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  • What would happen

  • if you put a couple of physicists in a room

  • with a rope, a box

  • and a black hole?

  • They might come up with a plan

  • to power the Earth for centuries.

  • This is WHAT IF,

  • and here's what would happen

  • if we could harness the energy of a black hole.

  • Black holes aren't something you come across every day.

  • To make a black hole of your own,

  • you'd have to squeeze a star ten times bigger than our Sun

  • into a sphere the diameter of New York City.

  • Black holes are very dense and have enormous mass.

  • And as we know from a famous Albert Einstein equation,

  • everything that has mass

  • also has energy.

  • In the case of a black hole,

  • we're talking a whole lot of energy.

  • Theoretically, we could collect all that power

  • without any super-advanced new tech.

  • And if we did, we'd have access

  • to more energy than we'd know what to do with.

  • But of course, it's not all that easy.

  • What makes black holes such an attractive energy source?

  • It's their high energy conversion rate.

  • Let's do some math.

  • Take a 3 kg (6.6 lb) kitten

  • and multiply his mass

  • by the speed of light squared.

  • You'll see that the energy contained within this one little kitty

  • is enough to power up

  • 6.4 million American homes for a year.

  • But you could never extract all that energy from a cat.

  • The best energy producers we have right now -

  • nuclear fission and nuclear fusion -

  • only gather 0.08 and 0.7 percent of the potential energy in mass.

  • Black holes are a different story.

  • Their energy conversion rate sits around the 40 percent mark.

  • But finding a black hole wouldn't be easy.

  • With today's available technology,

  • even getting into the neighborhood of a black hole

  • would take you about 12 million years.

  • Let's fast-forward and assume that we've found a black hole nearby.

  • How would we go about getting the most out of it?

  • We could try throwing stuff into the black hole.

  • The gravitational pull of a black hole

  • would cause anything dropped into it to speed up

  • and release energy as it went.

  • Or we could drop things in the accretion disc of a black hole,

  • where all the dust particles are caught in its orbit.

  • From there we'd be collecting energy in the form of radiation -

  • something known as the Penrose process.

  • Some great minds have come up with a theory that

  • a box designed to collect energy

  • could be sent from a safe distant point via a rope

  • to a location close a black hole's event horizon,

  • filling with radiation in the process.

  • One problem here is ensuring that the box and the rope

  • don't get sucked into the hole.

  • According to some calculations,

  • the box suitable for this task

  • could only be the size of bacteria so that the rope could still support it.

  • We might as well dip "strings" right into the event horizon

  • and drain a black hole completely dry.

  • It would take a very long time, but...

  • once it's done, the most ambitious energy dreams would come true.

  • We could abandon our power plants

  • and finally stop polluting the planet.

  • We could fuel up our rockets and go explore outer space.

  • We'd start building megastructures in space.

  • The things we could do with unlimited energy...

  • But first, we'd need to spend millions of years

  • traveling to a suitable black hole.

  • That is, unless we could develop a warp drive technology to speed things up.

  • But that's a story for another WHAT IF.

What would happen


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如果我們能利用黑洞的能量呢? (What If We Could Harness the Energy of a Black Hole?)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日