OK. Bad pun, but I just love the concept. You manufacture a small black hole – concentrating a tremendous amount of energy into a small volume with something like a giant gamma-ray laser. Just forget for now the small issue of the little black hole escaping and say falling into the core of your sun. You end up with a black hole no bigger than an atomic nucleus, which happens to weight around 1 million tonnes.
Then you manoeuvre this little miracle into the focal range of a parabolic mirror with your ACME black hole transporter – hey presto Star Drive. Thanks to the calculations of our wheelchair bound friend Dr Hawking, we know that this little sucker will release a continuous stream of Hawking radiation – a whole swag of different sub-atomic particles with high energy, particularly gamma ray photons. These particles will be focused by the parabolic mirror into a parallel beam, shooting out of the back of the starship driving it forward.
The starship is massively heavy at the outset – one million tonnes plus infrastructure – but that energy should be sufficient to accelerate it to near the speed of light within a few decades. Close enough to the magic ‘C’ that the magic of relativity comes to the rescue of the aging star-traveller. Time would slow down at this speed to such an extent that it might be possible to travel 2.5 million light years within a human lifetime. My organic, gravity-bound brain boggles.
What to do when we get there and our little black-hole has shrunk to nothing? Easy. Just make another one. Better take your friends with you though. Your whole civilisation might be extinct by the time you get back.
What’s your favourite star-drive concept? (No FTL cheats!)