Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


p 97-1440 Lake Crescent September 1999
In 1992 I read the Caldeira-Kasting NATURE article estimating that the sun becomes about ten per cent warmer every billion years, and about 1995 I attended a talk by James Kasting at Harvard, which was hosted by Professor Heinrich Holland, the paleosol specialist. [ Professors John Imbrie and Warren Prell of Brown university participated in discussion]. I have been interested in the problem whether life on earth can be prolonged by removing mass from sun. It appeared extremely difficult for space ships to penetrate close to sun's surface, but April 7 I realized that heating the surface of the sun would increase loss of mass in solar wind. It will take a great deal of energy to achieve optimum effect, but the time frame would be very long. Fusion powered lasers, reflectors or greenhouse gases to reflect sun's own energy, magnetically contained anti-matter, disruption of sun's surface to expose hotter interior gas would be strategies, or beaming energy from hot objects in deep space or using nearby brown dwarfs as hydrogen source for fusion all come to mind. Since 1996 I have been at 113 West. Third St., Port Angeles WA98362-2824. . I have done considerable botany and have a special interest in grasses. I have written a series of essays on future of sun and life on earth- In the essay below please note seven NUMBERED Energy sources - 1. Fusion Powered Lasers 2. Reflectors around sun 3. A greenhouse gas around sun to warm its surface - this probably would need to be contained by a strong magnetic field to keep it in place 4. Antimatter - magnetically contained - probably manufactured in deep space as a means to bring energy here in 'storage' 5. Disrupt relatively cool sun surface 5500 degrees Celsius and expose hotter layers beneath deeper 6. Develop technology to beam high energy long distances from far away hot objects - periphery of black holes and neutron stars - possibly bend the intense beams of pulsars 7. Find nearby sub-star "Brown dwarfs" that probably exist within two or three light years from earth and utilize their hydrogen or hydrogen clouds in space for fusion. Three other points - In this essay you will see discussion whether helium concentrations occur in sunspots. It would be desirable to remove a portion of helium as well as the lighter hydrogen. Second, success in reducing mass of sun would change orbits of earth and planets - they would move outerward, which might be helpfuul in long run but would need to be calculated very carefully. Next point not in essay below - About seventy per cent of the sun's 433.000 miles radius, heat from fusion comes out by radiation through very hot dense, plasma. In the outer thirty per cent of the sun'r radius - which must be 129,000 miles - more than five times circumference of earth, plasma convection is the main way the heat comes to surface. I want to learn more about this convection process. One important technique is helioseismology. Whether there is any way future engineers could affect this convection process I don't know at present. I have seen estimates it takes a million years for energy to get to the surface after it is generated by fusion at the core. - - John Barrett April 22 essay: Sun Mass Removal - STages- Blaise Pascal -= Alpha Centauri - Leah - Rachel Astronomy Professor David Latham has suggested that it will take a great deal of energy to achieve the ideal maximum amount of mass removal from the sun to keep the earth habitable as long as possible. However the time frame is very long. The basic equation is mv squared or m DELTA v squared, where m is the desired amount of mass removed, and Delta V is the difference between starting velocity and escape velocity. I believe that "m" the ideal amount of mass to remove over four or five billion years is not precisely known at present. The optimum rate of removal is likely to be a curve rather than a straight line. Too rapid a beginning might trigger an ice age or orbital instability of earth and planets. The longest-lived stars have 7.5 to eight per cent of the mass of the sun and are estimated to remain on Main Sequence with stable heat output about five thousand trillion years - [5 x 10 to twelfth power]. In atlas of the Universe 1998 I see as estimate that sun equals 333,000 earth masses. Suppose that in four billion years, it was desired to remove eighty per cent of present solar mass - this is very likely more than enough, but illustrates the nature of the calculation. This would mean if one proceeded in a linear fashion, that one per cent of solar mass should be eliminated in the first fifty million years, dividing four billion by eighty. So 3,330 earth masses would be removed in fifty million years, or 66.6 earth masses per one million years - around one earth mass every fifteen thousand years. The acceleration would be complex. I have heard the escape velocity at the surface of the sun estimated between 384 miles per second and 500 kilometers per second. However, the heat of the solar surface 5500 C and the much higher heat and convective motion just below the surface may contribute significantly to the starting energy as we come to understand how the existing solar wind forms and the stellar winds of other stars, including those hotter than the sun. For seven years I have been studying whether it would be possible to remove ANY mass from the sun. I call this stage "Leah" after the older first wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. Before we get to phase Leah, where we might experimentally try to remove a small amount of mass from the sun to observe technology, there would be phase "Blaise Pascal" where we would do thought experiments and test ideas theroetically. If the technology appeared risky, there might be a phase Alpha where we might test procedures on the star Alpha Centauri before working on the sun. As a target, perhaps an experimental small operation to remove a little mass from the sun might be tartgeted for the year 2099, within the lifetime of persons now living. David Latham has proposed the much more difficult and long -lasting PHASE RACHEL, in which the goal would be to achieve an optimum amount of gas removal to prolong habitability of earth to a theoretical maximum. Rachel was very beautiful, but her father was a demanding gentleman, and Jacob needed great patience and persistence. Since April 7, 2000 a number of possible technologies have come to mind, but they will require huge amounts of energy.Most of the technologies involve heating the solar surface to increase the amount of mass that escapes in the solar wind. At present it has been estimated about one trillionth of solar mass escapes each year in naturally occurring solar wind. Hopefully, the sun's own energy can be utilized in one way or another.It is conceivable that over thousands and millions of years ways can be found to store energy from giant objects deep in space, and then beam or transport it Most technologies involve application of some form of heat to the solar surface. There may also be the possibilty of disrupting the surface chromosphere and exposing slight deeper layers which are much hotter. In the order I have thought of them, these are techniques for warming the solar surface- locally or around the entire surface. [1] Lasers - possibly utilizing hydrogen from the sun itself for fusion power. [2] Reflectors or mirrors to aim the sun's own heat back at the surface. [3} A greenhouse gas - if one can be maintained stably in the lower corona, this would be the ultimate mirror or reflector. Extremely high million-degree C. temperatures occur in portions of the lower corona, and the forces that cause them are not completed known- very likely magnetism is involved. This strategy would take mass relatively uniformly from all areas of the surface. It would be desirable to remove mass from the polar regions of the sun, so that it would travel away from the orbit of the earth and other planets. [4] Disruption of the cooler chromosphere to expose hotter interior gas or plasma. [5] ANTI-MATTER- would be extremely effective annihiliating some of the sun's mass and generating astonish heat if ANTIMATTER can be found, manufactured and handled and contained, as by very strong magnetic fields. There might be advantages in concentrating ther ANTIMATTER at very low temperatures near absolute zero possibly utilizing superconductivity to assist handling, which is far in the future [but Rachel is very beautiful].[6] collect energy from hot distant sources such as black holes, neutron stars, supernovas, giant stars and beam it to solar system [7] find nearby BROWN dwarfs believed to exist within a few light years of earth and utilize their hydrogen or intragalactic clouds for FUSION. The sun is presently about seventy-one per cent hydrogen, twenty-seven per cent helium, and two per cent heavier elements. The removal of helium probably would favor stability, but the helium tends to be concentrated near the core, as David Latham pointed out in 1995. Recently Sean Root of Port Angeles heard a broadcast on a TV history channel in which something was said about "helium bubbles" obrserved in sunspots. if this is true and if they can be targeted, a substantial amount of helium over a long time can be removed from the convective outer zone, which constitutes thirty per cent of solar radius and sixty-five per cent of volume. Doug Wadsworth of Port Angeles and Western Washington University at Bellinghan points out that if it is possible to reduce solar mass signifiantly, orbits of planets will be affected by reduced gravitational pull, and planets will move further from the sun. This will help delay or prevent over-heating the earth and may be opf great long run importance. Effects on earth and future colonies on satellites of outer planets need careful calclulation [phase Blaise Pascal thought experiments]. It appears likely a time will come when much of the world's population will move to satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Mars is very small. Colonies can be sent to distant space, but moving all person and animals and plants is much more difficult, but relevant to democratic planning and popular will. Someday it will be possible, but it is important to gain time by keeping earth habitable as long as possible. +We have seen that energy may be a limiting factor for long term human survival- whether on earth where overheating of sun will become a problem- or on the outer planets, where fusion energy will eventually be the main fuel- how much hydrogen would be needed for 2-3 billion year survival on outer planets? It comes to mind that the outer planets are mostly hydrogen - it is sugggested their cores may be largely metallic hydrogen, which conducts electricity under pressure. A recent issue of Astronomy magazine suggests that brown drawfs are likely to turn up within a few light years' distance from the earth. They might be excellent fuel sources, whether for my project of reducing mass of sun, or for heating life on the rocky outer satellites. I still hope the best source of energy will be the sun itself. If advanced civilizations already exist in Milky Way galaxy, might we detect them diverting pulsar beams to places where they need energy? I see much progress on non-baryonic matter and other topics. I found article on June 1999 observation of sun's galactic rotation relative to galactic center - but I am still looking for more on its motion relative to neighboring stars and galactic plane.
Year: 1999