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.