Hollywood science fiction may be reality, according to a recent study. Spacecraft may one day take a shortcut to explore another universe by entering a wormhole. Wormholes are an interstellar time machine, allowing one to travel from Point A to Point B in the distant universe in a short period of time.

Wormholes, it is theorized, can be found in the center of a black hole. They are theoretical tunnels with a finite radius that can shorten space travel. It was thought, based on Einstein’s general relativity theory, that wormholes were unstable and that any object approaching a wormhole would be crushed, collapsing inside of it.

Diego Rubiera-Garcia from the University of Lisbon and lead author says,

In practical terms, we dropped one assumption that holds in general relativity, but there is no priori reason for it to hold in extensions of this theory.

The new study shows that spacecraft can survive the perilous journey. Portuguese researchers modeled how objects like a chair, a scientist and a spacecraft would withstand the trip through a wormhole. They analyzed each object as a physical body approaching a black hole and studied the physical/chemical interactions.

Rendering of time travel through a mysterious wormhole.

The research involved the theory of geodesic lines, curved spacetime where a path is space is followed by a free-falling particle (a particle free of external, non-gravitational forces). Rubiera-Garcia explains,

Each particle of the observer follows a geodesic line determined by the gravitational field. Each geodesic feels a slightly different gravitational force, but the interactions among the constituents of the body could nonetheless sustain the body.

The study shows that “finite forces, no matter how strong, could compensate for the impact of the gravitational wormhole on a physical body traversing it.” Thus, short travel through the universe may be possible.

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Rendering of a wormhole, a portal through space and time.

Francisco Lobo, leader of the Cosmology group at the Institute for Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Lisbon says,

The author’s insights into the concepts of spacetime, singularities and curvature divergences are representative of the fundamental theoretical research carried out at IA, going beyond Einstein’s General Relativity. This research will also probably be important to understand these difficult concepts for the fate of the universe, in a plethora of cosmological models.

Nancy Loyan Schuemann

Nancy Loyan Schuemann is a writer specializing in architecture, safes, profiles, histories and a multi-published fiction and non-fiction author and is Nailah, Middle Eastern dancer.

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