Scientists believe that there’s a chance that aliens are tapping into the power of black holes, and that is the way they can potentially detect them.
The energy-harvesting tech may form traces outside a spinning black hole’s event horizon (the limit beyond which the black hole’s gravitational pull is too strong for energy and matter to escape).
The process may explain why some flares of plasma (a white-hot form of charged gas) can be observed now and then, a study from the journal Physical Review D suggests.
And though it’s only an SF idea currently, the closest black hole to our planet is approximately one thousand light-years away, which is way too far for humans to explore physically.
However, if astrophysicists will ever figure out a way to tap into those giant sources of energy, rotating black holes would become a nearly limitless energy source for civilizations that are advanced enough to secure that power.
Astrophysicist Luca Comisso, member of the Columbia University in New York, and co-author of the study, stated that the following step is figuring out how energy extraction from black holes can be observed by distant observers (like space telescopes).
Achieving that would allow scientists to observe distant alien civilizations’ behaviour potentially, Comisso said in an interview with Live Science.
“We have only done physics in this paper. […] But I am now working with a colleague of mine to apply this to reality, to look for civilizations, to try to see what kind of signal you would need to look for,” he added.
For the moment, it’s all a far-fetched idea, but if it proves right and scientists manage to build the necessary technology, it may be the next big breakthrough in space exploration.