MAR 24, 2019 09:32 AM PDT

Could We Power a Spacecraft with a Kugelblitz?

Scientists are always looking for new and efficient ways of powering spacecraft, especially those that will travel far into deep space. The goal is to create something that can last a long time while still achieving a useful amount of propulsion and speed, but developing novel propulsion methods isn’t easy.

While there’ve been a lot of fascinating ideas in recent memory, perhaps one of the craziest involves harnessing the power of a kugelblitz (German for ‘ball lightning’), or a type of light-based miniature black hole that emits enough radiation to power a spacecraft for up to five years.

This would be very different from a black hole in the traditional sense, in that it would be very compact and comprised of light; on the other hand, it’s theoretically possible to create a kugelblitz by focusing an insanely-powerful gamma-ray laser at a point in space and then harness its power with a Dyson Sphere.

But again, even this theory isn’t as easy to devise as it sounds. A kugelblitz would be so hot that there’s no telling if a Dyson Sphere of any capacity would be able to contain it. Furthermore, a kugelblitz would be so small that it would eventually decay.

Given the circumstances, it doesn’t seem like the kugelblitz propulsion idea will materialize anytime soon; instead, it resides in the imaginations of theoretical physicists and will remain there until someone makes a significant scientific breakthrough. Still, it’s interesting to delve into these ideas and learn more about them.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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