Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Black Holes and Aliens

I was watching The Ark of Truth (surprise, surprise, I'm a Stargate SG-1 fan), and contemplating the super-gate that is powered by a black hole that the Ori use to travel from their galaxy to ours and while traveling such a distance by an artificially produced wormhole may be something that is highly improbable, it did get me to thinking about the power of black holes and that maybe, just maybe, that is one place to go looking for aliens.

Let me explain. I am not saying black holes can be a natural habitat for some alien species. But black holes do give off immense energy. Not all matter that falls into a black hole is swallowed up, never to be seen again. No, a fair amount of it is given off by the matter as it is ripped apart before it gets to the event horizon (from which there is no return). Much of it streams out in a spiral along an axis.

Such unimaginable power sources just beg to be used / tapped into. OK, at least by species with similar outlook on power as humans. Some types of research may require incredible energies - our particle accelerators are but one example of this. Some explorations of our universe can only happen at high energies. And if some methods of interstellar travel, methods deemed impossible by us at the moment, like artificial wormholes, can only happen with great infusion of power, then black holes may be highly sought after. So maybe that's one place some aliens will not be able to resist, and so one place we may find them.

Of course, the aliens need to live somewhat nearby a black hole - close enough that even a very long journey is worth the effort and sacrifice (may be one way trips at first) to first get near one, study it, learn how to use it, and then invent and construct whatever device is needed to extract/capture the energy given off by in-falling matter. And what if other aliens have the same idea?

OK, so not very probable. But that's one of the fun things about speculation - don't need to stay only in the very probable.


Tory said...

I'm starting to think that any ETs that are from any "type III" civilization or above would perhaps use black holes as if they were a giant gas station......maybe that's how they synthesize those super heavy elements they run their gravity generators on?

Mr. David Michael Merchant said...

That is a possibility. I've seen that hypothesis discussed before - and it makes a certain kind of sense to it. If true, then one way to find ETs is to investigate black holes - like observing an oasis in a desert (since most caravans will make it a point to visit the oasis during their long treks).

Anonymous said...

Why should energy use be a measure of technological advancement? Are energy saving machines technologically inferior to their energy wasting counterparts? No. Tuus the Kardashev scale is nonsense.

Mr. David Michael Merchant said...

Maybe the thinking comes from observing nature - nature tends to favor energy conservation ("tends" being the operative word). This tendency is widespread and so it is not unreasonable to think that it may be a tendency for other worlds; that is, that other beings would work toward energy use in their advancements in technology. Now it is true that when you insert sentient beings into the equation, all bets may be off.

So, while we cannot use ourselves as a template for all other beings, we also cannot just disregard ourselves as an example for at least some other beings. In a very large (if not infinite) universe, there will be others that, if not like us, close enough that we can see parallels.

Martin J Sallberg said...

String theory (and all other theories involving hidden dimensions)
predict that gravity and electromagnetism unify in hidden
dimensions and that the hidden dimensions are indetectible because of
their small size. It does also predict that sufficiently short-waved
photons, with wavelengths shorter than the size of the hidden
dimensions, can enter them. Producing ultra-short photons can thus
manipulate gravity, with revolutionizing space travel applications such
as cheap anti-gravity launches. The
problem that it would require high energy can be practically solved by
concentrating several laser beams on a nanoparticle, heating it to
locally extreme temperatures. An Alcubierre metric can be created by
ejecting multiple nanoparticles from the craft and then beam perfectly
timed laser beams on them (fire at the most distant first so that they are
hit simultaneously), so each nanoparticle contributes a slower than
light effect but together add up to faster than light, creating no discrete
event horizon and thus no Hawking radiation.

Martin J Sallberg said...

Innovations for better space travel.

Casimir effect is traditionally demonstrated by placing two extremely thin plates extremely close
to each other (mere micrometers apart) and letting them spontaneously slam together. But that
they slam together destroys the practical usefulness. To use Casimir effect practically, such as
tapping vacuum energy or manipulating the vacuum itself, it is necessary to keep the Casimir
effect Casimir. Therefore the plates should either be magnetized in such a way that they repel
each other or be held on one or two sides mechanically in a way that leaves the space between
them free. Another possibility is to use solid objects honeycombed with microholes or
microchannels instead of plates. It is also possible to use cylinders inside cylinders, but that
would have to be many cylinders inside one another to have a strong effect (lots of layers) The
resulting stable Casimir device can be used practically, such as for cheap spacelaunches. It is also possible to simply place capacitors in a vacuum.