Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can we colonize the Sun?

  1. Jul 31, 2011 #1
    No, not right now. But when it cools down, billions and billions of years from now?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2011 #2

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well done, answering your own question. Though your conclusion is a bit off.
     
  4. Jul 31, 2011 #3

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Consider the enormous gravity of the sun...
     
  5. Aug 1, 2011 #4

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I foresee troubles with this. Even the oldest white dwarves known are around 10,000K... so you'd have to wear some of those fancy heat-resistant auto-racing boots. (For reference, diamonds melt around 4000K).
     
  6. Aug 1, 2011 #5
    I don't think so, at least not in forseeable future. Sun is super duper hot, huge gravity, huge pressur. I think right now the topic is to colonize the Mars (we can think of it...)
     
  7. Aug 1, 2011 #6

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I highly doubt that "we" or any form of "we" will be here in billions and billions of years. I also don't see how you could ever colonise the sun unless you're suggesting floating cities. It would be easier to just build habitats in orbit of the sun.
     
  8. Aug 6, 2011 #7
    Depends on what you mean by "we" and "colonize". The Sun's end state is as a carbon/oxygen white dwarf, which will take many, many billions of years to cool to biologically compatible temperatures. But we could build a supra-mundane planet at its 1 gee level and colonize that. The result would be a shell planet 5.45 million kilometers across, which would provide a lot of surface area. To keep the Sun's corpse hot enough to sustain life indefinitely on the Shell we'd need a power source from outside the Sun. I suspect dark matter self-annihilation might prove viable if we can figure how to capture enough.

    A natural planet could remain in the Sun's white dwarf habitable zone for about 8 billion years - it'd orbit within the Shell!
     
  9. Aug 7, 2011 #8

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well before the sun shrinks to a white dwarf, it is supposed to expand to a red giant, which is supposed to engulf the inner solar system, including Earth and out to the orbit of Mars.

    Actually a 'white' dwarf will be hotter than the sun.
     
  10. Aug 8, 2011 #9
    Hi Astronuc

    Well of course it's going to go red giant, but that's a temporary blip compared to the cool down time of a white dwarf. As for "hotter than the Sun", that is a brief era prior to the much more leisurely chill down period when it's as hot as the Sun. Eric Agol's paper on white dwarf habitable zones lays out the times involved...

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1103.2791" [Broken]

    ...even longer if it's a pure helium WD rather than a C/O WD, though helium WDs only happen if the star blows off too much mass before it hits the Helium Main Sequence.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  11. Aug 9, 2011 #10
    I'm no expert, but I can see you'd have to do it at night.
     
  12. Aug 9, 2011 #11

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Zing!
     
  13. Aug 9, 2011 #12
    Of course. One can do it during the day, but the sunblock needed...
     
  14. Aug 9, 2011 #13

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So...SPF 30 or 10^20? The 1st one is waaay cheaper...
     
  15. Aug 12, 2011 #14
    Nope, doubt it. It would take many billions of years. If the WD were to cool into a super dense planet, the gravity would kill us. Not only that but I think the density itself would keep the star too hot. It would aslo be really with a horrific rotational period. And by that time we will surely be on another planet in an attempt to escape from the initial Red Giant stage.

    Lets say it did cool to be habitable or we could atleast land on it despite eveything. It might harbor some very exotic minerals. I wonder would there be giant diamonds beneath the crust? Or, a super mineral that held enough energy to power the US for 100 years? Also if you were to take a sample, would it expand from the lack of gravity like if you were to take a balloon from the bottom of the sea to the surface?
     
  16. Aug 14, 2011 #15
    No, because it's theorized that humans will evolve into vampires.

    Seriously, though, I doubt it. I don't see why we'd want to either. I can't picture a situation where we'd want or have to colonize a star over anything else. It seems absolutely unnecessary if it's even possible.
     
  17. Aug 16, 2011 #16
    Agreed. Harvesting the Sun's energy is another probable question though
     
  18. Aug 17, 2011 #17
    ...the bottom line is that it would be a waste of ;time, money, lives and by that time we probably would have already colonized and polute some other planet we might call home ;)
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook