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Wormholes are hypothetical tunnels through space and time connecting two separate locations. These wormholes would create a shortcut in space-time, that would get something from point A to point B without having to travel the full distance. Physicists theorize that they would be caused by two large masses attracting each other from separate places in the universe, or even completely different universes (Figure 1). Black holes are the best hypothesis on what could generate enough gravity to create a wormhole. Black holes have a dense center, called a singularity, which consumes all matter. There also may be an opposite “white hole” where matter can exit. This could provide a multiverse or other dimension where time moves backwards. Despite these interesting prospects, whether organic matter could survive travel through such a process is uncertain because black hole singularities are extremely dense. Matter that enters black holes goes through a process called “spaghettification” where the object stretches out as it approaches the dense singularity. This could be very fatal to humans.

No wormholes have been found yet, but Albert Einstein’s work has proposed what their reality could be. With the help of Nathan Rosen, Einstein produced a mathematical theory called the black hole and white hole equation (Figure 2). Wormholes are also called Einstein-Rosen bridges, as Einstein and Rosen theorized that every black hole has its white hole counterpart. They also hypothesized that a wormhole would be the path connecting the two ends. To find a wormhole, there would first need to be a black hole. Black holes cannot be seen because they vacuum everything into their singularities, including light. However, their surroundings reveal their location. Black holes pull everything into their singularity as they move through space, so missing or stretched stars most likely reveal a black hole. Black holes also bend light around them as they travel, so an extreme redshift in stars or light wrapping around something may also mean that a black hole is present. The bigger the black hole, the more likely it is to have a wormhole. A large mass attracts other masses such as white holes. These supermassive black holes are found in the center of galaxies. It is even theorized that all galaxies have supermassive black holes at the center of them, keeping the galaxy intact.

Theoretically, wormholes could be used for space-time travel. However, there are many factors that make this extremely difficult. First off, gravity increases moving further into black holes, becoming infinite at the singularity. All matter is eventually crushed within the wormhole. Despite this, exotic matter provides a solution to this problem. Regular matter attracts other matter to itself because of gravity, but exotic matter repels other matter. This means it could counteract the gravitational effect of the wormhole. The only issue is that there currently is no way for us to create exotic matter or use it for this purpose. The second problem with wormhole travel is not being able to come back from the entrance. While it is an unlikely chance that humans would be able to survive going through a wormhole once, coming back might be even harder. There is no guarantee we would end up in the same place and we might end up in another galaxy or in a parallel universe. In both scenarios, it could be impossible to go back. Considering white holes “push” things out of them unlike black holes that “suck” things into them, travelers could be stuck in the new location. Another problem would be accidentally creating a time paradox. A time paradox can be defined in many ways, but one example is the grandfather paradox. As wormholes travel past the speed of light, there is a possibility that the wormhole could send travelers back to before they went into the wormhole. This could make the wormhole send travelers on a collision course with themselves, destroying themselves before you get into the wormhole. Then how do they get through the wormhole in the first place? There is also the possibility of humans being crushed under the intense gravity and then being separated across time.

If all these problems were to be addressed and solved, we could theoretically change the course of human civilization forever. This would allow inter-universe travel and expansions of the search for alien civilizations. This would be the single greatest accomplishment humans have ever seen. Threats to earth, like climate change or asteroids, could be addressed by moving to another habitable planet, even if it is light years away. This technology would create limitless possibilities.

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