the resources outside the solar system. Only by transporting the resources of other galaxies outside the solar system to the solar system can we hope to build a simple Dyson sphere.
But does the first-class civilization have such strength? Obviously not. Although the first-class human beings have mastered the controllable nuclear fusion technology, they can traverse the solar system, and they can also walk out of the solar system. However, it will still take a long time to reach the surrounding galaxies, and it is even more unlikely to transport a large amount of resources back to the solar system.
Only when human beings have mastered the technology of space hopping and can fly at the speed of super light, can they hope to transport the resources of the extraterrestrial system to the solar system quickly. To achieve this, we need at least a second-class civilization. Human beings have hope to become a first-class civilization in a hundred years, but it may take a longer time to become a second-class civilization, which may be thousands of years, tens of thousands of years or even longer.
It can be seen that there is no hope for mankind to build a simple Dyson ball in the next 100 years. Of course, the absorption and utilization of solar energy is the only way for human beings in the future. Although we can’t build a simple Dyson sphere in a hundred years, once controllable nuclear fusion technology is realized, the construction of a large-scale solar absorption device will also be implemented. The plan of scientists is to dismantle mercury and use the above resources to build a large-scale solar installation in the solar orbit In order to meet the energy demand of mankind after becoming a first-class civilization.