MAR 24, 2019 09:32 AM PDT

Could We Power a Spacecraft with a Kugelblitz?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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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