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Space & Astronomy

Miniature black hole could power our planet

By T.K. Randall
February 3, 2016 · Comment icon 19 comments

Could we use a miniature black hole as a power source ? Image Credit: NASA / Alain Riazuelo
Stephen Hawking has suggested that a single black hole could power the whole world's electricity supply.
Black holes are conventionally seen as extraordinarily dangerous and destructive phenomena, but what if we could harness their immense energy output and put it to good use ?

This was one of the concepts put forward by Professor Stephen Hawking during his second Reith lecture on BBC Radio 4 this week.

"A mountain-sized black hole would give off X-rays and gamma rays, at a rate of about 10 million megawatts, enough to power the world's electricity supply," he said.

"'It wouldn't be easy however, to harness a mini black hole. You couldn't keep it in a power station, because it would drop through the floor and end up at the centre of the Earth."
"If we had such a black hole, about the only way to keep hold of it would be to have it in orbit."

Even if we could find and harness the power of one of these miniature black holes however we would need to be extremely careful as one wrong move could potentially end in disaster.

So far though, despite years of searching, scientists have yet to discover one.

"This is a pity, because if they had I would have got a Nobel Prize," Hawking quipped.

Source: Mail Online | Comments (19)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by NCC1701 9 years ago
"'It wouldn't be easy however, to harness a mini black hole. You couldn't keep it in a power station, because it would drop through the floor and end up at the centre of the Earth." "If we had such a black hole, about the only way to keep hold of it would be to have it in orbit." ------------------------ Uh... not sure if this would be a good idea. There will always be people protesting when science explores new avenues.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Hartmut 9 years ago
Hmm, maybe in 1000 year when we have the technology - and have grown up enough to get rid of our stupid nationalistic tribal thinking that creates constant conflicts and significantly slows down all of our human scientific and other advancements.
Comment icon #12 Posted by TheGreatBeliever 9 years ago
If we could get free energy prices of everything will surely drop.
Comment icon #13 Posted by kobolds 9 years ago
the name for that technology is called ZPM (zero point module)
Comment icon #14 Posted by FlyingAngel 9 years ago
If we could get free energy prices of everything will surely drop. There are still organizations that wont let that happen. If have too much money people will eventually get lazy, stop working that price will go up again
Comment icon #15 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 9 years ago
the name for that technology is called ZPM (zero point module) You do hopefully know that the Zero Point Module is a ficticious device from the Startgate series, right ? General O'Neill and Colonel Carter we miss you.
Comment icon #16 Posted by TheGreatBeliever 9 years ago
1454601521[/url'' post='5763446']There are still organizations that wont let that happen. If have too much money people will eventually get lazy, stop working that price will go up again 1454601521' post='5763446']There are still organizations that wont let that happen. If have too much money people will eventually get lazy, stop working that price will go up again Another word is selfishness..
Comment icon #17 Posted by XenoFish 9 years ago
Wouldn't the problem of a black hole be that it will devour everything. Even if we could create one or even do a dyson sphere near one, it would eat it. Right? I've kinda wonder that mini black holes are what causes stars and planets to form. Just a thought.
Comment icon #18 Posted by qxcontinuum 9 years ago
a mountain size? i thought only one with a few centimeters in diameter it will be enough
Comment icon #19 Posted by crandles57 9 years ago
a mountain size? i thought only one with a few centimeters in diameter it will be enough Check what he said: However, there could be much smaller mini black holes with the mass of say, a mountain. A mountain-sized black hole would give off X-rays and gamma rays, at a rate of about 10 million megawatts, enough to power the world's electricity supply. So mountain size meant mountain mass size (not radius of event horizon type size). Mass of Earth black hole would I believe have a radius of approx 8mm so mountain mass size would presumably have an event horizon radius well under a mm.


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