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Physicist says one of Sci-Fi's wildest travel ideas could actually work



One of the most valued sci-fi scenarios uses a black hole as a portal to another dimension or time or another universe. This fantasy may be closer to reality than previously thought.

Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the universe. They are the result of the absolute destruction of a dying star by gravity, which leads to the formation of a true singularity – what happens when an entire star is compressed to a single point, creating an object of infinite density.

This dense and hot singularity punctures a hole in the fabric of spacetime itself, potentially opening up the possibility of hyperspace travel. That is, a shorter space-time, which allows the removal of cosmic scales within a very short time.

Previously, the researchers believed that any spacecraft attempting to use a black hole as a portal of this type would have to reckon with nature worst

The hot and dense singularity would cause the spacecraft to have a sequence of increasingly uncomfortable tidal stretching and squeezing before it is completely evaporated.

Flying through a black hole

My team at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a A fellow at Georgia Gwinnett College has shown that not all black holes are the same.

When the black hole like Sagittarius A *, which is at the center of our own galaxy, is large and rotating, the prospect of a spaceship changes dramatically

This is because the singularity with which a spacecraft has to fight, is very gentle and could allow a very peaceful passage.

The reason for this is that the relevant singularity in a rotating black hole is technically "weak" and thus does not damage any objects that interact with it.

This fact may be intuitive at first, but it can be considered as analogously to the usual experience, you can quickly guide your finger through the flame of a 2,000-degree candle without burning yourself.

My colleague Lior Burko and I have studied the physics of black holes for over two years decades.

In 201

6, my PhD student Caroline Mallary, inspired by Christopher Nolan's blockbuster film Interstellar determined whether Cooper (Matthew McConaughey's character) could survive his fall deep in Gargantua – a fictitious, supermassive, fast-spinning black hole , which is about 100 million times the mass of our Sun.

Interstellar was based on a book published by the No laureate astrophysicist Kip Thorne and Gargantua's physical characteristics was written plot of this Hollywood movie.

Based on the work of physicist Amos Ori two decades ago and armed with her strong computer skills, Mallary built a computer model that captured most of the film's essential physical effects of a spacecraft or large object moving into a large, rotating computer black hole like Sagittarius A * drops.

Not even a bumpy ride?

What she found out was that an object falling into a rotating black hole would, in all circumstances, not have an infinite impact on the passage through the so-called inner horizon singularity of the hole.

This is the singularity that an object that penetrates into a rotating black hole can not maneuver or avoid.

Not only that these effects are negligibly small under the right circumstances and allow quite convenient passage through the singularity.

In fact, no noticeable effect on the falling object can occur at all. This increases the possibility of using large, rotating black holes as portals for hyperspace travel.

Mallary also discovered a feature that had not previously been fully appreciated: the fact that the effects of the singularity associated with a rotating black hole would result in rapidly increasing cycles of spacecraft stretching and squeezing.

However, with very large black holes like Gargantua, the strength of this effect would be very small. The spacecraft and all the people on board would not discover it.

 The physical stress of a spacecraft entering a black hole - it increases dramatically but does not grow indefinitely. (Khanna / UMassD) The physical stress of a spacecraft entering a black hole – it increases dramatically but does not grow indefinitely. Therefore, a spacecraft can survive. (Khanna / UMassD)

The key point is that these effects do not increase indefinitely. In fact, they remain finite, even though the spacecraft's load tends to grow indefinitely as it approaches the black hole.

In the context of Mallary's model, there are some important simplifying assumptions and resulting reservations. The main assumption is that the considered black hole is completely isolated and therefore not exposed to constant interference from a source such as another star in its vicinity or even falling radiation.

While this assumption allows for important simplifications, it should be noted that most black holes are surrounded by cosmic material – dust, gas, and radiation. Therefore, it is a natural extension of Mallary's work to do a similar study in the context of a more realistic astrophysical black hole.

Mallary's approach of using a computer simulation to investigate the effects of a black hole on an object is very common in the field of black hole physics.

Needless to say, we are not yet capable of real-life experiments in or near black holes, so scientists are resorting to theory and simulation to develop understanding by making predictions and new discoveries ,  The Conversation

Gaurav Khanna, Professor of Physics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

This article is being re-released under license from Creative Commons. Read the original article.


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