Say we can collect all the energy from the sun's output and all the particles from the solar wind. If we had an energy to mass converter and turned everything into say, carbon, how many kilograms of new material would we be able to "create" each year?
If it matters, assume we're collecting everything at one AU.
It's been ~10 years since I've done physics. I think I know the basic process I'd need to calculate this ($E = mc^2$), but I'm not confident I know the right units and unit conversions to use. Plus I have the vague thought that $E = mc^2$ is just a simplified formula of what I should actually be using. Finally, there are a few specific pieces I'm not sure of:
- Does the distance from the sun matter? I was thinking no, but presumably some energy would get absorbed elsewhere. Possibly easiest to calculate this if we collect inside of Mercury's orbit?
- I'm sure I could find an estimate for the sun's energy output in Joules/year, but I'm not sure how I'd tell if that was just solar/photon output or if it also included the solar wind.