A black hole is a point in space where there is so much gravity that even light cannot escape. The gravity is so intense because a huge amount of matter has been squeezing into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying. Many black holes were created at the beginning of the universe. Is it possible that the large amount of energy produced by black holes could be harnessed by aliens or even future humans for space travel?
Scientists aren’t able to directly see black holes because no light can bounce back off of them to us but they can see the light emitted by objects being sucked into them. A group of researchers led by Tiger Yu-Yang Hsiao in Taiwan believe that if we look for evidence of potential megalithic alien structures called Dyson Spheres we may find evidence that aliens are harnessing the power given out by black holes for their own purposes.
A Dyson Sphere is a hypothetical megastructure that would completely surround a star and to capture a large percentage of its solar output. The concept attempts to explain how aliens who travel far from their own planets could find enough energy to power their civilizations when far from their home infrastructure. Only a tiny fraction of a star’s total energy reaches the surface of any nearby planet so building structures that completely encompass a star would enable a civilization to harvest many times more energy to use in energy intensive activities such as space travel.
Using Dyson Sphere technology to harvest energy from a black hole rather than a star could be much more efficient for an alien civilisation. Hsiao’s team wrote that “Our results suggest that for a stellar-mass black hole…the accretion disc could provide hundreds of times more luminosity than a main sequence star,”. This extra energy would provide potential for supporting very large civilizations as well as making long distance space travel possible.
In theory it should be as easy to spot these Dyson Spheres as it is to spot black holes. Waste heat given off by the process would have to be given off so that the mechanism would not be overwhelmed. This heat would show as an unexpected anomaly in the data. Currently, Hsiao and his team are developing software to search through existing telescope data in search for the tell tale signatures of what could be Dyson Spheres. The outcome of this research may be that we will finally have some indisputable evidence of extraterrestrial activity.
With the almost unfathomable size of space it is almost certain that there are other sentient life forms out there in the universe somewhere. Are they already using technology such as Dyson Spheres on black holes to power their lives or are they still catching up to our level of technology. Only time will tell!