[extropy-chat] Is Nemesis a Matrioshka Brain?

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Sat Jan 21 16:53:24 UTC 2006

An interesting note [1] on /. this morning [1] citing an actual web site [2]
about the Nemesis theory [3] started me thinking about whether or not
Nemesis could be a Matrioshka Brain [4].

If so, that opens a whole range of possible thought paths regarding the
superintelligent design and/or management of our solar system...

Is there any hard evidence *against* Nemesis other than the fact that we
haven't located it?  True, we haven't discovered it using past surveys, the
best of which, at least for IR, was probably IRAS, but its frequency
detection was not that far into the IR and its resolution certainly wasn't
very high.  But if we are *still* discovering nearby planetary bodies, e.g.
Sedna, 2003UB313, etc. then we cannot have done very robust surveys.  The
initial Nemesis proposal (according to Wikipedia) seems to be for a Mag.
7-12 red dwarf most likely at 1000+AU(?) -- but those calculations would
have a much wider range if one was dealing with a "dark" object such as a
Matrioshka Brain).

If you don't like the small star powered Matrioska Brain idea, how about a
swarm of of them powered by internal fusion reactors, masquerading as Oort
cloud bodies?  They could still accomplish the gravitational disruption of
the Oort cloud at periodic intervals (a key element of the Nemesis theory)
and use their Oort cloud encounters as refueling opportunities.  One could
also ask if we have done *enough* occultation astronomy (i.e. we would have
to watch the *entire* sky semi-continuously for disappearing stars) to
notice *really* large (gas-giant planet to star sized?) solar arrays
collecting the low density solar radiation at 100+ AU to supply power to
numerous Jupiter Brains.  Muller's comments [5] lead me to believe we aren't
even close setting constraints on "alternative" explanations for Nemesis.

Once again, astronomers trip over the assumption that the universe must be
"dead".  :-(


1. http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/21/0338234
2. http://www.binaryresearchinstitute.org.nyud.net:8090/
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_%28star%29
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrioshka_Brain
5. http://muller.lbl.gov/pages/lbl-nem.htm
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