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Making Jupiter into a Star

The SETI concepts now called ‘Dysonian’ are to my mind some of the most exhilarating ideas in the field. Dysonian SETI gets its name from the ‘Dyson spheres’ and ‘Dyson swarms’ analyzed by Freeman Dyson in a 1960 paper. This is a technology that an advanced civilization might use to harvest the energy of its star. You can see how this plays off Nikolai Kardashev’s classification of civilizations; Kardashev suggested that energy use is a way to describe civilizations at the broadest level. A Type II society is one that can use all the energy of its star.

In the film 2010, director Peter Hyams’ 1984 adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel 2010: Odyssey Two (Del Rey, 1982), we see an instance of this kind of technology at work, though it has nothing to do with a Dyson sphere. In the film, a dark patch appearing on Jupiter signals the onset of what Martyn Fogg has called ‘stellification,’ the conversion of a gas giant into a small star. Rapidly replicating von Neumann machines — the famous monoliths — increase Jupiter’s density enroute to triggering nuclear fusion.

A new star is born, with consequences entertainingly explored in the novel’s epilogue. Without monoliths to work with, Fogg described another way of triggering a gas giant’s fusion reaction in a 1989 paper. A small black hole could be put into orbit around the planet, its orbit gradually sinking toward the planetary center. Accretion will eventually cause the new star to shine like a red dwarf, its brightness steadily increasing over a 50 million year period. Parts of the Jovian satellite system could be rendered continuously habitable over a period of about 100 million years, even as the star-builders exploit its energies via orbiting power stations.


Image: 2010’s cinematic depiction of runaway replication in progress on Jupiter. Credit: Peter Hyams/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

True, the process would one day have to be arrested, for runaway accretion will eventually, according to Fogg’s calculations, present a danger to these worlds, though presumably the civilization that can create the new star in the first place can also figure out how to tame it. These timeframes are extravagant, of course, and the engineering is far beyond our own, but as Milan Ćirković points out in a new paper, we should consider such stellified objects as potential SETI signatures. Dysonian SETI thus expands to a broad search for anomalous uses of energy.

Having never observed an extraterrestrial civilization, can we plausibly look for one? Here’s how Ćirković, the author of The Astrobiological Landscape (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and numerous papers, frames the question:

Copernicanism implies that we should reason as if humanity is a typical member of the set of all intelligent species evolved in naturalistic manner in all epochs. Therefore, what we expect in humanity’s future is also likely to occur at some point in the evolutionary trajectory of at least a significant subset of other intelligent species, both those present in the Galaxy nowadays, and those from past or future. If humans could perform an engineering feat X at some point in our future for clearly utilitarian reasons, we should expect at least some other intelligent species in the Galaxy to have already performed the same (or similar enough) X, provided they are sufficiently older from us. In accordance with such “mirroring” of human future and possible evolutionary trajectories of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations in the Galaxy, we may wish to investigate how the procedure of stellification might look from afar and consider it a new form of detection signature in the sense of SETI studies.

Notice that whatever the target, Dysonian SETI makes no assumptions about communications or contact with other civilizations. When we work at radio or optical wavelengths, we are looking for ephemeral signals, most likely some kind of a beacon that announces the existence of the culture that built it. The new Dysonian strategy puts detection times into a much deeper timeframe. We make no social or cultural assumptions and, in fact, can make no conjectures about the beings behind any artifact we find in our searches. One exciting consequence is that a SETI detection may already be present in our abundant stores of astronomical data.

The study of the anomalous star KIC 8462852 likewise touches on Dysonian SETI. While there have been brief attempts to study this object for evidence of power beaming (see SETI: No Signal Detected from KIC 8462852), the star has also been the subject of intense investigation historically, with researchers like Bradley Schaeffer and Michael Hippke reaching different conclusions about whether or not old photographic plates show a steady dimming. Here we’re using astrophysics with no cultural assumptions to delve into a phenomenon that is probably natural, but one so mysterious that we still can’t rule out advanced engineering.

But back to stellification and the question of energy. Let’s ask this: If there were a civilization capable of engineering at a solar system-wide scale, what would it do? The creation of a small star within a solar system is one way to proceed, and in Clarke’s novel it paves the way for the creation of new life on Europa. But the material for stellification is hardly confined to a single system. Usefully, we have large numbers of brown dwarfs and unbound, ‘rogue’ planets between the stars. As Ćirković notes, we have resources here not just for fuel but for habitation and industry with significant amounts of metals in relatively shallow gravitational wells.

The key question is, what sort of signature would this kind of stellification produce? More on this tomorrow, as we look a little deeper into Dysonian methods and speculate not only on the uses of thermonuclear fusion but the utilization of other kinds of energy. For if we’re trying to find evidence of astroengineering, extreme astrophysical sources may be the places to look.

The paper is Ćirković, “Stellified Planets and Brown Dwarfs as Novel Dysonian SETI Signals,” in press at JBIS. Martyn Fogg’s paper is “Stellifying Jupiter: A first step to terraforming the Galilean satellites,” JBIS 42 (1989), 587-592..


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Abelard Lindsey July 25, 2016, 12:39

    They are eating the planet.

  • ljk July 25, 2016, 13:30

    Quoting from the main article:

    “A small black hole could be put into orbit around the planet, its orbit gradually sinking toward the planetary center.”

    And how does one move a black hole without ending up inside it?

    • Michael July 26, 2016, 3:11

      Black holes also obey ST so mass can be used to move them either directly via impact momentum or masses passing by them.

    • Chris Watson July 26, 2016, 11:06

      Considering we’re discussing technology that, for now, is purely theoretical, my assumption is that any civilization capable of safely *making* a black hole would also have the ability to *move* it to where it needed to be.

      Then again, we’ve gone from quill pens and horse carts to the Internet and rocket engines in 200 years. On a galactic scale, that’s insanely fast so another 200 years might find us doing exactly this.

      • ljk July 26, 2016, 13:27

        I just do not like to make the assumption that because some hypothetical ETI may be advanced that automatically presumes they can do and solve everything. This is sometimes known as handwavium.

        It is the same way when people assume that everything will be known and solved in the future just because it is the future. We should have had colonies on the Moon and Mars by now but that has yet to happen due to misplaced priorities, even though they are technically possible today.

    • Eniac July 28, 2016, 21:21

      You might direct a matter beam at it. That will transfer momentum. Maybe a lot, if the hole reacts with a jet of some sort.

      You might give it a charge, or a magnetic moment, and grab it by that.

      You might just throw asteroids across its bow, each one will transfer some momentum.

      I am sure there are other possibilities.

  • Brett July 25, 2016, 14:04

    Stellarizing Jupiter feels like a relic of an earlier era of science fiction. Any civilization with that kind of capability is probably capable of just building gigantic space habitats that will be vastly more habitable than trying to turn a gas giant into a brown dwarf/micro-sun and living on the low-gravity, melting water worlds that are its moons.

    • tchernik July 25, 2016, 15:50

      Indeed. Such ideas were impressive when first used, but now they seem just wasteful or merely for showing off purposes.

      Even the idea of using the gas giant’s hydrogen for powering up fusion torches in orbit for getting light and warmth in the moon’s surface sounds better ( a la Kim Stanley Robinson’s Blue Mars).

      These sci/fi ideas were more for getting the feeling that the protagonists were dealing with powers beyond our comprehension, than actual engineering ideas.

      • Ivan Vuletich July 25, 2016, 20:48

        If you have the capability of igniting Jupiter, then you probably have the capability of disassembling the moons into a swarm of habitats that would be nice and toasty instead of freezing.

        • Dustin Freeman July 28, 2016, 23:38

          Indeed – I wish there was a sort of word for this category of scifi desire.

          It’s like dreaming of really fast biological horses that we’ll someday make using Frankenstienian technology, which becomes moot at the invention of the steam engine.


  • Al Jackson July 25, 2016, 15:55

    Way back when I was doing computational astrodynamics for a living I followed Clarke’s suggestion and added 10 – 15% of a Jovian mass to Jupiter, to hopefully, ignite it. Ran my multibody computational celestial mechanics software. What is evident is that The Monolith Makers would have to do more magic than just increasing Jupiter’s mass. The Jovian satellite system crashes into Jupiter in less than a year and the Solar System comes apart in less than 10 years. Increasing Jupiter’s mass might make it luminous but it wrecks the Solar System without K III intervention! Rereading 2010 I noticed that Clarke had some vibrations in the back of his mind about this, but he didn’t not go into it explicitly.

    • Stanislav Kogan July 25, 2016, 17:56

      In Clark’s novel, it is explicitly stated that Jupiter’s mass is not increased but instead, the replicating monoliths, by consuming Jupiter’s material, increase it’s density.

      • Al Jackson July 26, 2016, 6:15

        I wrote this over on Wikipedia in 2010:
        Clarke waffles about all this. First there is the implication that the monolith – ‘von Neumann’ devices are multiplying and that’s what adds enough mass to start fusion. Maybe Clarke was aware of how this would mess with the celestial mechanics of the Jovian system , not to mention the solar system. (This would have been an area of physics that Clarke was knowledgeable about , especially because of his interest in astrodynamics.) Just before chapter 53 (in 2010) Vasili speculates on what has happened. Without explaining he says adding 10 Jovian masses is not allowed but that by some Monolith Maker magic the density has been increased to get the temperature needed for fusion. Actually Vasili does not come to a conclusion about the density thing. Might just as well have said the fusion temperature was magically created. Clarke , by way of Vasili, then does a lot of hand waving about various stellar structure problems which really does not add much to the physics. So in a way Clarke does , kind of, cover up the problem. If Clarke only had not already presented the multiplication by the monoliths and the contraction of Jupiter (implication, adding mass) which is the straight forward way to get a ‘stellar Jupiter’ ignition . (It would have been clever if the Monolith Makers had of used magic to adjust the orbits of all solar system objects to account to Jupiter’s mass increase!)

    • ljk July 26, 2016, 9:01

      And if I may regarding 2010, the original point of David Bowman traveling into the Stargate and such in 2001 was to uplift a representative of humanity, not turn him into a Cosmic Messenger Boy or stellify Jupiter.

      Imagine if HAL 9000 had gone through the Stargate instead.

      Plus the Monoliths let creatures floating in the Jovian atmosphere die because they considered the aliens floating in Europa’s global ocean to have a better chance of evolving into highly intelligent beings. Nice, huh?

      Besides, the original destination in the novel was Saturn, but they didn’t have the FX to make the giant planet’s rings look convincing circa 1968, or so the story goes. Trumbull did it several years later in Silent Running, FYI.

      As for lengthening the life of an already existing star, this is a quote from the linked article next, which includes references:


      Reeves (1985) suggested the intervention of the inhabitants that depend on these stars for light and heat. According to Reeves, these inhabitants could have found a way of keeping the stellar cores well-mixed with hydrogen, thus delaying the Main Sequence turn-off and the ultimately destructive, red giant phase.

      Beech (1990) made a more detailed analysis of Reeves’ hypothesis and suggested an interesting list of mechanisms for mixing envelope material into the core of the star. Some of them are as follows:

      * Creating a “hot spot” between the stellar core and surface through the detonation of a series of hydrogen bombs. This process may alternately be achieved by aiming “a powerful, extremely concentrated laser beam” at the stellar surface.

      * Enhanced stellar rotation and/or enhanced magnetic fields. Abt (1985) suggested from his studies of blue stragglers that meridional mixing in rapidly rotating stars may enhance their Main Sequence lifetime.

      If some of these processes can be achieved, the Main Sequence lifetime may be greatly extended by factors of ten or more. It is far too early to establish, however, whether all the blue stragglers are the result of astroengineering activities.

  • Harry R Ray July 25, 2016, 16:12

    If these ET’ s could TEMPORARILY render a system of moons habitable by turning the host planet into a star, they could CRETAINLY also render PART of an ultra-short-period chthonian Super-Earth PERMANENTLY habitable by ALSO FORMING AN EXTREMELY WARM JUPITER very close to the Super-Earth to provide ENOUGH HEAT VIA REFLECTED STARLIGHT to MELT any accumulated ICE at the anti-stellar point and maintain a PERMANENT OCEAN at that point AD INFINITUM! CASE-IN-POINT: WASP 47c!!! It’s anti-stellar point “SUN”, WASP 47b rises and sets about once every EARTH DAY! There would be NO NEED for “stellification” of this giant planet EVER!

  • hiro July 25, 2016, 16:19

    I wonder how we know the differential signature if some higher dimensional black hole happened to enter this 3+1 spacetime.

  • Adam July 25, 2016, 16:27

    An alternative to black holes is sufficiently large nuggets of quark matter dropped in to catalyse fusion. Which poses a possible astrophysical limit on quark nuggets since we don’t see naturally catalysed brown dwarfs etc.

    • Phil Tynan July 26, 2016, 22:31

      Hi Adam,

      That’s a good suggestion – maybe we should start prospecting for Quark nuggets?

      It occurs to me another possibility for stellifying a gas giant would be using some form of supersymmetric technology – in the line of Kusenko’s Q-balls. As non-topological solitons, Q-balls would be stable and they have the interesting property of catalysing proton decay – so it seems to me we’d be effectively reflecting bosons from the Q-ball as anti-bosons.

      The main objection to this proposal would be our failure to demonstrate supersymmetry in the LHC; but some physicists at CERN are suggesting the supersymmetric particles (specifically the Higgsino) may actually have been generated by the LHC – but the signal can’t be unequivocally isolated from the mess of particles generated by the proton-antiproton collisions. This is one of the main drivers behind building the proposed International Linear Collider (ILC) in Japan. As it would be impacting relativistic electrons and positrons, presumably the signals would be much clearer and easier to discriminate from the background noise.

      It seems to me that constructing Q-balls (or maybe, however unlikely, finding primordial remnants?) would be easier than creating artificial quantum black holes (which even using Crane and Westmoreland’s proposed method would be a dauntingly complex task), possibly even easier than manufacturing sufficiently large quark nuggets to be stable.

      What are your thoughts?

      • Adam July 29, 2016, 20:22

        Hi Phil
        Marshall Eubanks first brought my attention to a possible very local source of quark nuggets. Very Fast Rotating asteroids seem to be rubble piles bound together by something other than their apparent self-gravity. While “static cling” might be enough, Marshall suspects Compact Condensed Objects (CCOs) – of which quark nuggets are one Standard Model example – might provide extra mass in an invisible form, enough to bind the VFRs together against YORP spin-up and fragmentation. Astrophysical studies of CCO abundance and mass-spectrum seems to fit the requirements to explain VFRs. Thus the Near Earth Objects *might* provide a source of otherwise impossible to obtain super-dense matter.

        I haven’t looked much into the fusion catalytic ability of CCOs, as in their currently imagined form, they repel low energy matter (anything at less than 100 MeV) from interaction. However they could provide fusion hot-spots inside the cores of Gas Giants, given enrichment with deuterium. At quark matter density, the core material of any planet is essentially near vacuum to a CCO, so they’d sink to the centre – if moving slow enough. Only a gas giant with a well-mixed interior would have hydrogen in its core.

  • H. Floyd July 25, 2016, 16:37

    “Here we’re using astrophysics with no cultural assumptions to delve into a phenomenon that is probably natural, but one so mysterious that we still can’t rule out advanced engineering.”

    Squarely on the head. With nearly a year now in retrospect since it made news, I would probably replace every comment I’ve made about KIC 8462852 with just a reference to that sentence.

  • Harry R Ray July 25, 2016, 16:43

    OOPS! I meant WASP 47e, NOT WASP 47C, which is a previously DETECTED exoplanet who’s DISCOVERY PAPER came out AFTER WASP 47e’s.

  • Wojciech J July 25, 2016, 19:06

    “When we work at radio or optical wavelengths, we are looking for ephemeral signals, most likely some kind of a beacon that announces the existence of the culture that built it”
    It is worth pointing out, that such a beacon is a feat humanity is yet to engineer. While we occassionally created short bursts of radio signals, construction of a continuous beacon functioning for millions of years would be also a feat on “Dysonian” scale….

  • Ivan Vuletich July 25, 2016, 20:46

    I wonder if there are ways of igniting Jupiter without increasing its mass.

    One idea that comes to mind is a vastly scaled up version of Inertial Confinement Fusion with Jupiter as a planet sized fuel pellet. A sufficiently advanced civilization could simultaneously hit Jupiter with masses accelerated to high velocities Just how big the masses need to be and how fast is left as an exercise for the student… Perhaps the masses could be large spheres packed with Tritium and Deuterium similar to an H-bomb.

  • Michael July 26, 2016, 3:22

    The problem with fusing hydrogen (di-proton) is that it takes so long to form the deuterium that is then used in further fusion processes, if I was part of an intelligent species I would not have the patience to wait around.

  • Andrew Palfreyman July 26, 2016, 4:23

    I fail to see the advantage of igniting Jupiter. It torches all those interesting and almost certainly useful moons, and it removes from us the ability to harvest Jupiter for hydrogen, helium and helium3. In any case, we already have a powerful fusion reactor at our disposal called Sol.

  • Michael Spencer July 26, 2016, 7:38

    The search for SETI continually reminds us to re-think and re-assess our assumptions about the nature of the universe– something about which we know nearly nothing, truly. This is the first problem, of course; phenomena like Tabby’s star may be quite ordinary. We just don’t know.

    But the Cosmological Principle is in fact our chief tool. Is the universe uniform at sufficiently large scales, or not? Our own puny observations say ‘yes’, but we should be very very careful with this assumption, particularly when looking for any sort of apparently ‘aberration’ in observations.

    While waxing philosophical, what of daily life in, say, a millennia or two hence? Will the nature of the universe be understood? Will we learn at last whether or not the Cosmological Principle applies? Ah, to be alive then…

    • ljk July 26, 2016, 9:25

      I have said this before but I will say it again:

      The fact that Tabby’s Star was found in the very narrow search parameters of the Kepler satellite indicates we either got very lucky or there are a lot of them throughout the galaxy.

      Astronomers are having a rough time explaining TS in terms of natural phenomenon, though certainly not without trying. The existence of other living intelligent beings can be embarrassing (among other things) to a species that only recently realized it is not the physical and metaphysical Center of the Cosmos.

      So to conclude: Did we get lucky or are there a lot of Tabby Stars waiting to be found? Just remember a mere twenty years ago we barely knew any alien planets existed (and almost a mere century ago we still thought the Milky Way was the only galaxy in the entire Universe!). And if TS is artificial, can we conclude that we are embedded in a Kardashev Type 3 civilization – and we are the ants at a construction site.

  • ljk July 26, 2016, 9:10

    What is easier: To remake one’s aging solar system with terraforming, stellifying gas giants, and Dyson Shelling, or hop in a Worldship and start with a newer and younger system? There are roughly 400 billion star systems in the Milky Way galaxy. They cannot all be inhabited.

    • Alex Tolley July 26, 2016, 10:21

      To use Asimov’s analogy: If you stay under a tree when it is raining, when the rain finally gets through, there is no point running to another tree hoping it will be dry underneath.

      • ljk July 26, 2016, 12:28

        Why not? Not every tree is the same and certainly neither will be other star systems.

        Of course as someone else here in this thread said, why keep focusing on colonizing planets as our “salvation”? Stay in space aboard a nice, clean maintained Worldship, explore the galaxy, and use solar systems for resources and diversions.

  • Cambias July 26, 2016, 9:13

    I confess I’ve never understood the “turn Jupiter into a sun” plan. Far more useful to use it for fuel and build a swarm of artificial habitats. Because maintaining an artificial star requires just as much constant effort as maintaining a bunch of habitats, and there’s a huge waste of energy and material. We really need to get over this obsession with living on planets.

  • Lawrence Calmer July 26, 2016, 9:38

    Igniting stars seems like a very inefficient process for creating energy. If you had the tech to ignite stars, you have probably already had the tech to fuse hydrogen or other elements directly for whatever your energy needs are for centuries. Much better to use such objects as fuel depots. Then use the energy when and where you want it in a more controlled and efficient manner.

    Also as been dawning in awareness for some time, any truly advanced race has probably transcended carbon based biological forms for more effective housing for intelligence. No need to blast heat and light out to maintain some kind of quasi-habitable world analog. And if you just wanted the scenery that is what virtual reality is for.

    There may be mega-structures around KIC 8462852, but I doubt they are for energy harvesting, if they are it is probably because KIC 8462852 is already burning, and they maintain some natural worlds or environments out something like conservation or nostalgia.

    Igniting stars is a horrible waste of resources. In fact, maybe we should be looking for stars that are dimming, as it may be an advanced race husbanding their supply of lighter elements by extinguishing their star. Though the wisest course in science as always is to look for any deviation (in this case brightening or dimming) that can’t be explained naturally.

    • ljk July 26, 2016, 12:32

      Folks, ya gotta stop thinking of Dyson Shells as just habitats for organic creatures. The following idea maybe just as unlikely, but at least it breaks the traditional paradigm of the subject:


      • Alex Tolley July 26, 2016, 13:30

        A better solution perhaps than worldship exploring. The brains might house individuals living in an artificial reality, or just artificial minds.

        It has been suggested before that we are living in a simulation, perhaps within such a computronium construct.

        Biological life has a lot going for it, but minds can inhabit other substrates, many of which are far more adapted to living in the universe away from warm wet cradles.

  • Geoffrey Hillend July 26, 2016, 16:27

    I like the idea of engineering a solar system, but anyone who can make stars is in no need of solar system engineering. First we would really need plus ten Jupiter masses to make a star, and portable, small black holes are completely imaginary. They don’t exist. Such technology would allow interstellar travel to any other solar system and it’s engineering completely superfluous.

    Moving a three solar mass black hole would only swallow Jupiter in a massive explosion and NOT create a star. There is no practicable and easy way to increase the mass of a gas giant without its collision with many other gas giants and make a star, a completely unsafe fiasco. I like the idea but but I have to think that based on astrophysics, the monolith idea is will always be science fiction..

  • James M Essig July 27, 2016, 13:37

    One mechanism for controlled black-hole heating of the planet would be to choose a black hole that is large enough so that Hawking Radiation emissions would be manageable but where the black-hole accretion disk would act as a pressure barrier to prevent too much matter falling into the black hole too quickly thereby preventing the star from quickly being eaten by the black-hole.

    Another mechanism would involve black-holes so small that the Hawking Radiation is the primary method of heating.

    Another method would include a hybrid of the accretion disk and Hawking radiation emissions for heating.

    Great care and control over the black-hole insertion and other aspects must be chosen. Too big of a black hole and the planet will be quickly eaten. To small of a black hole and the Hawking Radiation power will be so great and concentrated so as to perhaps cause the planet to explode like a huge thermonuclear weapon.

    Such a star-planet might be placed behind a highly reflective and heavy mirror having a mass roughly equal to that of the planet.

    As the planetary mass was converted to energy, the heated planet would radiate energy to reflect off the mirror. As the planet shrunk due to total energy reduction, the mirror would release some of its mass into the planet at a rate such that the mirror mass and the planet mass reduction rate is proportional. A balance of light pressure and gravitational attraction between the planet and mirror would be maintained to enable useful thrust as a photon rocket.

    I have run some numbers this morning considering the four gas giant planets in our solar system harnessed as a star and used to power planet starship photon rockets. I first assumed 100 percent efficiency although the efficiency will naturally be somewhat less. I then assumed 80 percent and 60 percent efficiency to balance out the conjecture in nominal values.

    Now, obviously, stellarizing planets is not my idea nor is the use of stellarized planets as rocket engines, but non-the-less, such engines could power huge world ships in principle to extreme Lorentz factors.

    I can provide some numbers for those would like to see some concrete first order results.

    • Phil Tynan July 27, 2016, 20:53

      Hi James,
      It sounds like shades of Donald Moffitt’s Jupiter Theft – although he used some ill-defined total conversion drive to achieve the effect. I, for one, would be fascinated to see the numbers. Given the constraints of relativity, I always though an advanced culture would be more likely to gather up the sunless worlds and steppenwolf planets and rearrange their orbits in a tight agglomeration to facilitate contact and communication among its various elements without a large communication lag. Dyson clusters are a great idea – but I suspect the original tenants (i.e., people already living on the colonized moons, asteroids and worlds) might not entirely favour the megascale urban renewal project.

      • James M Essig July 28, 2016, 2:54

        Hi Phil;

        Thanks for the enthusiasm.

        Some numbers are as follows.

        Photon rocket that is 80 percent efficient, Isp = 0.979796 C

        Mass Ratio, B = v/C, Gamma

        10 EXP 1 0.978288114 4.825101553
        10 EXP 2 0.999759124 45.56320998
        10 EXP 3 0.999997356 434.8691289
        10 EXP 4 0.999999971 4151.012208
        10 EXP 5 0.999999… . 39623.24481
        10 EXP 6 0.999999… . 378217.6854
        10 EXP 7 0.999999… . 3607794.88

        For photon rocket that is 60 percent efficient Isp = 0.91651514 C

        Mass Ratio, B = v/C, Gamma
        10 EXP 1 0.971048765 4.186178769
        10 EXP 2 0.999568604 34.04818538
        10 EXP 3 0.999993662 280.8774027
        10 EXP 4 0.999999907 2317.557856
        10 EXP 5 0.999999999 19122.5469
        10 EXP 6 0.999999 … 157783.5795
        10 EXP 7 0.999999 … 1301674.506
        10 EXP 8 0.999999 … 11032629.28

        For cases where reverse rocket thrust is used to decelerate the planet ship, the mass ratios for a given terminal peak value of gamma are squared. For 1 ½ cycles including an initial speed-up and slowing following by another speed up to the original peak value of gamma, the initial mass ratios will be cubed relative to the half cycle scenarios presented in the charts and table provided above. For a two cycle scenario, the initial mass ratios will be raised to the fourth power. As you can see, for n-half cycles, the mass ratio is raised to the power of n. More is said about slowing planet ships shortly below.

  • James M Essig July 28, 2016, 3:00

    What is needed for safe black-hole stellarizing are black holes that are large enough to avoid explosive Hawking Radiation evaporation yet small enough to produce safe matter ingestion rates. Additionally, a valuable feature of the black hole invariant mass selection and in star maintenance requires that the black hole maintain either a more or less constant mass or a mass with non-zero time variance commensurate with depletion of the stellar and reflector material feed-stock.

    More than one black-hole can be inserted into a planet. However, one or more methods of preventing the black-holes from coalescing is likely required.
    One such method would include electro-static charging of the black-holes of same sign charge.

    Another method would include same sign magnetic charging of the black-holes. Here, black-holes would be doped with magnetic monopoles. As free standing particles, magnetic monopoles have never been observed. However, symmetry considerations of Maxwell’s equations suggest that perhaps there should be magnetic monopoles. One contemporary consideration for monopoles posits that these particles may have existed very early in the universes evolution but have all decayed away.

    An interesting approach to stellarization of planets would include interstellar ramjet configurations of stellar-planet starships.

    Accordingly, as the system Lorentz factor increased, the back-ground matter and energy incident to the system from the boward or front of the craft would be funneled into the star. The thermal energy generated by intake mass and energy would be randomized in direction of re-radiation but in such a manner that as much of the radiant energy as possible would be back-directed in a virtually precisely antiparallel direction to the spacecraft velocity vector or otherwise directed off-axis for thrust vectoring.

    The massive component of total intake energy although slowed to an effective standstill by absorption into the star would provide thermal energy would could be directly re-radiated or indirectly processed into a collinear light-stream.

    The invariant mass of the captured massive species would provide feed-stock for the black-hole(s) generated accretion disks and/or Hawking radiation release stellar heating mechanism.

    Another interesting application involves the complete encompassment of the star in a Dyson Sphere like radiant energy capture shroud. Accordingly, the captured radiant energy may be converted so as to be embodied in any one or multiplicity of the propulsion modes listed below.

    I have a bit more to say on this topic.

    Currently, it is 3:00 EDT here in the Eastern United States.

    However, I’ve drafted myself into producing simple illustrative cartoons to depict more concepts for stellar-planet rockets. Stellar planet rockets might be better refereed to as splanet rockets.

  • DJ Kaplan July 28, 2016, 19:32

    I don’t know. Global warming is bad enough without lighting off an extra sun in our system. ;)

  • James M Essig July 29, 2016, 7:02

    Stellarized planets are really interesting. They in theory enable really large mass ratios. For reflectors of splanet light, we can employ easier to set up membranous reflectors.

    The membranous reflective materials may include as non-limiting options one or more of the following:

    1) Metalized Kapton

    2) Metalized Nylon

    3) Metalized Mylar

    4) Metalized or otherwise reflective graphene composites

    5) Metalized or otherwise made reflective carbon-nanotube based composites

    6) Metalized or otherwise made reflective diamond fiber fabric composites

    7) Metalized or otherwise made reflective boron nitride nano-tube composites

    8) Metalized or otherwise made reflective graphene-oxide paper composites

    Reflective membranes where appropriate may include monolithic or porous grid forms.

    Porous grid membranes may be composed of reflective nano-wires separated by less than the wavelength of the bulk of the stellar energy photons. For black body sources of temperatures similar to the Sun, a useful separation of nano-wires is about 200 nanometers. Grid-like membranes can be useful for drag mitigation at high Lorentz factors.

    All thin film reflectors of whatever types and configurations employed may include macroscale or microscale self-repair mechanisms. Nano-technology style self-assembly mechanisms would be especially useful for gridded porous reflectors.

    The above range of choices is useful at least in part because some reflector configurations may be better at damping harmonic frequencies of mechanical oscillations and/or may tolerate heat loading more easily.

    Of course, vibration damping mechanisms can be included in the reflector apparatus.

    Some such mechanisms include: elastic couplings, rheo-elastic couplings, force-based elastic couplings that undergo changes in elastic properties which applications of mechanical tension waves, and the like.

    Now, what is needed for safe black-hole stellarizing are black holes that are large enough to avoid explosive Hawking Radiation evaporation yet small enough to produce safe matter ingestion rates. Additionally, a valuable feature of the black hole invariant mass selection and in star maintenance requires that the black hole maintain either a more or less constant mass or a mass with non-zero time variance commensurate with depletion of the stellar and reflector material feed-stock.

    More than one black-hole can be inserted into a planet. However, one or more methods of preventing the black-holes from coalescing is likely required.

    One such method would include electro-static charging of the black-holes of same sign charge.

    Another method would include same sign magnetic charging of the black-holes. Here, black-holes would be doped with magnetic monopoles. As free standing particles, magnetic monopoles have never been observed. However, symmetry considerations of Maxwell’s equations suggest that perhaps there should be magnetic monopoles. One contemporary consideration for monopoles posits that these particles may have existed very early in the universes evolution but have all decayed away.