Could Black Holes Made of Light Power Our Spaceships?
100 Comments


There are some crazy ideas for spacecraft
propulsion out there, but tops among them must be the idea to power an interstellar
craft with a black hole. Wait it gets crazier. The black hole is made of light. Yes, that’s right, a black hole, which is
a region in space where the gravity is so strong that, all together now: “not even
light can escape,” very good, can itself be made from light. Theoretically, of course. The black holes you’re probably used to
are made of matter, and lots of it. Stellar mass black holes usually form after
giant stars go supernova and leave a core behind. If that core is more than about three times
as massive as our entire sun, give or take half a sun, its own gravity will crush the
entire thing down to a single point, forming a black hole. However, because of Einstein’s equation
E=mc2 we know that mass and energy are related. It’s right there; energy equals mass times
the speed of light squared. So you could use energy to bend space into
a black hole the same way nature uses mass. You would just need an insane amount of energy
to get the equivalent of enough mass, since the speed of light is a huge number, nearly
300,000 km/s, and the equation calls for you to square it. Light carries energy, so if you managed to
cram enough into a tiny space you would create what’s called a kugelblitz, which is German
for “Ball Lightning.” The good news is if we wanted to make a kugelblitz
we wouldn’t necessarily have to use the equivalent of about three solar masses like
nature needs for a stellar black hole. We could make them much smaller, say one with
the equivalent mass of two empire state buildings. Then we would “only” need as much energy
as our entire sun puts out in 1/10th of a second. We could use a laser to create this low mass
kugelblitz, most likely one that shoots gamma rays instead of visible light, since gamma
rays are the most energetic electromagnetic waves and we’re trying to be efficient in
our ridiculousness. If we managed to create this absurdly powerful
laser, focused it at some point in space, and pulled the trigger, we could create a
tiny black hole, one with a radius smaller than a proton. A black hole this size would decay over the
course of about five years, giving off hawking radiation as it decays, and it might be possible
to use that radiation to power a spacecraft. I know, you’ve followed me pretty far down
the rabbit hole already, but I promise it’s just a little farther. A 2015 paper proposed that if we could create
a dyson sphere around our little kugelblitz and harness the energy to propel a spacecraft,
it could accelerate up to 72% the speed of light before the black hole sputters out. That is of course assuming the dyson sphere
isn’t melted by the hawking radiation. Or that the extreme heat generated from packing
an insane amount of energy into a tiny space doesn’t cause something unpredictable to
happen. A kugelblitz would be so hot that the math
we use the predict the laws of physics doesn’t apply, so we can’t accurately say how it
would behave. So black holes made from light and spacecraft
that could harness them are still purely based in theory. Hypothetically they could exist, but I wouldn’t
pin your dreams of interstellar travel on them just yet. Though, you can pin your dreams on a new cell
provider. Visible is the new way to think about phone
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think Visible. For more on Dyson Spheres, check out this
episode of Space Crafts! And one last thing. There is another phenomenon called ball lightning,
which is totally unrelated to a kugelblitz. I bet that’s only confusing if you’re
german. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next
time on Seeker.

100 thoughts on “Could Black Holes Made of Light Power Our Spaceships?

  1. Yeah try to move a black hole into space, reasonable amount of power require moon massive black holes, basically impossible to create artificially, while if you make it too small, it's gonna explode in almost an instant and to keep it from doing that you need to constantly feed it, now how do you feed so much matter into a proton sized black hole? most likely way is using giant moon sized powerplants with these black holes to create antimatter, then use this antimatter as a battery and as fuel, but it would probably require > tier 3 civ to create a black hole that stable, unless we find a new law of phisics that can alter gravity or quantum fluctuations.
    There is an hawking radiation website that can make all calculations for you, and i tried all reasonable values and it's impratical unless you have acces to ridiculus technology.
    Or find a way to catalize matter to decay into energy on command, like some sort of chain reaction with quarks or stuff, or find a real black hole and dump stuff into it and recieve close to 42% of the energy, but that's even more impratical than dyson spheres

  2. I once heard someone suggest a possible reason for the Fermi Paradox being that once a civilisation gets advanced enough, it screws around with a technology it doesn’t quite understand and black holes itself. I feel like this is the technology is how we black hole ourselves.

    It was Burnie Burns on Episode 188 of the Rooster Teeth podcast.

  3. does anybody stays the whole video or do everyone else also stop it and leave whenever the ad comes in? Not just in this channel i mean

  4. umm no..black holes made of light could not. would take more light than the universe could put out to generate one of sufficient size to make any difference..

  5. Orrrrrrr we can stop hiding extraterrestrials and actually develop some sort of friendship and combine our technology… Buuuuuuuut knowing stupid ass humans, we will weaponize that technology and destroy everything.

  6. The pack that cellular service Visible provides for $40/month, we get that for $7 for "3" months in india 😛

  7. Really, than how ru planning 2manager2 confine it within the Dyson's Spear without letting it touch the inner walls of the sphere with the ever changing inertial states of the space craft? 4rget ur insane levels of Hawkins radiation, 1st @least solve D's basic inertial problem theoretically b4 proceeding. And please don't bring non existing negative mass after ur planning to creat it from existing technology & materials.

  8. The theories you are speaking about here are all based on a bogus theory . No Big Bang , no expanding universe , no black holes , no dark matter , no neutron stars .

  9. So this reminds me (theoretical of course) on how in Star Trek Romulan's power there Starships using a Quantum Singularity…lol So if it works we could get to Pluto in say about 6 hours instead of 25 years. We need Fusion and a new way of harnessing Electricity from the Fusion Process.

  10. Okay only thing i’m seeing wrong with this is the energy conversion of light used and the energy output of the black hole. Here on Earth we can create energy by using hazardous waste and use our pollution to fuel a black hole and harness the energy from hawking radiation

  11. Why not use the kugalblitz to warp space around a spaceship and travel faster than light?
    A torus shaped black hole made of light with the correct rotation would be equivalent to a wormhole, would it not?

  12. You shouldn't start off with gamma rays. The smaller the wave the harder it is to put them all in one place.

  13. Hey what we would do after when the black hole explodes after 5 years with releasing energy equal to about 10000 tsar bombas ( when a black hole dies due to hawking radiation it releases a lot of energy )

  14. The other tricky thing about them is hawking radiation increases as the holes get smaller so whilst maybe manageable at 2 empire state buildings after the 5 year it will go off with a bang. I believe the last 10 tons while evaporate in a fraction of a second producing several order of magnitude more energy than any nuclear bomb we have even imagined

  15. Wouldn't any mass of black hole just fall through the earth and swallow it whole? Yea until someone figures out to stop gravity I'm not accepting this, not just more research required but common sense please. If I'm wrong then please send me a source that says so and then, if it is valid, I will apologise

  16. Probably easier to use all that energy to create the black hole to power your ship. Maybe just point the laser out the back or something.

  17. It's not possible. Black holes are made of ginormous amounts of mass compressed in an infinite point. You can't create a black hole out of light only, because photons have almost no mass what so ever. Even if you collected every light particle from every light producing object in the universe, you wouldn't have enough mass to make a black hole.

  18. You need a few atoms and then some exotic matter to stick to the particles to "stabilize" the black hole. Using the atoms you can then use magnetism to rotate this black hole made of a few particles and most light energy. Rotating this thing could do some funky things and potential make you move or glide on space time. Although this completely breaks the laws of thermodynamics as far as we know. The odd thing is, this could potentially make a sub universe. It would exist within the universe but not at the same time. It would existentially be it's own entity but with the same laws of physics. Maybe if we understood gravity or whatever we could make this sub universe have some neat properties. We dont really know what black holes even do because they literally break our understanding of physics. Who knows what could happen?

  19. How do you move a kugelblitz? If it is smaller than a proton my guess is you couldn't contain it. Made from light it won't have an electric or magnetic field. It should accelerate towards the largest gravitational field and would pass through any solid material.

  20. If you could concentrate just the fraction of what it takes to form a black hole, to power a fusion reactor. Much easier!

  21. Interesting that it can achieve 72% lightspeed, as that's what I call the break-even point. A ship traveling at 72% c would have a gamma of 1.4, or a dilation factor of 40%, meaning you could coast 10 light years in 14 years earthtime, but only 10 years shiptime would pass, so it's as good as traveling at lightspeed in terms of the astronaut's travel duration time.

  22. Ahhh! @ 0:30 Video clip from "How The Universe Works" I see and with no Credit for them. I watch that show and recognized it. Fair Use Statement?

  23. I'd like to see the day, when English is updated, since röntgen rays have been discovered and obviously have name. That obsession with the letter X is just so childish.

  24. ok so you create a tiny blackhole – put in your spaceship to provide power………..how do you move it? being so small and having small overall gravity field can you simply touch it and not have matter fall into it because its too small? – also lets assume you can move it and its giving off hawking radiation……… how does one turn that radiation into propulsion? – would it not make more sense to use that insane laser (probably no longer a gamma ray laser please) to make a light sail?

  25. Energy can be converted into matter as per as the experiment conducted by the students of IMPERIAL UNVERSITY of UK.Please make a video in this matter.

  26. First- A black hole of such small size would decay in less than second ,
    Second- you cannot make more energy than you spend ,
    Third- It would be very difficult to make a dysons sphere around a black hole that is smaller than a proton.
    Seeker , please get the appropriate information before uploading a video .

  27. FURY- "Is it dangerous?"

    SCIENTIST- " It just gives off a bit of radiation."

    FURY- "What kind of radiation?"

    SCIENTIST- "Gamma radiation"

    FURY- "That can be dangerous!"

  28. How do you "attach" the black hole to the ship? Hawking radiation is emitted in all directions, not just the exhaust of your ship, and will push the ship away from the black hole.

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