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Allen Steele's HEX



Next week will see the release of Allen Steele's newest novel, "Hex" [link] . Based in the his Coyote universe, the story concerns the discovery of an impossibly huge, alien Dyson Sphere. I was brought on to do these three pages of technical diagrams, illustrating the concept and its functional details.

Done in Photoshop CS3.
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I am curious about this concept. How does gravity work? From the second illo, it appears as if each biosphere unit is composed of at least two subunits and that they rotate around a central hub that pumps sunlight down the middle to light them - like the bullets in a revolver. That would make the sailcell cables impossible to attach directly, as they would prevent this rotation, but we could presume some sort of frame housing the rotational unit that would be stationary with respect to the Dyson framework. I presume the sailcell cables are the energy-gathering portion of the rig. I'm guessing the entire rig is more-or-less stationary, essentially "inflated" by the pressure of sunlight on the vast surface area of the sailcell cable array. This is a highly modular design that would not require scrith or other supertech materials, but I'm not certain this is what you (or the author) intended. Care to elaborate?

I am also curious if the average solar system can produce enough required mass of various elements to build this thing. It seems lighter and more "do-able" than a ringworld, but it's a damn large object.