A common use for time dilation in science fiction is for a ship moving at speeds close to the speeds of light and for those on the ship the journey takes less time than for those observing at another location, so those on the ship have aged less in relation to the others.

The space within the ergosphere the area just outside of the event horizon is said to be an area where space is dragged due to the rotating black hole and time dilation exists. It is believed that known materials could withstand the gravitational forces in this area and as long as the black hole isnt feeding there should be no high energy rays and particles to damage something.

There is a proposed method of using the ergosphere to create energy using the Penrose process but it is the time dilation uses I am interested in for this question.

If a very advanced civilization was able to manipulate black holes for their own purposes, including the Penrose process and similar ideas to use the black holes rotation to create more energy, they could experiment with the time dilation, maybe put computers in there to run experiments under those conditions or possibly find other uses for that space.

Using the space to age slower has been done in science fiction before and I cant really think what experiment or manufacturing process or something else would benefit from being done in a space that essentially experiences less time, If they experienced more time than the outside observers then it would be great for tasks that take a long time but it isn't so i am struggling to find other uses for the time dilation.

Are there any other uses than the ones I mentioned for the time dilation space in the ergosphere that an advanced civilization would benefit from?


2 Answers 2


Well, maybe they're waiting for something.

Perhaps this civilization has predicted an important event will occur in a hundred trillion years that merits scientific attention, but they realize that they probably won't exist in a hundred trillion subjective years due to internal conflict, genetic breakdown, sheer boredom, or whatever other things trip up interstellar civilizations. Or it could be that their civilization will simply have diverged so much that they won't be interested in the event anymore. So a research team parks themselves around the black hole, where only a few years seem to pass for them (short enough that they can stay unified and committed to the goal). Once the time's up, they leave and watch the event unfold.

If computation is important, a civilization will want to get as much mileage out of its computers as possible, so waiting until the CMB is colder and computations are more efficient is also an option. (Or maybe it isn't.) Maybe some other essential process requires a massive project (too big to refrigerate) built within a universe much colder than it is now. In either case, sending a team there is a way to ensure they will still be committed and won't have changed their minds after so absurdly long a time.

  • $\begingroup$ Thats an interesting idea to want to only build those structures after a long time by those waiting in there, i have heard ideas about running simulated minds on matroshka type structures during the black hole era. Thats a good idea too, to store motivated people in there for later or you could store anyone in there for what ever reason. $\endgroup$
    – user78658
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 0:04

I'm entertaining it being used in prisons. Imagine a prison planet where time flows at half the rate of the outside universe, which means that a prison break that takes 1 year to plan and execute will be like 2 years for the outside universe.


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