Theoretical Stellar Engines Might Redirect the Whole Solar System

Is it possible for a megastructure developed around the sun to be enough stronger to steer the whole solar system through our galaxy? Recently, an astrophysicist proves how such a thing might be possible. He designed two stellar engines based on recent research on physics. One of the megastructures would be theoretically quick enough to redirect the solar system by 50 light-years in almost a million years. It could also offer enough distance and time to drive clear of a stronger collapsion from a dying star, for example.

The solar system can be hypothetically driven that way. Such a thing could be possible because all in it is dragged by the sun’s gravity, maintaining it all in a steady orbit. The suggested ideas by Matthew Caplan, known as a nuclear astrophysicist at Illinois State University, was published in the December 2019 Acta Astronautica edition.

Theoretical stellar engines might redirect the whole Solar System

One idea represents a very thin parabolic solar “sail” or massive mirror, such as the “Shkadov thruster.” It would be developed from highly reflective stuff, smaller than a red blood cell, for example. They would also be positioned over the sun’s poles, and they would not perform the orbiting process. Caplan further detailed that some metal foils of about 0.2 micrometers are commercially obtainable. Moreover, the position of the mirror is vital not to affect Earth’s temperature.

It would also limit the place in which the solar system can be driven. The solar radiation reflected onto the massive mirror develops thrust and would gradually strain the sun. With such a “passive” process, the solar system would redirect approximately 100 light-years in about 230 million years. This would not be quick or very far to withdraw the “kill radius” of a supernova.

More theories on stellar engines

The other suggested idea was for a quicker, “active” thruster, named the “Caplan thruster” by Kurzgesagt, which had initially requested him to develop the plans for a video. The Caplan thruster would run like a rocket, blasting out photon dust to fuel itself forward.

The thermonuclear-conducted thrusters would need millions of tons of fuel/second and are a redesigned idea of the “Bussard ramjet,” a conceptual interstellar spacecraft fueled by fusion energy. Also, the Caplan thruster idea would travel fast enough to dodge a supernova and could move the solar system in its galactic orbit in almost 10 million years.

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