Researchers Suggest Traversable Wormholes May Be Possible After All
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Until recently, scientists were more likely to say wormholes in space and time were impossible or dangerous at the least. Often, they discounted intergalactic shortcuts and spacetime portals as nothing more than a convenient science fiction plot device.
For example, we recently shared the facts about a highly-popular time portal, the Craigh na Dun standing stones in the Outlander series. It’s a sort of wormhole, allowing people to pass through not only space but time.
If people could enter a traversable wormhole, then researchers believed the gravitational forces encountered would quickly kill you. If you entered, you might face a miserable death, not turn up in the Scottish Highlands. So, rather than ending in a passionate romance with a man in a kilt, the journey would end within moments. Bummer.
Black Holes and White Holes
For decades there has been much speculation about wormholes, and not just in science fiction. According to Space’s Paul Sutter, it all started when “physicist Ludwig Flamm, and later Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen, realized that black holes can be ‘extended.'”
American physicist John Wheeler coined the expression “wormhole” in 1957. Years before, in 1916, Austrian physicist Flamm reviewed Karl Schwarzschild’s solution to Einstein’s field equations and reports The Physics of the Universe. That’s when the concept arose as a solution to Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity equations.
Working out extremely complex equations related to general relativity led to new concepts of black holes and white holes. A white hole is the theoretical time reversal of a black hole. So, while a black hole acts like a vacuum, a white hole acts as the reverse, ejecting matter from an event horizon. Notably, the phenomena might be what started the universe with the Big Bang.
Death by Wormhole
Flamm noticed that the wormhole could connect the same or two different universes. Then, Einstein explored the concept further with Nathan Rosen, arriving at the famous “Einstein-Rosen bridge.”
“Whereas a black hole’s event horizon marks a region of space that once you enter, you can’t leave, it’s impossible to enter a white hole’s horizon, although anything already in there can escape,” wrote Sutter.
According to the math, black holes could connect to symbiotic white holes and thus create a wormhole.
“That same mathematical machinery delivers a bonus, too: All black holes would be naturally ‘connected’ to white holes via their singularities, making a tunnel through space. Woohoo, wormhole, here we go!”
As of yet, there’s no evidence for white holes, and if they did exist even for a moment, they might be highly unstable. Therefore, one who managed to get inside could expect “death by wormhole.”
However, new research suggests black holes might not be all doom and gloom after all.
New Research Opens the Wormhole
Now, new research is reopening the wormholes, suggesting that humans could safely travel through them after all.
According to Popular Mechanics:
“One of the main arguments against the existence of wormholes suggests the portal’s narrowest part, or neck, would likely collapse under the weight of its own gravity. Some theorists say one way to sidestep this issue and prevent gravitational collapse would be to fill the wormhole with an exotic form of matter that has negative mass. But this solution isn’t a cosmological silver bullet—such a form of matter is purely theoretical.”
Perhaps, an exotic form of matter that has yet to be discovered could keep the wormhole stable? If scientists discovered matter with a negative mass, it could change everything.
“Like a strange, golden treasure chest, finding negative matter in the universe would make even the wildest science fiction ideas a possibility,” writes Ella Alderson for Medium. “It would make fickle, snaking wormholes traversable, power warp drives to propel humans forward at remarkable speeds.”
Maybe, we’re closer to the discovery of negative matter than we think?
See more about white holes from BRIGHT SIDE:
Recently, three international researchers led by Jose Blázquez-Salcedo of Madrid’s Complutense University came up with new wormhole possibilities.
They scaled wormholes down the microscopic level and created theoretical models. At the micro-level, they suggest manipulating the mass and charge of subatomic particles called fermions could keep a wormhole open. However, it would require a perfect balance between the fermions’ charge and the contents of the black hole.
“This would only work if the ratio of the total charge of the fermions to the total mass of everything inside the wormhole is greater than the practical limit set by black holes,” wrote Jennifer Leman.
Thus, if scientists can find a way to tweak subatomic particles precisely, then a wormhole may temporarily remain open.
Extremely Clean Wormholes?
Then, the two other researchers took the concept further, suggesting a wormhole large enough for humans just might work. They suggest creating a wormhole formed in five-dimensional spacetime that could be survivable. However, if stray dust or particles also entered the wormhole, the tunnel could collapse. Then, once again, we have the dreaded death by wormhole.
Although the team suggests it’s possible, it would take a very brave soul to venture inside. And, there’s the problem that they don’t yet know how to create the wormhole. However, the payoff of finding out how to do it could mean you could travel anywhere – in under a second.
Sadly, the same time savings would not apply to those you left back home. For them, your split-second journey across the galaxy would take thousands of years. Thus, it’s an extreme case of time dilation, like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle or the Hindu epics from 2,400 years ago.
See Neil deGrasse Tyson discuss wormholes with comic co-host Chuck Nice via StarTalk below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube/ BRIGHT SIDE