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Physicists Map Out Plan to Harvest Energy From Black Holes

Scientists from Columbia University says that in the future, a black hole could power an entire off-Earth civilization.

New research suggests that there might be an effective way to take advantage of the energetic particles emanating from black holes. Which could in turn help human colonists keep the lights on. Even though powering future human civilizations in deep space isn’t going to be an easy job, this research seems like a step in the right direction.

This new study is carried out by researchers from Columbia University and Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Chile. And it suggests that we could theoretically extract energy from black holes by harvesting charged plasma particles escaping from the event horizon. (the boundary beyond which no light can escape.)

Luca Comisso, a research scientist at Columbia University, made a statement that plasma particles can be accelerated to negative energies. Which could help extract energy from black holes.


“Black holes are commonly surrounded by a hot ‘soup’ of plasma particles that carry a magnetic field. Our theory shows that when magnetic field lines disconnect and reconnect, in just the right way, they can accelerate plasma particles to negative energies. And large amounts of black hole energy can be extracted.”

says Luca Comisso.

Now according to Comisso, this could serve as an invaluable source of energy when setting up an off-Earth civilization in the future.

It’s important to note that before now, some other researchers also recommended harnessing power from a black hole. Some suggested that an object can be placed into the event horizon of a black hole. Which could make the object charged with negative energy.

This concept is quite similar to that of Comisso and his team’s theory. It builds on the fact that plasma particles would be propelled in two different directions, going both against and with the spin of a black hole. Basically, they feel we could use black holes as a source of energy.

Black holes lose energy by accreting negatively charged particles.

“It is like a person could lose weight by eating candy with negative calories. This might sound weird, but it can happen in a region called the ergosphere. Where the spacetime continuum rotates so fast that every object spins in the same direction as the black hole.”

Comisso said.

READ MORE: Could we harness energy from black holes? [Columbia University]

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