Simulating Wormholes for İnterstellar Travel
Wormholes are hypothetical objects that could potentially allow for travel through space and time. Although no one has observed a wormhole directly, they remain a fascinating topic of study for physicists and astronomers alike. According to a report published in the Physical Review D on November 15, if a person were to fall into a wormhole, they would not be able to return to their original location. However, it may be possible to send a message to those still on the other side before the wormhole closes behind them.
While the existence of wormholes has not been proven, scientists have speculated that they could provide shortcuts through space and time, allowing for travel to distant parts of the universe or even to other universes. Despite their potential usefulness, one of the most commonly studied types of wormholes is highly unstable and would collapse if any matter entered it. This has raised questions among physicists about how quickly a collapse might occur and what it would mean for anything or anyone traveling through the wormhole.
Theoretical research has shown that wormholes could potentially allow for faster-than-light travel and could even serve as a means of time travel. However, the stability of these structures remains a major obstacle to their practical use. Specifically, the danger of a wormhole collapsing upon the introduction of matter into its structure poses a significant risk to any travelers. Despite these challenges, physicists continue to explore the possibilities and implications of wormholes, seeking to unlock their secrets and uncover the mysteries of the universe.
A new computer program has been developed to simulate the behavior of one type of wormhole when an object passes through it. Physicist Ben Kain from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts explains that the purpose of the simulation is not to bring the probe back but to determine whether a light signal could be transmitted back to the starting point before the wormhole collapses.
Previous studies have suggested that certain types of wormholes could remain open for repeated trips if they are supported by a hypothetical form of matter called “ghost matter”. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, ghost matter would respond to gravity in the opposite way to normal matter, and it would cause the wormhole to expand, rather than collapse, when it passes through it. However, ghost matter is not believed to exist in reality.
In Kain’s simulation, he found that normal matter passing through the wormhole would trigger a collapse, which would pinch the hole closed and leave something similar to a black hole. Nevertheless, the collapse would occur slowly enough for a fast-moving probe to transmit light-speed signals back to the starting point just before the wormhole completely closes.
Kain believes that sending humans through a wormhole would not be feasible, but he envisions sending an automated capsule equipped with a video camera. This way, even though it would be a one-way trip, the video footage captured by the capsule would provide valuable information about the environment on the other side of the wormhole.
Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder from the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy urges caution when approaching the concept of wormholes. She states that the idea of using ghost matter to keep a wormhole open for travel relies on the existence of hypothetical entities that may not exist in reality. Hossenfelder cautions that many mathematical models may not necessarily have any bearing on the physical world.
Despite these reservations, Kain emphasizes that the simulation is a worthwhile endeavor that could lead to further research into creating stable wormholes that do not rely on ghost matter. Such wormholes would allow for more extensive exploration of the universe and possibly even other universes.
K. Calhoun, B. Fay and B. Kain. Matter traveling through a wormhole. Physical Review D. Vol. 106, November 15, 2022, 104054. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevD.106.104054.