Wormhole: A passage to a new world?
Image credit: scientificamerican.com

Wormhole: A passage to a new world?

In the previous article, we had discussed the black holes and its futuristic possibilities of time travel. If you don’t read it yet then please go through it, the link is here. So in today’s article, we shall discuss the wormholes, a similar kind of concept as blackholes but they are different from black holes. So let’s get started.

What is a wormhole?

A wormhole is a theoretical passage through space-time that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe. The term wormholes first introduced in the theory of general relativity by Einstein. He also told that we can use it as a tunnel for the journey between two universes.

A graphical view of inside a wormhole

But mind that wormholes bring with them the dangers of sudden collapse, high radiation and dangerous contact with exotic matter. And also wormholes are still only in our theory and we couldn’t able to find any wormhole yet in reality.

Types of wormholes

There can be a number of different types of wormholes that may exist, but we managed to categorize into two types.

  1. Traversable Wormholes
  2. Schwarzschild Wormholes

Traversable Wormholes: This is the type of wormhole where human beings could travel through the space-time bridge multiple times, in both directions, without coming to any harm. The exotic matter would be required for this type of wormhole to remain stable and open, as the exotic matter will resist the wormhole’s natural tendency to instantly contract.

Note: If you have seen the Interstellar movie then you must have understood the traversable wormhole. It is shown that how we can use it for the journey between two universes.

Schwarzschild Wormholes: These are only traversable in one direction, and is an example of an Einstein-Rosen bridge. After being compacting to an incredible and finite density at the singularity, you would then perform the same process in reverse at the mouth of the other black hole.

In theory

An Austrian physicist Ludwig Flamm realized that another solution could be possible. He described a “white hole”, a theoretical time reversal of a black hole. Entrances to both black and white holes could be connected by a space-time reservoir.

In 1935, Einstein and physicist Nathan Rosen used the theory of general relativity to elaborate on the idea, proposing the existence of “bridges” through space-time. These bridges connect two different points in space-time, theoretically creating a shortcut that could reduce travel time and distance. The shortcuts came to be called Einstein-Rosen bridges, or wormholes.

A passage between two space-time curve

Note: Again there is a movie called Thor in which the concept of Einstein-Rosen bridge used to travel between two universes. And in a scene, Jane Foster (A Scientist) and Erik Selvig (An astrophysicist) both discussed it.

How can a wormhole look like?

Wormholes contain two mouths, with a throat connecting the two. The mouths would most likely be spheroidal. The throat might be a straight stretch, but it could also wind around, taking a longer path than a more conventional route might require.

Wormhole tunnel

Einstein’s theory of general relativity mathematically predicts the existence of wormholes, but none have been discovered to date. A negative mass wormhole might be spotted by the way its gravity affects the light that passes by.

Certain solutions of general relativity allow for the existence of wormholes where the mouth of each is a black hole. However, a naturally occurring black hole, formed by the collapse of a dying star, does not by itself create a wormhole.

In reality

The first problem will arise regarding the wormhole is its size. Wormholes are predicted to exist on microscopic levels, about 10–33 centimeters. However, as the universe expands, it is possible that on someday it may have been stretched to larger sizes.

Another problem comes from stability. The predicted Einstein-Rosen wormholes would be useless for travel because they collapse quickly. You would need some very exotic type of matter in order to stabilize a wormhole,” said Hsu, “and it’s not clear whether such matter exists in the universe.”

But more recent research found that a wormhole containing “exotic” matter could stay open and unchanging for longer periods of time.

What is the exotic matter?

Exotic matter contains negative energy density and a large negative pressure. Such matter has only been seen in the behavior of certain vacuum states as part of quantum field theory. Let me remind you that it’s not a dark matter or antimatter.

If a wormhole contained sufficient exotic matter, whether naturally occurring or artificially added, it could theoretically be used as a method of sending information or travelers through space. Unfortunately, human journeys through the space tunnels may be challenging.

Some facts about wormholes

But there are very strong indications that wormholes that a human could travel through are forbidden by the laws of physics. Wormholes may not only connect two separate regions within the universe, they could also connect two different universes. Some scientists have predicted that if one mouth of a wormhole is moved in a specific manner, it could allow for time travel.

You can go into the future or into the past using traversable wormholes. Astrophysicist Eric Davis told that but it won’t be easy. It would take a Herculean effort to turn a wormhole into a time machine. It’s going to be tough enough to pull off a wormhole.

However, British cosmologist Stephen Hawking had argued that such use is not possible. A wormhole is not really a means of going back in time, it’s a shortcut so that something that was far away is much closer. Although adding exotic matter to a wormhole might stabilize it to the point that human passengers could travel safely through it, there is still the possibility that the addition of “regular” matter would be sufficient to destabilize the portal.

Today’s technology is insufficient to enlarge or stabilize wormholes, even if they could be found. However, scientists continue to explore the concept as a method of space travel with the hope that technology will eventually be able to utilize them. We should need some the super-super-advanced technology to make the journey possible through it.

If you have any suggestions and queries related to the post, let me know in the comment section below. Please do share this post to your circle to explore the knowledge you must know.

 

Thank you.

Anil Kashyap

I want to explore new things every single moment of life. Life motto: Learn and teach as much as you can until your last breath.

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