The Plan to Destroy Mercury

And a good chunk of the rest of our solar system, too.

E. Alderson
5 min readOct 17, 2022
Conceptual image of a Dyson Sphere enveloping a star.

The idea of a Dyson sphere is a fascinating one. It’s a megastructure built around a star that would be capable of harvesting the star’s entire energy output. This sort of radiation-absorbing shell would provide enormous amounts of energy to a more advanced civilization. It was named after the astrophysicist Freeman Dyson who suggested that these future civilizations would need much more energy than their planet could provide. They would need to mine energy from new places in order to maintain and grow their infrastructures. The concept is innovative and futuristic, and has been appearing in works of science fiction for several years. So why did Freeman Dyson ever lament the fact that the idea was named after him?

Well, because it just isn’t possible.

The sun, the closest star to our planet, is 109 times the diameter of Earth and weighs 300,000 times more than our small planet. Building a shell around it would require unimaginable amounts of resources, energy, time, and money. It would require more resources than are available in our entire solar system, and that’s just the first problem. There’s no material we know that could be built on such an immense scale and which would be able to withstand the stresses on its structure. It would be completely…

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E. Alderson

A passion for language, technology, and the unexplored universe. I aim to marry poetry and science.