Halo Drive: Black holes to accelerate interstellar craft to near-LIGHT SPEED

Black holes are spacetime regions exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing – even light — can escape. Our understanding about black holes is beginning to grow, following LIGO’s recent detection of gravitational waves – providing the first direct evidence that black holes exist. And a Columbia University astrophysicist believes black holes offer an unprecedented opportunity for mankind to explore the solar system at near-light speed – and aliens may already be harnessing their power.

British scientist Professor David Kipping explains his Halo Theory’s purpose, telling Express.co.uk: “It is quite possible an advanced alien civilisation could be possibly exploiting this interstellar highway system.

“We should be thinking how we can detect that and how we might oneway jump on board the system.”

And this Halo Theory would attempt to harnessing black holes’ incomprehensible power.

“We would fire a beam of light straight at a moving black hole – it does have to be moving for this trick to work.

“If you chose just the right angle of the black hole – if you hit the event horizon, you will fall into it.

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“But if you go into the side of it, you will skim around the outside, the beam of light will come back at you, just like a mirror.

“The analogy I like to use is imagine a physical wall coming towards you and you throw a ping pong ball at it, the ball bounces back faster, because it is coming towards you.”

And because light cannot travel any faster than light speed, it gains energy in a different way.

Professor Kipping said: “This light ends up doing two things: the laser beam can give a spacecraft a slight push when its fired and when the laser returns it gives another push when it hits you.

“The laser beam also returns with more energy that you put into it, so you can recharge your batteries.”

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There is a real need to reach these extreme speeds because the galaxy is so huge.

The solar system is 100,000 light years in radius, so it is necessary if you want to to travel between the stars.

Even the nearest star is four light years distance, so even with the fastest rocket, it would take 20,000 - 30,000 years to reach.

Professor Kipping explains: “We would like interstellar travel to take centuries-long time scales at least, maybe even decades time scales.

“And if you want to do that, you will have to get close to the speed of light – and the Halo Theory provides a means of achieving that.

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“If you want to reach those speeds without a Halo Drive, it will cost huge amounts of energy.

“So why not get that astronomical energy from an astronomical body?”

The British scientist believes an advanced civilisation could utilise the galaxy’s resources to propel them long distances.

“And the argument here is an advanced alien civilisation could be using the roughly 10 million black holes in the Milky Way.

“So these black hole could represent way points, like a highway system, and these are also free travel, but you would have to pay the one-time fee to get to the first black hole.”

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However the scientist thinks it is unlikely for his Halo Theory to be realised in his lifetime.

“I want to promote the idea in my scientific colleagues that we should be thinking of using stars and our Sun as a means of achieving the kinds of energy that we need.

“It is very difficult to build anything in the near future that could possibly achieve the energy levels we are talking about here.

“But stars naturally achieve that.”

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