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Scientists believe that it may be possible to detected advanced alien civilizations that use spaceships powered by miniaturized black holes using gamma-ray telescopes.

The idea of using a black hole to power a starship might seem wild, but it has some basis in science. Black holes emit radiation when they consume matter, known as Hawking radiation, and this could serve as fuel for future space ships, according to some.

Building off this idea, a new paper published [PDF] on the preprint server Arxiv suggests that scientists could use existing telescopes to detect the gamma ray output of these starships and thereby detect alien civilizations, according to a report in Universe Today.

Dr. Louis Crane, a mathematician at Kansas State University, authored the paper as well as an earlier paper [PDF] exploring the possibility of black hole-based propulsion.

She told Universe Today in an email that, “An advanced civilization would want to harness a microscopic black hole because it could throw in matter and get out energy. It would be the ultimate energy source. In particular, it could propel a starship large enough to be shielded to relativistic velocities. None of the starship concepts NASA studied turned out to be viable… It might be the only possibility.”

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Category: Science