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It might seem like an absurd idea, but physicists have long pondered whether black holes could one day be tapped for energy, says Phil Ball. But how possible is it?

magine the scene: highly advanced civilisations get enormous amounts of energy from black holes, be it extracting it from collapsed stars or making artificial mini-holes that power spaceships. How feasible might it actually be to tap these cosmic behemoths for power one day? Clearly, it's far, far beyond current technology – but pesky details like physical restrictions haven’t stopped theoretical physicists from exploring the question.

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