Black Holes: The Power Source for Future Space Travel?

2015 Words9 Pages
Everyone knows that the spaceships in Star Trek that travel faster than the speed of light are mere science fiction. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, if an object reached the speed of light, its mass would be immediately transformed into energy. Currently our spaceships can not even reach mars in less than five years. Now, with modern theories of black holes, trips to other solar systems may be possible at nearly the speed of light. Black holes were only proven to exist within the last twenty-five years and were only really considered to exist for the last seventy-five years. Yet these recently discovered objects could be the energy revolution of the future, much like nuclear power was in the sixties. Black holes generate tremendous amounts of energy in several different ways, and so can be harnessed in several ways to generate usable power. In order to understand how energy can be created from black holes, one must first have an understanding of black holes themselves. Black holes are formed by matter being crushed within a certain radius (call the Shwarzchild radius or event horizon). This radius can be calculated by the equation r = 2GM / c2, were G is Newton's gravitational constant, c is the speed of light, and M is the mass of the black hole. This shows that the density within the event horizon, which is equal to 3M / 4?r2 for a spherical object, will actually decrease as the mass increases. The gravitational field around a black hole will act same as an object of identical mass, so "if the sun were to suddenly … [become] a black hole … would the earth go plummeting into it? No, it would continue on its orbit … things just get interesting close to the black hole" (Jebornak, 1998). There are three types of black holes that scientist currently believe are capable of becoming future power sources: Schwarzschild black holes, Newmann black holes, and primordial black holes. Schwarzschild black holes are the simplest black holes because they do not rotate and have no charge. The Newmann black hole, on the other hand, rotates and has a charge, but like the Schwarzschild black hole can have varying masses from a couple times our sun's mass to several billion times the mass of our sun. Primordial black holes were first theorized about "In the year 1973 [by] Stephen W.

More about Black Holes: The Power Source for Future Space Travel?

Open Document