Interstellar Travel Update

It’s been 33 years since science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke penned Imperial Earth, in which he envisioned the use of a miniature black hole for interstellar propulsion. (You’ll find a copy on the library’s fiction shelves.)

Now, a pair of scientists at Kansas State University – Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland – pose the question “Are Black Hole Starships Possible?”. In their twenty page paper they “investigate whether it is physically possible to build starships or power plants using the Hawking radiation of an artificial black hole as a power source” and conclude that “the proposal seems to be at the edge of possibility, but quantum gravity effects could change the picture.”

You may find the mathematics and verbiage a bit intimidating if physics isn’t your cup of tea. If so, you might check out a less abstract review of the notion appearing recently in New Scientist in the article Dark Power: Grand Designs for Interstellar Travel.

Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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