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The Big Mistake of the Hyperion books says:

The "Big Mistake" was a cataclysmic event thought to have destroyed Old Earth, having been brought about when a team of physicists in Kiev created an artificial black hole in a laboratory, which then plunged to the center of the planet and began consuming it from the inside out

While I know this is science fiction, I do wonder if the author Dan Simmons did some scientific research while writing this part, and reached a conclusion such a thing can happen for real? Or is this purely something from his imagination without any real science behind it?

closed as off-topic by jwodder, beichst, Adamant, Mithrandir, Politank-Z May 23 '17 at 6:19

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    This is a real world science question, which is off-topic here. – Edlothiad May 16 '17 at 13:54
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    You might want to Google "Black Hole" and go from there. Black Holes are real things. A Black Hole would indiscriminately consume our entire Solar System. There's a Supermassive Black Hole (Yay, Muse) at the centre of our Galaxy. If a Scientist ever created one capable of sustaining its own mass, it would cause a heck of a lot of problems. But we wouldn't have to worry about those problems, because we'd all be dead and turned into spaghetti. – DisturbedNeo May 16 '17 at 13:59
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    Short answer - it'd take something very very heavy to create a black hole that would live long enough to consume Earth. It'd probably be easier, energy-wise, to blow the planet up. [citations needed] (Also, +1 for Muse, @DisturbedNeo) – Gallifreyan May 16 '17 at 14:26
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    As I understand it, the trick with black holes is that they're really dense. You'd need a lot of mass (thousands of tons) to even make it last a few hours, and even then it'll be smaller than an atom. Such a black hole might fall into the Earth, consuming everything it hits, and still not eat enough to sustain itself. See this answer on Worldbuilding. – DaaaahWhoosh May 16 '17 at 14:33
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    @Molag done, thanks. – Shadow Wizard May 16 '17 at 14:39
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It is most likely conjecture from an incomplete understanding of black holes at the time. Black holes consuming planets is a plot device as far back Larry Niven's "Hole Man" in 1975.

Hawking Radiation, the process by which low mass black holes evaporate, was an early theory by Steven Hawking in 1973, but it hadn't really entered public consciousness by that time. Up until recently, around 2010 when Empirical evidence of Hawking radiation was believed to be observed, black holes were seen as unstoppable consumers of matter, with no possible escape. Even the prospect of turning on the Large Hadron Collider, which could presumably create microscopic black holes, became a media sensation about the dangers of creating Earth-consuming black holes.

So is there scientific basis? No. Was it a reasonable conjecture at the time? Yes.

  • For the record, the 2010 "observation" was of a process thought to be analogous to Hawking radiation, not actually of Hawking radiation proper. The popular news tended to blur over (or outright ignore) the difference. – Harry Johnston May 17 '17 at 1:15

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