What would happen if you were swallowed by a black hole?

In looking through the archives, I found Cecil made a prediction based on predictions by astronomers that life on earth will die as a result of the sun going through the red giant phase. Quote: “Life As We Know It will be extinguished during the Red Giant Stage …, which most stars go through.”
Now, we know that predictions are very hard to make accurately, especially in regard to the future, but this prediction is harmful, as it promotes a fatalistic view of the future. It seems to say it doesn’t matter what we do, because nothing can be done to save our future.
This is absolutely wrong! The red giant phase of our star aging is just an engineering problem. And the future is billions of years in the future. I admit, its a big engineering problem, but its a fairly clear one. And we have a couple of billion years to figure it out!
Put a horse in a field, and in a year, you will still have a horse in a field. Put a man in a field, and in a year there is no limit to what can happen in that field.
If we let the sun take its “natural” course, then probably it will progress through the red giant stage. But we don’t have to. We can fix it.
Actually, we will probably first discern intelligent extraterrestrial life by finding a star that is being fixed by its population and wondering what is going on. And that’s my prediction.

Link to the article referred.
What would happen if you were swallowed by a black hole?

I don’t think that sentient beeings beneath the deity level could reverse the laws of physics that make stars become red giants when their supply of hydrogen falls.
But if our civilazation lasts time enough, I am sure that, before the Sun becomes a red giant, we will be able to transfer the entire Earth’s population to a suitable planet orbiting another star.

There is no known physical porcess that reverse such an advanced stage in a stars evolution. Appealing to unknown and incomprehensibly powerful future technology does not necessarily lead to a likely scenario, infact I would say it is highly unlikely.

Any civilization that has the technology to ‘fix’ a star most likely has the technology to move to a more amenable star/planet, which would be a lot easier.

For example, we have the technology to desalinize salt water, but in most cases, it’s still easier to ship or pipe (or aqueduct) or drill for fresh water over long distances; or, simple to move to where the fresh water is.

Peace.

“My sun’s broke, can you fix it?”

I doubt our species will last that long to have any part in the process.

Actually, life as we know it will likely be extinguished long before the sun’s Red Giant stage (approx. 5.5 billion years from now). The sun is growing warmer, very gradually but steadily, and in about 2 to 3 billion years will be hot enough to turn our oceans into vapor. At that point pretty much everything above bacteria in earth’s great Menagerie is well nigh doomed.

To prolong the sun’s life would require slurping up (preferably with that exact sound effect) all the “waste” helium that’s been accumulating deep in the core, which gets in the way of the fusing hydrogen. But you also have to keep the sun’s mass more or less the same, in order for it to radiate with the same luminosity and spectral distribution on which earth’s life critically depends. That requires adding to the sun an equal amount of hydrogen to replace the removed helium.

Undoubtedly there must be other difficulties I’m overlooking. But these are the big two that occur to me offhand.

Forgetting for the moment how you would achieve any of this, the amount of new hydrogen (and waste helium) we’re talking about is, to put it meekly, huge. More than planet-sized. In fact, though I don’t have my astronomy references handy to check, I doubt the rest of the solar system combined has enough hydrogen to make even a dent in the problem. We would have to go elsewhere in the galaxy to gather it. And by the time you’re prepared to do that, you might as well just move to another star system, leaving the sun and earth to their natural fates (as Sérgio suggested).

There may be no known physical process to reverse the progress of the sun thru the main sequence, but there are known processes that would allow the star to remain useful to us. Namely, a Dyson Sphere.

If we enclosed Sol in a sphere in which the inside was a vast and continuous array of efficient energy converters, and the thermal energy divereted to specific useful puposes, and eventually radiated out into space on the outside, preferably at specific radiator sites, then there would be little risk of extinction.

Then, of course, if we became that adept at engineering, we would most likely be settled around other yellow suns with nice cozy planets, and Earth would be an archeological site.

But to say that “there are no known engineering solutions” is simplistic – at the end of the nineteenth century, there were no known solutions to the problem of heavier than air flight. But within 20 years, aircraft were being adapted to warfare, which usually marks the “arrival” of an engineering solution.

This solution would not prevent Sol to become a red giant, it would only allow the diversion of it’s energy to some useful means, thus saving the giant gas planets from evaporation. This would not save the Earth, whose orbit would be inside the red giant.
The solution proposed by Bytegeist could be feasible, if not pratical. We would need a stelar body to provide the necessary hydrogen. Perhaps we could use the multiple star Alpha Centauri as our hydrogen pantry an our helium waste disposal.
Since Sol won’t become a red giant in the next few billion years, we have time to develop the technology, if our civilization lasts all this time. At that time humanity would have the godlike powers I postulated, even if individual human beeings do not.
Of course, such a feat would not have practical purposes. Humanity would be scattered throughout the Galaxy and our little pebble Earth would have no importance at all. But we could do it for the same reason people climb high mountains: “because they are there”.
I am not optimistic with the possibility of our civilization lasting so long. I explain:
Our solar system is here for the last 4.5 billion years. Life appeared in the first billion years of Earth’s existence. Inteligence evolved 3 billion years later and civilization in the last 10000 years. Space travel has less than 50 years.
Since our Universe has between 13 and 20 billion years and planetary systems seem very common, the conditions for the appearance of life must have existed in several worlds in our Galaxy. The early appearance of life on Earth (in cosmic terms) suggests that life was probably present in the Galaxy much prior to the existence of our solar system. Since inteligence and civilization provide such evolutionary advantages, they are probably inevitable. So technological civilizations have probably evolved billions of years ago. In all this time, this people should be present in all the Galaxy, including our neighborhood.
The fact that we have no evidence of their existence suggests that these civilizations became extinct long ago.
The speed with wat we deplete our natural resources and degrade our environment offers no good expectations that our fate will be different.

You assume that life could have evolved around first-generation stars. It seems unlikely.

But as to this current civilization – I don’t see it lasting more than a few weeks after Al Qaeda gets a nuclear weapon.

I know perfectly well that first-generation stars where composed only of light elements, incapable of forming the complex molecules necessary to life. The heavy elements are formed in the interior of supernovas and scattered by their explosion.
But really massive stars, capable of turning supernovas are very short lived, so one billion years after the Big Bang there where enough heavy elements in the Universe. This occurred several billion years before our solar system formed. So we have still plenty of time for civilizations flourish and probably die, before we were born.

I know perfectly well that first-generation stars where composed only of light elements, incapable of forming the complex molecules necessary to life. The heavy elements are formed in the interior of supernovas and scattered by their explosion.
But really massive stars, capable of turning supernovas are very short lived, so one or two billion years after the Big Bang there where enough heavy elements in the Universe. This occurred several billion years before our solar system formed. So we have still plenty of time for civilizations flourish and probably die, before we were born.

I’m not appealing to an extraordinary physics; just, as has been mentioned, the scale is enormous. My point is, that the futile finality of the event is not, and SHOULD NOT BE considered to be a forgone conclusion. The future is not known. There are options and time to explore them. And, Al Qaeda could get a couple of nukes next week and make the question moot.
I also question the advisability of searching for extraterrestrials. It seems so much like the 15th century American Natives searching to be discovered by the Europeans. Which turned out o so well for them.