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Could we build a really HUGE Earth?

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Geek Anders Exoself (yes, we think it is a pseud too) dismisses the hope of finding a huge Earth naturally (“We can do better if we abandon the last pretence of the world being able to form naturally (natural metal microlattices, seriously?)”) and considers the issues around just building a giant habitable planet from scratch:

Why aim for a large world in the first place? There are three apparent reasons. The first is simply survival, or perhaps Lebensraum: large worlds have more space for more beings, and this may be a good thing in itself. The second is to have more space for stuff of value, whether that is toys, gardens or wilderness. The third is to desire for diversity: a large world can have more places that are different from each other. There is more space for exploration, for divergent evolution. Even if the world is deliberately made parts can become different and unique.

Planets are neat, self-assembling systems. They also use a lot of mass to provide gravity and are not very good at producing living space. Artificial constructs can become far larger and are far more efficient at living space per kilogram. But in the end they tend to be limited by gravity.

Our search for the largest possible world demonstrates that demanding a singular world may be a foolish constraint: a swarm of O’Neill cylinders, or a Dyson swarm surrounding a star, has enormously much more area than any singular structure and few of the mechanical problems. Even a carefully arranged solar system could have far more habitable worlds within (relatively) easy reach.

One world is not enough, no matter how large.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG A Hugo Award trilogy could come out of all this far more naturally than an engineering project. Thoughts?

See also: Why fine tuning of the universe for life is such a problem, unless we did it ourselves.

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11 Replies to “Could we build a really HUGE Earth?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    New Earth?

    It’s written:

    Isaiah 65:17-25

    17
    “For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth,
    and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.”

    18
    But be glad and rejoice forever
    in that which I create;
    for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
    and her people to be a gladness.

    19
    I will rejoice in Jerusalem
    and be glad in my people;
    no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
    and the cry of distress.

    20
    No more shall there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not fill out his days,
    for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
    and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.

    21
    They shall build houses and inhabit them;
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

    22
    They shall not build and another inhabit;
    they shall not plant and another eat;
    for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

    23
    They shall not labor in vain
    or bear children for calamity,
    for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
    and their descendants with them.

    24
    Before they call I will answer;
    while they are yet speaking I will hear.

    25
    The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
    the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
    and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
    They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain,”
    says the Lord

    Commentary:

    65:17 new heavens and a new earth. This prophecy awaits the Second Coming of Christ (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). In the meantime through faith the saints experience in part the blessing of the age to come (42:9; 43:19).

    the former. The adversities and disgrace brought on by sin (41:22 note).

    Copied from Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “One world is not enough, no matter how large.”

    Verse:

    John 14:2 (New American Standard Bible)
    “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

    Here are just a few more technical difficulties for habitability that he may want to mull over before he embarks on his mission of saving humanity by building worlds:

    Does the Probability for ETI = 1?
    Excerpt; On the Reasons To Believe website we document that the probability a randomly selected planet would possess all the characteristics intelligent life requires is less than 10^-304. A recent update that will be published with my next book, Hidden Purposes: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, puts that probability at 10^-1054.
    http://www.reasons.org/does-probability-eti-1

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. equals 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. equals 10^324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. equals 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. equals 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. equals 10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video
    https://vimeo.com/118304005

    Milankovitch Cycle Design – Hugh Ross – August 2011
    Excerpt: In all three cases, Waltham proved that the actual Earth/Moon/solar system manifests unusually low Milankovitch levels and frequencies compared to similar alternative systems. ,,, Waltham concluded, “It therefore appears that there has been anthropic selection for slow Milankovitch cycles.” That is, it appears Earth was purposely designed with slow, low-level Milankovitch cycles so as to allow humans to exist and thrive.
    http://www.reasons.org/milankovitch-cycle-design

    Astrobiology research is revealing the high specificity and interdependence of the local parameters required for a habitable environment. These two features of the universe make it unlikely that environments significantly different from ours will be as habitable. At the same time, physicists and cosmologists have discovered that a change in a global parameter can have multiple local effects. Therefore, the high specificity and interdependence of local tuning and the multiple effects of global tuning together make it unlikely that our tiny island of habitability is part of an archipelago.,,
    Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez – P. 625, The Nature of Nature

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    BA77

    The problem many folks have with the very timely reference you made to John 14:2 is that they don’t want to believe in the Only Exclusively True Way that leads to those eternal dwelling places, which are enough for all who want.
    Unfortunately, many lost souls will miss it voluntarily. That’s the sad side of this greatest story.

    Meanwhile, they fill their anxious minds with fantasies about finding habitable planets or building them from scratch. They prefer to do things their own ways, not the High Way. Depressingly pathetic.

    Lord have mercy on us.

  4. 4

    Building a giant habitable planet is an interesting proposition and project. The author should consult though with IBM which is the overall leader of the Building Smarter Planets Market. IBM started the project to build a smarter planet several years ago.

    IBM is keeping relatively quiet about the progress on their project to build a smarter planet – although they keep the wording as their web sites logo. I speculate that either IBM keep it silent because they want to surprise the world with a resounding world-wide announcement when they will have a ready-to-sell product or they encountered unforeseen difficulties in building the product.
    However the scientists who work on the building a giant habitable planet project should not ignore the huge experience and know how that IBM may have accumulated in the process.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    This sort of reminds me of the 70s sci-fi novel Ringworld by Larry Niven which was followed later by Ringworld Engineers and Ringworld Throne.

    Indeed, why create a big planet when you can design and build a much bigger rotating ring world around an ordinary star? You can control everything, from weather and climate to gravity. You can even restart evolution as Niven did. He imagined fields of highly evolved reflective “sunflowers” that could collectively concentrate the sun’s rays and instantly incinerate any winged creature that happens to fly over, thus ensuring an endless supply of fertilizer for the fields.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    A really huge Earth is probably not such a good idea since it would mean stronger gravity and we’d all feel heavier.

    It seems to me it’s not the science and technology that’s the problem but the cost. Fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey will compare the huge Earth-orbiting space station in the movie with today’s much more modest ISS and realize that Kubrick had put aside the cost of such a structure. As for the cost of that giant Moon base it doesn’t bear thinking about.

    At least O’Neill tried to build a credible economic case for his orbiting cylinders – obviously the inspiration for Babylon 5 – on the basis of harvesting solar energy and beaming it back to Earth. Most TV and movie SF prefers to ignore boring questions of cost just like they do the grandfather paradox entailed by time travel.

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    “A really huge Earth is probably not such a good idea since it would mean stronger gravity and we’d all feel heavier”

    Not necessarily, Seversky. Could build it out of lightweight carbon fiber.

  8. 8
    Virgil Cain says:

    Guess which pro-ID books tells us why a large Earth is not a good thing? 2004’s “The Privileged Planet”. And Seversky wins the prize as they say that an earth twice our size would have “about fourteen times its mass and 3.5 times its surface gravity.” (pg 59)

    Then you would have to get that mass rotating fast enough to mix the gases, distribute the heat and maintain a protective magnetic field.

    And lest we forget, it would be a bigger target- but hey if we can build a planet we should be able to build something to protect it- like a proportionately large orbiting moon

  9. 9
    Virgil Cain says:

    But if not a new planet, why not the Dyson sphere? 😎

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Earth’s daily rotation period encoded in an atomic-level protein structure – June 25, 2015
    Excerpt: KaiC ATPase activity exhibits a robust circadian oscillation in the presence of KaiA and KaiB proteins (Image 2). In the study reported here, the temporal profile of KaiC ATPase activity exhibited an attenuating and oscillating component even in the absence of KaiA and KaiB. A close analysis revealed that this signal had a frequency of 0.91 day-1, which approximately coincided with the 24-hour period. Thus, KaiC is the source of a steady cycle that is in tune with the Earth’s daily rotation.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-06-e.....coded.html

  11. 11
    Dionisio says:

    BA77 @10

    Very interesting article! Thank you for posting it.

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