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If you have ever seen science fiction movies, you have probably wondered what kind of fuel do they use to power those large spacecrafts making them capable of going in speeds greater than the speed of light? Well, if we were to create one today, scientists say that the main source of fuel would be the kugelblitz black holes.
What are these black holes and what makes them capable of powering the future?
As far as we know, most black holes are made from a tremendous amount of matter being concentrated in a very tightly packed space. In theory, though, this doesn’t have to be the case. Einstein’s formula E = mc2 tells us that energy is equivalent to matter times the speed of light squared. In regard to making black holes, this has three important implications for us: mass and energy are equivalent, mass has a tremendous amount of energy locked away inside of itself, and gravity treats mass and energy the same.
Here’s where the kugelblitz comes in. German for "ball lightning," a kugelblitz is a black hole made from light rather than matter. By light, we mean any kind of radiation, really. Although light has no mass, it does have energy. Since gravity treats mass and energy the same, in theory, we can focus enough radiation into a tiny space and produce an event horizon, an area in space so densely packed (with either matter or energy) that nothing can escape.
(Image credit: NASA via Big Think)