Asoka's Pillar
Asoka's Pillar
Image from Steve Bowers
Asoka's Pillar is a cylindrical Dyson shell that appears to be actively supported by rotation, although the exact details of the mechanism is not clear at this distance.
A Dyson cylinder surrounding an isolated star far above the galactic disk. It is known for its strange, repeating transmission which it broadcasts in all directions. The message proclaims that these beacons (plural) mark the Empire of the Resplendent One, outlines eir instructions for running a diverse yet harmonious society, and describes the prosperity and might of the Empire, which is claimed to occupy 27 billion star systems. It is clear that Asoka's Pillar is isolated and cannot be part of any such empire, as no wormhole has been observed nearby that could link it to anything. It's been speculated that the entity or civilization inhabiting the structure is delusional in some sense, or that it makes these claims to intimidate any potential aggressors. Another theory states that at one time, such an empire did exist, and that there were in fact other similar beacons in its territory. All of these have since been destroyed or repurposed by others, but this one escaped due to its orbit taking it far away from the galactic disk, and automated processes or hyper-dedicated AI keep the message broadcasting. Asoka's Pillar would have last been in the galactic disk 104 million years ago.
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Development Notes
Text by Crossroads
From an idea by M. Alan Kazlev; updated 30 September 2018
Initially published on 07 October 2001.