Friday, November 10, 2017

[stkxunqx] Radiating heat from an ecumenopolis

Pack a quadrillion or quintillion people onto Earth, and we will face the challenge of dissipating all the waste heat, not only from just our bodies but also our machinery and agriculture.

One way is to pump the heat to giant radiators in space.  The coolant can be pumped using a space elevator or space fountain.  The latter seems especially attractive because space fountains require constantly circulating some mass anyway.

However, the argument goes, if we have robust space elevator or space fountain technology, it would be better just to have the people live in many orbiting space stations.  Dissipating waste heat will be less of a problem.  Food could be grown in space as well.  It would be a lot less crowded and seemingly more pleasant.

Is this argument true?  How much more difficult is it to transport people via space elevator or fountain versus transporting coolant?  How much more difficult is constructing a habitat versus a radiator?

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