You've probably heard by now about that weird star located between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations that not only has been steadily dimming for the last 100 years, but also emitting unusual patterns of light dips. Well, if you'd like a good read chockful of theories involving extraterrestrials, Brian Wang of Next Big Future takes you from incomplete Dyson spheres all the way to giant mirrors for solar-powered propulsion of sail-equipped starships.
Stopping at the destination can be done using a smaller ‘drouge shoot’ mirror-sail deployed out the back of the starship. Meanwhile, he original sail in front would be released, but the reflected annular beam from it would strike the deceleration sail and the starship slows. This would require an optically controlled original sail.
The primary ‘deflect and direct’ mirrors need to be positioned‘near’ the star’s surface and kept stationary relative to the sky (except those scanning it for astronomical purposes). Therefore they must be ‘floated’ on the star’s own light pressure in order to counter the star’s gravity without orbital motion. At a distance of 3 to 4 stellar radii (I am assuming the star is 1.25* solar radius and 1.5* solar mass) the gravitational acceleration would be in the range of a few g’s and they could be ballasted to float with structural forces similar to those involved in the active starship and sail situation.
The mirrors are probably stabilized on an open work spherical network of rings around the star, having enough mirrors to support and expand the whole structure equally under some degree of tension. Schaefer may have been documenting the addition of more mirrors to support and balance the whole as it was initially built up, or the accumulation of mirrors on the side of the star near us as commerce was increasing with other star systems in that general direction (or perhaps the addition of inactive mirrors just to combat global warming as their star ages).
The neighboring star systems being served would presumably be colonies and perhaps we should look for evidence of more eclipsing stars nearby (but if these colonies are sending beams back toward the home star their mirrors may be facing away from us).
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