Megascale Engineering
Elsirac ring
Image from Steve Bowers

Megascale Engineering is also referred to as megatechnology. Megascale engineering uses energies and methods (including self-replicating nanotechnology and other more advanced techniques up to and including metric engineering) sufficient to build immense structures on an asteroidal, planetary, or even stellar scale.

  • Amat Containment  - Text by John B, Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Different systems used to contain antimatter throughout the ages.
  • Argus Array  - Text by Todd Drashner, Peter Kisner, and M. Alan Kazlev
    Distributed telescopic network occupying a spherical volume approximately 1000 ly across in the Inner and Middle Regions.
  • Artificial Planets  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A number of very energy-costly, hi-tech or god-tech methods that allow the construction of new planets or planet-like objects to order.
  • Artificial Worlds  - Text by Anders Sandberg, John M. Dollan, and Steve Bowers
    Artificial worlds can be divided into habitats (when a habitat can be called a world is of course always a matter of taste, but the formation of a self-sustaining climate and ecology without the need for constant maintenance is usually the relevant point), mega-habitats (>100 km), Banks orbitals, ISOs, Dyson swarms, and other structures (like Kepleria). Categorization is usually simply by basic design, with no need for more elaboration.
  • Artificially Optimised Galaxies  - Text by The Astronomer
    Galaxies optimised for habitation by unknown xenosophonts.
  • Artisuns  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Artificial suns powered by fusion or matter conversion.
  • Banks' Orbital  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A Banks Orbital is an extremely large hoop-shaped artificial habitat that rotates once per day to create artificial gravity along its inner surface. A Banks Orbital can provide natural-seeming and self-maintaining environments over surface areas that are hundreds to thousands of times larger than of a typical rocky planet like Old Earth.
  • Beamrider Network  - Text by Todd Drashner
    An interstellar mass beam propulsion network was first conceived in the mid first century AT (late 20th and early 21st centuries c.e.). Today there are more beamrider routes than wormholes in the galaxy as a whole.
  • Beanstalk  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Also known as a space elevator. A strong cable (usually polybuckminsterfullerene or some semi-elastic diamondoid) lowered from a geosynchronous satellite and anchored to the ground, often with a counterweight at the outer end to provide some extra tension and stability. It provides cheap and simple access to space using elevators. Most developed worlds have a series of beanstalks connecting the surface with orbitals. Although the effect from a beanstalk breaking and whiplashing around the planet would be quite serious, this has only rarely happened.
  • Bennu Biohab  - Text by Andrew P.
    Organic Habitat in the Iota Horologii system.
  • Betelgeuse-brain  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A jupiter-brain so large that it has to be supported by its own radiation pressure to avoid collapsing.
  • Binerator - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A megascale electrical engineering device built around the interstellar plasma flow between unequal size stars in a binary system. The hollow tube like device uses charged plasma particles flowing through it to produce electricity.
  • Bio-Geo Planetary Node/Brain  - Text by Mike Parisi
    Any planet or similar-sized, originally naturally-occurring body that has been converted and dedicated to processing tasks through Bio-Geo-Computing.
  • Bishop Ring  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Giant rotating orbital habitat, built of woven diamondoid/buckyfibre cable; these come in a range of sizes up to 2000 km in diameter and 500 km deep.
  • Bluesky Worldhouses  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Benedita Dacosta, known as Bluesky, brought the worldhouse concept to many cyborgised colonies in the Doran Empire, and later as the Bluesky Bioxoxes, all over Terragen space.
  • Bubblehabs  - Text by Stephen Inniss, With additional material by Tardigrada 2021
    Artificial habitats that float in a planetary atmosphere, such as a cytherian, neptunian or jovian world.
  • Cableville  - Text by Liam Jones
    Vast Topopolis (Macaroni world) affiliated with the MPA.
  • Canopy Plant  - Text by Terrafamilia
    Canopy Plants are neogen plants used in terraforming, paraterraforming, or habitat creation.
  • Cluster Brain  - Text by John B
    High-level brain of Great Archailect level which consists of many star-brains and/orMatrioshka nodes linked together by wormholes within a single open cluster.
  • Computronium Node  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Any intelligent superobject, moon-brain or planetary brain, smaller than a godstar or dyson sphere
  • Crystal Trees  - Text by AI Vin
    Light-gathering structures with a branching, tree-like form.
  • Daidarabotchi Megadyson, The  - Text by NexusEye
    An artificial hyperobject in a distant galaxy
  • Deep Traveler, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Mobile Dyson shell recently discovered by IR astronomy in intergalactic space approximately 23 million ly away.
  • Diffusion Disk  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Uses buckytube optics and fractaform architecture to allow a large orbital habitat around a host star.
  • Diffusion Sphere, Diffusion Dyson  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Type III Dyson Sphere that uses magmatter cabling, dynamic support structures, and fractaform architecture to allow maximal habitat around a host star. The sphere acts as a scaffold for habitats and computronium banks. Requires high transapient technology, and hence is more difficult to construct than the Type I dyson. There are three in Keterist space, two in the Solar Dominion, and three in the MPA. See also Diffusion Disk.
  • Diskworlds  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of ring-shaped habitat that encloses nearly its entire diameter to provide an extensive and diverse habitable volume.
  • Dome Habitats  - Text by Steve Bowers
    An enclosed, pressurised habitat located on the surface of a planet, moon or asteroid.
  • Drashnet  - Text by AI Vin
    Energy collection and storage device.
  • Duoden Torus  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Wrecked structure orbiting Hip 74815 at 5 AU.
  • Dyson Node  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A dyson sphere made mostly of computronium and dedicated to processing needs, as a submind of a larger archailect.
  • Dyson Ring Swarm  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A partial dyson swarm in which the component orbitals and other megastructures follow conventional orbits and form a ring, or Rings around the star around the star.
  • Dyson Swarm, Dyson Sphere  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers with extra material by Mike Parisi and M. Alan Kazlev
    A huge spherical megastructure or habitat swarm constructed around a star in order to maximize living space and capture the entire energy output of that star
  • Dyson Tree Variant: Wagon Wheel   - Text by Mike Miller
    Genetically modified tree grown in space which rotates to produce artificial gravity
  • Dyson Trees  - Text by Todd Drashner, Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
    Genetically engineered trees employing bio-nanotech. Created to function as a biological space habitat. First proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson in the early Information Age.
  • Early Space Elevators  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The technology required to build a space elevator was available from the late first century AT (c. 2050 c.e - Old Earth reckoning) onwards, but financial and political restrictions delayed implementation until the middle of the second century AT. By the early part of the third century there were four major installations and over the remainder of the Interplanetary Age others were gradually added. One, Tangaa Bintang, with a touch point in Indonesia, was retained by GAIA after the Great Expulsion.
  • Ederworlds  - Text by AI Vin
    Inflated, self-gravitating megastructures
  • Fata Morgana II  - Text by Mike Miller
    McKendree Cylinder pair in the New Brooklyn system, an Athenaeid Clan Home.
  • Fiber Habs  - Text by Johnny Yesterday
    Tubular microgravity habitats
  • Flat Earth Habitats  - Text by Mike Miller
    Tethered habitats that rotate to give artificial gravity
  • Four Seasons Habitats  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Habitats with environments which replicate the four temperate seasonal climates
  • Fractal Dyson  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, additions by Steve Bowers
    Type of Dyson Sphere using a fractaform surface to get as much habitable area as possible, thereby maximizing return on investment. There are several Fractal Dysons in the MPA, including one semi-rigid (Kepleria) form. Also, the Paradigm dysons are of a fractal type.
  • Fusion Candle  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Thrust mechanism used to propel gaseous planets
  • Giant Ring of the ArchSaur  - Text by Marcel Lossi
    A very large ringworld orbiting a bright, partially disassembled star.
  • Gravity Balloons  - Text by Steve Bowers, AlanSE
    Balloon-like habitats in space that use asteroid material to counter the pressure on the surface of the balloon.
  • Hab / Habitat  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An artificially constructed environment, whether a dome on the surface of a planet or moon, an orbital or artificial biosphere, a sealed environment in an asteroid belt, a worldship in deep space, or anywhere else, that enables, allows and encourages conditions suitable for sentient life, especially for civilization and sophont beings.
  • Helios Project, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Large scale engineering project being undertaken by the Solar Dominion. The project will attempt to initiate the accelerated collapse of a section of the proto-solar Black Milk nebulae with the intent to create a star. If successful, backers of the project claim that it could greatly increase the lifespan and survivability of modern civilization as it would at least partly free it from its dependency on natural suns.
  • Hoopworld  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Torus shaped metastable artificial solid planet.
  • Hyper-forge  - Text by Todd Drashner
    The largest class of weylforge, using the energy output of a neutron star rather than a conventional sun for power.
  • Intra-habitats  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Smaller inhabited structures which occupy space inside larger habitats.
  • ISO (Intelligent Super-Object)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A large construct intended for the housing of an archailect or transapient or a high singularity culture or civilization. ISOs can be mobile or stationary, with sizes ranging from a few kilometers to Dyson spheres.
  • J-Brain, Jupiter Brain  - Text by Adam Getchell
    An archailect based upon a computational substrate comparable in mass and size to a gas giant planet.
  • Kepler and Bucky habitat clusters  - Text by AI Vin
    Clusters of habitats arranged in polyhedral or geodesic arrays
  • Kepleria  - Text by ProxCenBound, D. David Barbeau, and Steve Bowers
    Famous MPA megastructure consisting of multiple dyson shells, each following the form of one of the platonic solids. One of the Seven Terragen Wonders of the Galaxy.
  • Klemperer rosette  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A stable system of heavier and lighter bodies orbiting in a regular repeating pattern around a common barycenter.
  • Lagrange Magshield, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Interplanetary Age concept, which was developed from research into magsails and Ram-assisted magscoops.
  • Lasyuka  - Text by Liam Jones
    Lasyuka Central: a partial dyson sphere composed of three mutually orthogonal structures called superrings, labelled Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
  • Leo Hyperobject 1  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Vast megastructure 339 million light years from the Milky Way, in Abell 1367
  • Lofstrom Loop  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    Dynamic launch loop using a continuous stream of linked magnetic units to raise payloads above the atmosphere for launch.
  • Logistics  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    The sourcing and transportation of materials from their original location to their required destination.
  • Luminaire  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Artificial Habitat illumination
  • Mass-Stream Technology (Space Fountains and Orbital Rings)  - Text by Todd Drashner; Steve Bowers;
    Using accelerated streams of projectiles or particles to either transfer momentum or support a large structure.
  • Matrioshka Brain  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Dyson-sized (or bigger) megastructure giving most efficient processing out-put for energy input; designed to maximize energy use and processing efficiency.
  • Matrioshka Hypernode  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Matrioshka node powered by starlifting.
  • Matrioshka Micronode  - Text by Todd Drashner
    A smaller and more compact version of the standard Matrioshka processing node, constructed around a stellified jovian or brown dwarf type body.
  • McKendree Cylinder  - Text by AI Vin with additions by Steve Bowers
    Closed cylindrical habitats, often a thousand kilometers in radius and ten thousand kilometers long.
  • Mega-Mecha  - Text by Mike Miller
    Extremely large mecha, often described as fantastic, awesome, and completely ludicrous. These are indulgences, not practical vehicles. They typically start at 100 meters tall and have been as much as 1000 meters tall, and are generally utilized as walking homes, villas, or even cities for the materially ultra-wealthy and whimsical.
  • Megastructural Migration  - Text by Todd Drashner
    A societal phenomenon found on some, although by no means all, megastructures. Megastructural Migrations or Moving Days as they are more commonly called, usually take place on those macrostructures with populations occupying only a small percentage of the structures entire habitable area/volume.
  • Megastructure  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An exceedingly large construct, typically measuring tens to thousands or even millions of kilometres along its greatest dimension. Megastructures may serve any of several puposes, not all of them mutually exclusive: archailect node, orbital for vec or biont habitation, computronium node for virch or ai life, large ISO, and work of art are some of the possibilities.
  • Megastructure Classification Systems  - Text by Isaac Arthur, FrodoGoofball
    Systems for classification of artificial space structures
  • Microgravity Space Habitats  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Non-rotating habitats with a zero-gee environment
  • Neuron Star, N Brain  - Text by Damien Broderick, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    A neutron star used for processing, as part of whole of an archailect-level mind. The exact nature of the processing substrate that is used in such a mind is not fully understood, and may use neutronium, quark matter or exotic matter in various ways.
  • New Brooklyn Beamrider Arrays  - Text by Mike Miller
    Boostbeam emitters set directly into the surface of the cool star Little Brooklyn.
  • Nieuw Amsterdam  - Text by Mike Miller
    A set of static orbital rings around the gas giant Bronx in the New Brooklyn System.
  • Nimbus Project, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Large scale engineering project being carried out by the Negentropy Alliance as an experiment in creating an immortal mind.
  • Niven Clouds (Smoke Rings)  - Text by AI Vin and Steve Bowers
    Circumstellar freefall environments.
  • Orbital (habitat)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for medium-sized to very large self-contained space habitat or biosphere, usually in L4 or L5 (see Lagrange Points) position relative to a planet, moon, or double star, although conventional satellite orbits are sometimes used as well.
  • Ozymandias Institute, The  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A wealthy and widespread organization that studies the eventual fates of all structures, Terragen and otherwise.
  • Paraterraforming  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Steve Bowers
    Roofing over a small world or moon by means of domes or a worldhouse roof to make it habitable to terragen bionts.
  • Planetary Resource Extraction and Disassembly  - Text by Alex Mulvey and Steve Bowers
    The utilisation and extraction of resources from planetary bodies, from dwarf planets up to gas giants.
  • Rak Mesba  - Text by Radtech497
    A xenosophont megastructure in the form of a circumstellar disc
  • Refractory, The  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Prismatic structure at the L1 point of a planet that projects rainbow-like colours onto its surface.
  • Ribbonworlds  - Text by AI Vin and Steve Bowers
    Low acceleration megascale Habitats.
  • Ringworlds  - Text by Ron Bennett
    Ring-like megastructures that completely encircle a star.
  • Rotating Space Habitats  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Space-borne habs that provide artificial gravity do so by spinning. Though there are many variations according to the desired acceleration the available materials and the size of the overall structure there are only a few basic forms.
  • Rotovator  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Device for transferring cargo or passengers from the atmosphere or near surface of a planet to outer space.
  • Rungworld  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Site of an early Oracle-related conflict. The Rungworld includes several hundred 10,000 km McKendree Cylinders linked together in a ladder-like ring.
  • Shellworlds  - Text by Michael Beck, amended by Tardigrada 2021
    Worlds with several concentric habitable layers.
  • Shipyards and Spacecraft Repair Facilities  - Text by Ryan B, Todd Drashner, rom65536, Steve Bowers
    Shipbuilding and spacecraft repair facilities.
  • Space Cities  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Habitats in stationary locations above a planet.
  • Space Mirrors and Solettas  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Space-based structures designed for redirecting sunlight onto planets and megastructures.
  • Space Runways  - Text by Tardigrada
    Launch assist megastructures, usually consisting of suborbital loops in low orbit
  • Star Lifting  - Text by Alex Mulvey and Steve Bowers
    Removing material from a star for industrial use or for stellar husbandry. Methods include increasing its rotation until material begins to drift off the equator or squeezing it using intense magnetic fields from particle accelerators.
  • Stellar Propulsion Systems  - Text by Alex Mulvey, Andrew Broeker
    Moving stars using technology
  • Stellification Engine  - Text by Todd Drashner and Luke Campbell
    Class of macroengineering devices designed to convert white dwarf, jovian, or brown dwarf class bodies into radiant, star-like objects.
  • Sunline  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    A ring of fusion-powered illuminators inside a jovian world or orbiting a brown dwarf or dim red star, designed to focus light on various nearby planets, moons, asteroids or orbiting habitats.
  • Sunshaper  - Text by Sean R

  • Supramundane and Suprastellar Worlds  - Text by AI Vin
    Shells suspended above planets or stars using mass-stream technology.
  • Symmes' Worlds  - Text by AI Vin
    Symmes' World starts out as the shell of a supramundane planet. When the shell becomes thick enough it generates enough of a gravity well to hold on to a biosphere. Large openings in the shell (most often at the poles) called "Symmes' holes" allow the atmospheres, hydrospheres and biospheres of the outside surface and inside volume to mix.
  • Terraformer Swarms  - Text by Somes Jung Hallinan
    Large swarms of self-replicating devices that travel in front of colonization fleets. They are usually carried within small seeding missiles that travel close to the speed of light, well ahead of the main colony ships. The seedtech or sporetech devices are usually embedded within a solid block of metal, concrete, diamondoid, or some other encapsulating material.
  • Terraforming  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Planetary Engineering with the aim of creating a habitable environment
  • Tipler Oracle  - Text by Todd Drashner
    A semi-mythical godtech device said to be created by the AI Gods when they have a particularly intractable computational problem to resolve.
  • Topopolis  - Text by Tardigrada and Steve Bowers
    Long, thin, rotating habitat in orbit around a star or planet, so that the long axis of the habitat passes completely around the orbit at least once.
  • Torus World, The  - Text by Vaktus
    Artificial metastable donut-shaped world created by the transapient Conspersio
  • Uranus and the Athelan Superstructure  - Text by Ryan B
    Tilted cryojovian world in the Old Solar system.
  • Valhalla Cluster  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Colloquial term for massive artificial concentrations of matter believed to be operating as archai level (Fifth Singularity or higher) industrial centers.
  • Vertical Skyhooks and Static Orbital Rings  - Text by Mike Miller
    Orbiting structures that extend above, and below, their centres of gravity.
  • Void Factory  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Godtech device for the production of void bubbles.
  • W-Brain, Distributed Wormhole Brain  - Text by Adam Getchell with additions by Steve Bowers
    A form of distributed comptutational megastructure relying on wormholes for processing power.
  • Wadai (WD 0230-144)  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The oldest circumstellar ringworld in the Terragen sphere, orbiting around a white dwarf star in the inner sphere.
  • Walking Cities  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Mobile cities, often independently sophont.
  • Worldhouses  - Text by James Ramsey
    "Relatively thin membranes designed to retain atmospheres on volatile-poor planets
  • Worldrings  - Text by AI Vin
    World Rings, as the name implies, are ring-type habitats which duplicate (as much as possible) all the conditions found on a Gaian type world, including total surface area under full centrifugal gravity. As such, World Rings occupy the middle ground between Bishop Rings and Banks Orbitals, and typically use technology from both.
  • Wormhole Bus  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Dedicated hyperbandwidth wormhole used to link remote parts of megascale brains in order to avoid the effects of the Beckenstein Bound. An essential part of archailect architecture. The term is also used to refer to wormhole links between interstellar-separated dyson nodes.
  • Yggdrasil Bush, Yggy  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Variant species of the orwood biological space habitat.
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 19 July 2003.

Additional Information