SciFi utilization of mini-black holes?

  • #1
990
342

Main Question or Discussion Point

Okay, I have to admit that this was my first encounter with the term "black hole", c. 1964.

In the story I read a mini black hole (MBH) somehow made it to Earth was was devouring ... Montana? ... and there were fears that it would eventually swallow the whole (not "hole") world. There were various schemes proposed to deal with it, but one guy came forward and said he'd solve the problem for free if he could be granted sole ownership of the thing and any benefits accrued from it. The powers that be gave him the rights based on performance and he spent a lot of money encapsulating it, preventing further erosion of the planet.

So how did this benefit him financially? The last scene in the story had scientists and industry lining up to attach their devices to the containment unit. When the right valves were opened the air was sucked out of the machines and a practically perfect vacuum was produced. Apparently there was quite a line waiting their turn.

So, what's your favorite "creative" use of black holes in scifi stories?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,643
2,115
In one of Larry Niven's stories, a scientist found a small black hole and started dropping highly ionized material into it until it had built up a significant charge. Then he was able to wield it with a giant electromagnet, and use it as a nasty weapon, swallowing passing ships whole without a trace.
 
  • #3
1,700
237
In theory a small black hole could turn matter completely into Hawking Radiation. The smaller the black hole the higher the output. That could be a very efficient energy source. This idea was used in Star Trek: The Romulan spaceships are powered with artificial singularities.
 
  • #4
990
342
"Event Horizon" used a black hole, IIRC. I understand that's still in beta?
 
  • #5
Janus
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
3,493
1,230
In one of Larry Niven's stories, a scientist found a small black hole and started dropping highly ionized material into it until it had built up a significant charge. Then he was able to wield it with a giant electromagnet, and use it as a nasty weapon, swallowing passing ships whole without a trace.
A part of the plot of this story revolved around how Niven's hyperspace drive worked. Ship that tried to use hyperdrive while too deep in a gravity well would disappear without a trace. The antagonist is this story had learned that the mini black hole crated a sharp enough gravity gradient to cause just the hyperdrive engine to vanish, dropping the rest of the ship back into normal space and crippling it so that he could pillage it before dumping the remains into the black hole.

Niven also used the idea of the quantum black hole in another story which involved the discovery of an abandoned extraterrestrial base on Mars. One of the pieces of equipment left behind was thought to be a gravitational wave generator which used a micro black hole.
 
  • #6
EnumaElish
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,304
124
Interstellar the movie...
 
  • #7
990
342
Interstellar the movie...
Good call. I have yet to watch that movie with the captions on so I can understand everything they say.

BTW, with regard to "Event Horizon", it just came up on NetFlix, so I've giving it another run. One good howler right at the start: "When the ion engine kicks in you'll be experiencing 30 G's." Yikes! Even Scotty would be impressed!
 
  • #8
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,643
2,115
One good howler right at the start: "When the ion engine kicks in you'll be experiencing 30 G's." Yikes! Even Scotty would be impressed!
Heh. "But don't worry, it'll only be the weight of two mid-sized cars pressing down on the air-filled compressible cavity that -is- was your lungs."
 
  • #9
990
342
Heh. "But don't worry, it'll only be the weight of two mid-sized cars pressing down on the air-filled compressible cavity that -is- was your lungs."
I just want an ion engine that can kick it at 30 g. from the start up. The Hermes could have been back to Mars in mumble days.
 
  • #10
663
312
In one of Larry Niven's stories, a scientist found a small black hole and started dropping highly ionized material into it until it had built up a significant charge. Then he was able to wield it with a giant electromagnet, and use it as a nasty weapon, swallowing passing ships whole without a trace.

Ha ha ha! They laughed at my theories. Now they tremble before the might of my XO Ray!
 
  • #11
236
329
In Thor 2 they seemed to have grenades of a sort that crushed the target down into an infinitesimal point.
 
  • #12
990
342
In Thor 2 they seemed to have grenades of a sort that crushed the target down into an infinitesimal point.
I was wondering about them. They could be sending the items in the affected area into another space/time?
 
  • #13
EnumaElish
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,304
124
In the 2009 Star Trek movie, the renegade Romulan mining vessel from the future has a barrel of something called red matter. If a tiny drop is injected into a planet's core it would cause the planet to implode, very much like creating a black hole at the planet's center.

Incidentally and tangentially, Federation ships are equipped with gravitational sensors, I'm guessing like LIGO turned into a hand-held device. Or a smart phone app.
 
  • #14
236
329
I was wondering about them. They could be sending the items in the affected area into another space/time?
The impression I got from the effect they used was that the target was physically crushed rather than transported. Maybe the debris ended up in another dimension? They never really explained the nature of that weapon in detail.
 
  • #15
317
121
In Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, some of the antagonists' ships were armed with "point singularity projectors" that fired tiny black holes at the protagonists' ships.
 
  • #16
990
342
In Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, some of the antagonists' ships were armed with "point singularity projectors" that fired tiny black holes at the protagonists' ships.
I just pictured a Yosemite Sam-type character loading a blunderbuss with a mini-black hole and firing it at Bugs' space ship.

I gotta lay off the tequila.
 
  • #17
317
121
I just pictured a Yosemite Sam-type character loading a blunderbuss with a mini-black hole and firing it at Bugs' space ship.

I gotta lay off the tequila.
Well, Andromeda was very much on the "space fantasy" side of the spectrum, so.... Basically, your mental picture is more explanatory than the show, since the show wisely didn't even try to explain most of the technology. They mostly took a "yup, this is happening" approach.
 
  • #18
990
342
Well, Andromeda was very much on the "space fantasy" side of the spectrum, so.... Basically, your mental picture is more explanatory than the show, since the show wisely didn't even try to explain most of the technology. They mostly took a "yup, this is happening" approach.
"And it came to pass that in the land of Nod a sciency person did discover a new principle. And he looked upon it and it was good."
 
  • #19
Janus
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
3,493
1,230
I just pictured a Yosemite Sam-type character loading a blunderbuss with a mini-black hole and firing it at Bugs' space ship.

I gotta lay off the tequila.
Maybe he could defend himself with this:
ddgun.jpg


Of course, it is just a one-time use weapon.
 
  • #20
ComplexVar89
Gold Member
21
9
Well, Andromeda was very much on the "space fantasy" side of the spectrum, so.... Basically, your mental picture is more explanatory than the show, since the show wisely didn't even try to explain most of the technology. They mostly took a "yup, this is happening" approach.
Unlike its sister show, Star Trek, which tried to explain the tech and ended coming up with a lot of BS.
 
  • #21
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,643
2,115
They would have done OK if they hadn't introduced the transporters back in ToS.
Warp drive is explainable. Transporters are beyond even 24th century tech.
 

Related Threads on SciFi utilization of mini-black holes?

  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
48
Views
7K
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
6K
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
3K
Replies
11
Views
5K
Replies
16
Views
485
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
5K
Top