Transhuman Page

Technological Sphere


Megascale Engineering

I think I have shown that there are good scientific reasons for taking seriously the possibility that life and intelligence can succeed in molding this universe of ours to their own purposes. - Freeman Dyson

Megascale engineering is about building/creating or using structures on a extremely large scale, at least 1000 kilometres in diameter, often incorporating highly advanced and/or speculative technology. Typical examples are orbit-to-ground Beanstalks, moving planets, Dyson Spheres and Stellar Husbandry.


Other Sites
See Also



MegaScale Engineering and Nanotechnology -- Healthy, Wealthy, Wise and plenty to keep us from getting bored. By Keith Henson.
Megastructures in Science Fiction compiled by Ross Smith.
The Tiplerian Scenario. How life could spread across the universe, engulf it and evolve to the highest possible levels.
Time Without End: Physics and Biology in an Open Universe by Freeman J. Dyson.

Beanstalks / Orbital Elevators

A beanstalk is a cable extending from the surface of a planet to geosynchronous orbit and beyond, held stable by the tension caused by the centifugal pull. This would provide a very cheap and simple way to reach orbit when built.

Space Towers. A quick introduction to beanstalks.
The Space Elevator: Thought Experiment, or Key to the Universe? by Arthur C. Clarke (Address to the XXXth International Astronautical Congress, Munich, 20 September 1979).
Non-Synchronous Orbital Skyhooks for the Moon and Mars with Conventional Materials by Hans Moravec 1978.
Free Space Skyhooks by Hans Moravec 1976.
Skyhook bibliography by Hans Moravec 1976 (BiBTeX).
The Orbital Tower by Jerome D. Rosen. About how a beanstalk could be built.
Using Mechanosynthetic Assemblers to Build an Orbital Tower by Jerome D. Rosen (in The Assembler, First Quarter 1996).
Orbital Elevators in the qdFAQ

Dyson Spheres and Related Structures

The Dyson sphere is the quintessential megaengineering project - a structure enclosing the sun. It is also one of the more useful visions, since it would provide tremendous energy and living area.

Dyson Sphere FAQ
Dyson Spheres: A Primer by Sarah Voigt. A quick introduction.
Dyson Sphere Images
RingWorld by Alexander Chislenko.
Ringworld Images by James W. Williams. Renditions of the classic Niven ringworld.

Mixed Projects

Stellifying Jupiter by Del Cotter. A simple (?) idea of how to turn Jupiter into a small star for a while.
Constructing Artificial Laser Stars by John Talbot. An interesting possibility: using the photosphere of stars as giant lasers, for various purposes.
Atmospheric Water Resources : Law and Policy of Weather Control Operations. About the problems and legislation of weather control.

Other Sites


Larry Niven, Ringworld 1970. The classic novel about a megastructure, even if some of the physics turned out to be wrong (see for example Physics in Science Fiction by Andrew E. Love Jr.)

Charles Sheffield, The Web Between the Worlds 1979. Novel about beanstalks and other megaengineering, mentioned for historical rather than literary reasons.

See also

Relevant newsgroup:


Anders Sandberg /