If Black Holes Contain Wormholes, Objects Could Survive the Journey

June 10, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Photo edited to look like a wormhole in the sky
Photo credit: Steve Moses/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Possibly to another universe.

Are there wormholes lurking in the center of black holes leading to another universe? Maybe. We don’t know. In fact, we have no idea what a black hole actually is because we have never really seen one. Until there is observational or visual proof, physicists can theorize about any number of possibilities.

And one of those possibilities is a spherical wormhole, which was first hypothesized to be at the center of black holes in 2014 by researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai. In a new study, physicists from the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) have modeled what would happen to an object if it ended up inside a black hole’s wormhole.

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"What we did was to reconsider a fundamental question on the relation between the gravity and the underlying structure of space-time," said team member Diego Rubiera-Garcia from the University of Lisbon in Portugal, in a press release. "In practical terms, we dropped one assumption that holds in general relativity, but there is no a priori reason for it to hold in extensions of this theory."

According to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, located at the center of a black hole is a singularity — a one-dimensional point containing a huge mass in an infinitely small space, where gravity is so strong that space, time, and the laws of physics break down.

But if we assume that the rules of general relativity aren't necessarily valid at the center of a black hole, the singularity can be removed, and then what’s left is a finite-sized wormhole. Using this idea, the team examined what could happen if objects, like you or me, made it into the wormhole.

According to the study published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, objects falling into the black hole’s wormhole would be able to maintain their structural integrity.

So even though the theory of general relativity predicts that an object approaching a black hole’s singularity will be crushed in one direction and stretched in another infinitely — spaghettifying it — an object approaching a wormhole at the center of a black hole would only be crushed to the size of the wormhole.

In theory, an object could survive the journey through the wormhole and potentially find itself in another universe. Of course, until we actually see a black hole, all this remains completely hypothetical.

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