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New NASA black hole simulation video is equally terrifying and mesmerizing

Published May 7th, 2024 7:08PM EDT
black hole in space, man-made black hole could teach us more about black holes
Image: unlimit3d / Adobe

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If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like to fall into a black hole, then NASA’s new black hole simulation is sure to mesmerize you. The simulation shows what happens as the viewer approaches the black hole, eventually falling into the “point of no return.”

You can see the video for yourself below. It was created using the Discover supercomputer at NASA’s Center for Climate Simulation. This particular version also allows viewers to explore the experience in a full 360 degrees, which is exceptionally cool, if not a little terrifying.

NASA says that it did simplify things a little when making its black hole simulation. Most notably, it removed rotation from the equation. This allowed the simulation to focus on the black hole itself and allowed them to cut down on the complex calculations that would have been needed otherwise.

The black hole in the simulation is meant to be similar to the supermassive black hole found near the center of the Milky Way. With 4.3 million times the mass of our Sun, the black hole effectively bends space around it.

NASA says that its black hole simulation took around five days to complete and only ran on around 0.3 percent of Discover’s 129,000 processors. In that time, it generated roughly 10 terabytes of data, roughly half the estimated text content in the Library of Congress.

Generating a simulation of this magnitude would have taken around a decade on a standard laptop, NASA claims. That’s pretty insane to think about and only makes the mesmerizing video even more impressive. It’s also slightly terrifying, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit queasy moving around the viewing camera.

I don’t think I’d ever want actually to imagine falling into a black hole. But if you’re curious, the video is definitely worth checking out.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.