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Solar CPR

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"When a Stellar Bomb is triggered, very little will happen at first — and then a spark, will pop into existence, and it will hang for an instant, hovering in space and then, it will split into two, and those will split again, and again, and again. Detonation beyond all imagining — the Big Bang on a small scale. A new star born out of a dying one. I think it will be beautiful..."
Capa, Sunshine

It’s easy to forget that even a star can die. They are incredibly ancient by human standards, and their light takes a long time to fade once they’re gone. Faced with the infinite tragedy of a star’s death, multiplied by the billions that have already passed away, the concept becomes incomprehensible in its vast scale.

Well, at least it won't happen to our sun any time soon... right?

Either through natural causes or galactic vandals who go around Star Killing for fun and profit, the local star is set to die; this usually involves Artistic License – Physics even with liberal uses of Phlebotinum. You can imagine the desperation a planetary civilization will feel when it's their turn to see their sun die. Cue an attempt at Solar CPR. A sufficiently advanced civilization may develop a Magic Antidote or solar-scale World-Healing Wave that can stop this from happening (or at least discover a group of aliens who do).

A civilization facing the natural death of their sun may well use this antidote as the ultimate rejuvenating skin cream to give their sun a few extra billion years of life. Typically, they "kick start Helium fusion", though they may do something much more wonky like reverse the flow of time. Alternately, they might give a gas giant planet or nebula the breath of life and move there.

If, by chance, you need some reassurance as to why we here in Real Life don't really need to worry about this happening just yet - (Click Here for Science!) 


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  • Breakfast-cereal ads have depicted the Sun eating a bowl of their brand to give it the energy to rise in the morning.
    • Jimmy Dean sausage uses this as well for its line of frozen breakfast sandwiches.

    Anime and Manga 
  • At least two different versions of Astro Boy end with the title robot making a Heroic Sacrifice in order to do this. At the end of the 1960s anime he flies a device into the sun to stop it from going nova, though he was later brought back to life in three different continuation manga by three different aliens (and one was later retconned to bring it in line with the manga continuity where he never flew into the sun, but that's neither here nor there). In Astro Boy: Omega Factor he flies a piece of scrap containing his girlfriend's CPU in to deactivate the remains of the game's final boss before the radioactive alien alloy he's made of starts a deadly chain reaction.
  • Exaggerated in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, in which the Kyubeys are trying to reverse the entropy of the entire universe, by what is essentially making a girl go supernova.
  • At the end of Transformers: Energon, Primus uses the Super Energon to recreate the sun of Alpha Q's solar system.

    Asian Animation 
  • This is the basis of the plot for the Simple Samosa episode "Space Snax". When the sun suddenly stops glowing, it falls into the hands of Samosa's gang to prepare under the wing of space travel lover Melon Musk to make a trip into the cosmos and light the sun back up. Once there, Samosa, with the help of Doctor Goti Sodawala and Rakesh Shawarma, set a piece of wood on fire to get the sun burning again... which somehow works.

    Comic Books 
  • In All-Star Superman: Superman dies fixing the sun that had been turned red/blue.
  • Carol Danvers once gave up her cosmic-level powers to stop the sun from exploding.
  • In Green Lantern, Blue Lanterns can rejuvenate dying stars with the Hope of those on a nearby planet; the process turns the star blue, which is implied to mean it has been made young again.
    • After Hal destroys the Green Lantern corps, the Sun-Eater is killing Earth's sun in Final Night, and he does a Heroic Sacrifice that saves it and restores the damage. In the process, it shines green for a day.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • This is the major plot of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. The Hero goes on an epic journey of self discovery and meets some benevolent aliens with the power to kickstart the sun, but he has to prove himself, and by extension everyone else, worth of the gift.
  • Implied in Hogfather, where it's said that if the Hogfather (Discworld's answer to Santa Claus, who in this case is actually a minor god who used to be associated with more... primal midwinter celebrations) isn't saved, the sun won't rise on Hogswatch Day. As it turns out, Death meant that instead, "A mere ball of glowing gas would have illuminated the world". Or in other words, humanity's sense of wonder and imagination would be snuffed out.
  • This trope triggered the asking of Isaac Asimov's The Last Question.
  • Unusual example in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which features a faded star being made to age backwards until it is once more young again to shine. Unusual, because in Narnia's world, stars are angel-like people and the 'CPR' consists of the star eating fire-berries that grow in the valleys of the Sun, brought to him by birds.
  • The titular device in The Neutronium Alchemist, the second book of The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton is capable of turning gas planets into neutron stars.
  • In Phoenix by Clark Ashton Smith the sun is resurrected with a bomb that ignites the elements.
  • In The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke, Mars's moon Phobos is turned into an artificial star to make Mars more livable for humans.
  • To Save the Sun, by Ben Bova and A.J. Austin. Exactly what it says on the tin.
    • In 2010, the alien monolith turns Jupiter into a star, which gets the name Lucifer.
  • Star Carrier: Singularity reveals that the Sh'daar have been maintaining six blue supergiants arranged in a hexagon pattern by periodically dumping additional stars into them. Otherwise they'd burn themselves out in about 100 million years.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe:
    • Scotty's subplot in Rihannsu: The Empty Chair concerns an attempt to gain a way to defeat a Romulan technology called Sunseed that uses stars for a number of applications, ranging from sensor-blinding and ship-destroying solar storms on up to planet-glassing attacks. At the book's climax he uses his research to defeat a Romulan nova bomb deployed against Sol.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation Q Continuum novel trilogy, the T'Kon Empire spent roughly a century or more building a giant transporter array that would teleport their old dying sun out of their solar system and immediately replace it with a younger one. Unfortunately, an evil entity called 0 spent decades toying with them for his own amusement, creating conflict among the T'Kon to interfere with their project. When it looked like the T'Kon were about to pass his "test" and succeed despite the obstacles he'd placed, 0 caused their sun to go supernova prematurely out of spite.
  • In Wolfsbane by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, Earth's moon is turned into an artificial sun to keep the Earth livable since it was stolen from the solar system by aliens. The moon needs to be relighted periodically.
  • In The World at the End of Time, by Frederik Pohl, when star formation is halting across the Universe Wan-To, the entity described there who lives inside stars, forms new ones using the available gas. Later, he's described to have created two galaxies when all the others are beginning to fade out.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A good part of the final season of Andromeda deals with repairing and restarting fusion in the star system's artificial star.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Firefly: The Verse In Numbers document says there's a method of Terraforming called helioforming that turns gas giants into protostars to give their colonised moons adequate heat.
  • One of the four TV movies that made up "season 1" of Lexx, entitled Supernova, featured the ancient, and at that point uninhabited, home planet of the Brunnen-G, in a system of binary suns. A huge automated "stabilizing" device on the planet kept the mutual orbit of the two suns stable, and when it is shut down, the orbit decays and the two stars collide with a cataclysmic explosion.
  • Variation in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Red Sky" when a sun is tainted by heavy metals accidentally introduced to it by the passage of a Stargate wormhole, and the team have to reverse the process by adding even heavier elements to bind the first lot. Needless to say, the usual scale problems are very obvious here. It's strongly implied at the end of the episode that their "adding heavier elements" trick actually didn't work, and the Asgard just used the attempt as a distraction so they could fix the sun themselves without the Goa'uld being able to prove they did it (such an action would've been forbidden by the Protected Planets Treaty).
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Half a Life", a planet's sun is going to go supernova in a few years. The one scientist they have whose work has come closest to fixing the problem is required by custom and law to commit suicide at age 60, just a few days away. He refuses, and his planet refuses to use his research because he's a traitor to their way of life (their deeply held commitment to this way of life is also why they don't just evacuate their home planet instead of trying to fix the star). Oddly, a test run on a similar star shows it getting larger as it "heals" and brightens, which is the opposite of what would actually happen.
    • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Second Sight", another scientist uses protomatter to reignite Epsilon 119.

  • Some cultures have believed, or are notorious for having believed, that periodic Human Sacrifice was necessary to invoke this trope.
  • In Slavic mythology a dragon stole (or consumed) the Sun and plunged the world into darkness and cold for thirty three years. It took the alliance of mean and good gods to eventually defeat it and restore the Sun in its rightful place.

  • Alien Worlds premiered with the two-part episode "The Sunstealers", which had our heroes investigate why every sun in the galaxy was dying. It turns out to be the work of an insectoid alien race known as the Markab using their technology to drain the suns of their ultraviolet rays.

    Tabletop Games 
  • At the height of their empire, the Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 were not just able to perform solar CPR, they could birth new stars.
  • During the Wrath of the Immortals Story Arc, the player characters have the opportunity to help end the Week Of No Magic that afflicts the world. One result of their success is that it revives the internal sun of the Hollow World, which had shut down in the absence of magic.
  • Numenera: The setting of the game is Earth billions of years in the future, but the Sun is still in its normal state. The sourcebook Edge of the Sun clarifies that one of the other Eight Worlds before the Ninth created a Mercury-sized space station and placed it in Solar orbit to keep it alive and stable, and the sourcebook supplies information on (and an adventure taking place in) the station.

    Video Games 
  • In the fangame Final Fantasy Endless Nova the sun is misshapen. It turns out that the Specran race has been using a 100-year cycle of powerful magic to prevent the sun from turning into a black hole, dooming the solar system (and possibly the universe). Of course, the game starts when this cycle is about to be disrupted.
  • In Mass Effect 2, recruiting Tali has her investigating a sun which is dying too quickly. Unfortunately, this became an Aborted Arc due to a change in writers was never brought up in Mass Effect 3 at all.
  • A star going nova is a random event in the Master of Orion series. The player can prevent it from happening by diverting enough research. Upon succeeding, a message appears about scientists developing a device to "rejuvenate" the star's core.
  • In the end of Moero! Nekketsu Rythm Damashii! Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! 2 the sun dies, and the two rival cheer squads act together to raise everyone's spirit level enough to resurrect it.
  • One of the main objectives in One Shot is to bring a new sun, in the form of a lightbulb, to its proper place in order to replace the previous sun that died out.
  • The first level of Super Mario Galaxy involves rescuing one of the Grand Stars stolen by Bowser by turning off a machine that is slowly sucking out its power.
  • The very first Space Quest starts off with Roger Wilco working on a science ship that is carrying one of these devices. The problem is, the device can also be used to cause a star to go nova, which is what the Sariens try to do after boarding the ship and killing everyone on it (except Roger who was sleeping in a broom closet). The sequel reveals that the person behind the Sariens, Sludge Vohaul, the evil clone of Dr. Slash Vohaul, the designer of the device, wanted to destroy Xenon For the Evulz and claim the credit for the invention.
  • In Star Trek Online, players are introduced to Kuumarrke and the Lukari race when she is attempting to revitalize her planet's sun. Her attempt fails, but a traveler from the future, Kal Dano, arrives and uses the Tox Uthot to do the job instead.
  • Stellaris: one star in a given galaxy is usually being consumed by the Stellar Devourer, a giant life-form that... well, devours stars. If you kill it, you're given the option to try to take the energy from its corpse to try to restore the star to what it once was, which will usually yield a couple of habitable worlds for colonization. Sometimes it works... and sometimes your science vessel explodes.
  • One of the major conflicts in the Surge Concerto series is how to deal with Bezel, the dying sun of the planet the games take place on. The Save Bezel Project is the faction that wants to invoke this trope.


    Web Original 
  • In Orion's Arm this falls within the category of "stellar engineering" and includes multiple different methods. Star lifting uses the power of the star itself, combined with powerful magnetic fields, to remove mass from the star and thus increase its lifespan (and the removed mass can be used to make new stars). Starboosting uses massive mirrors placed above the star's northern and southern hemispheres, which reflect the star's light back onto it, heating it and shifting the spectrum of its light. Stellification engines are miniature black holes, fusion reactors or matter-to-energy conversion reactors which are injected into a white dwarf, gas giant or brown dwarf, turning it into an artificial star.

    Western Animation 
  • An entire episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog is based around this. The sun is repaired by changing a lightbulb.
  • Invader Zim had an episode based on the "Planet Jackers," who steal planets to drop into the sun their home planet orbits, in hopes that their burning will continue to fuel the sun. We didn't get to see if it actually works, but presumably it does since there's evidence that they'd been doing it for a while... or, the Invader Zim 'verse being what it is, their sun was never in any danger of dying in the first place and they just don't know any better.
  • Les Mondes Engloutis (released in English as Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea) was a French animated series from The '80s that had this premise: An ancient advanced civilization called Arkadia was sucked deep within the Earth but continued to prosper by creating an artificial sun to power their way of life. Millennia later, their sun starts to fail. Knowledge of life on the surface had fallen into forgotten myth, and the adults are too concerned with their own problems, so a group of children break into the forbidden archive and re-learn of the existence of life on the surface - so they create a messenger to the surface world hoping she can bring back help. "They named her Arkana..."

    Real Life 
  • Blue stragglers are stars found in high-density regions as stellar clusters, especially globular ones, that are abnormally luminous and bluer next to the majority of others there. The prefered explanations for their origin are either two smaller stars merging and one small star sucking matter from another more evolved, in both cases sort of rejuvenating them with the extra benefit of becoming a more massive and luminous star than their former selves.
  • Star lifting is the hypothetical process of removing matter from a star. This would reduce the rate at which the star consumes its fuel, thus increasing its lifespan. The removed matter could also be used to make new stars.