Black Hole Engine

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Scientists at Kansas State University have proposed the idea of using manmade black holes to power interstellar spacecraft.

Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland of Kansas State University propose a way to use black holes as fuel that is entirely within the bounds of physics and technology as we know them, but would take phenomenal amount of engineering.

The crux of their idea involves using using a laser to form a micro black hole, which could be used as an energy source. This would be a Schwarzschild, or non-rotating, black hole which outputs Hawking Radiation, and the smaller the black hole, the more energetic.

Of course, making a black hole isn’t the world’s most easy undertaking. It takes a huge amount of power to build one in the first place. To make one of these mini black holes, Crane and Westmoreland propose a 370km2 solar panel, at an orbit one million km from the surface of the sun, which, if perfectly efficient, would gather enough energy per year to make one black hole. This power would be fed to a spherically converging gamma laser, with a lasing mass of around 10^9 tonnes. However, after you make a few black holes, you can use them as a power source to make more.

A Black Hole Engine That Could Power Spaceships [io9]

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