“In a distant future, adventurers prepare for a cosmic journey at Spaceport America, but they will not be boarding any rocket-driven spacecraft. Instead, they simply walk through a StarGate-like archway and instantly step onto a planet hundreds of light years from Earth.”
Today, the idea that people might zip across the universe using wormholes as high-speed portals can only be considered science fiction. In addition, the consensus among most scientists is that these freaks of nature are so destructive; people would be torn to bits if they ever entered one.
However, the idea that all wormholes are destructive may turn out to be wrong. University of Utah physicist Lior Burko brings up the possibility that some wormholes may not annihilate matter at all, making the potential for future hyperspace travel a real possibility.
It’s an interesting idea to consider, Burko said in a paper published in Physical Review. Certain types of hybrid black holes that serve as entrances to wormholes have weaker singularities and could allow matter to enter without being destroyed. Burko defines wormholes as theoretical tunnels that can link distant places in the universe, connect different points in time, or bridge two universes together.
The idea isn’t new. Wormholes, pictured here and popularized by Caltech physicist Kip Thorne in the 1980s, were the interstellar vehicle of choice for the 1997 Jody Foster scifi thriller, Contact .
Princeton physicist Richard Gott, author of Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe, said he hadn’t read Burko’s paper, but there has been recent progress on the subject with some interesting scenarios.
One day, humanity may harness wormholes, Gott said. We could then visit another time, a parallel world, or travel vast distances instantly. First, though, we must develop huge energy sources, achieve a better understanding of quantum gravity; or if tourists visit us from the future, we could learn from them.
Assuming that future science will one day enable researchers to access the necessary energies required to format and control wormholes, experts ponder the likely path of progress for this technology and offer thoughts on the many benefits we might expect, ranging from improved virtual reality systems to interstellar colonization. Enthusiast Tim Ventura describes how this wondertech could evolve:
1- First-Generation Wormholes allow transmission of information at faster-than-light speeds. Benefits range from creating believable virtual reality simulations, to ending space transmission delays.
2- Second-Generations allow us to transmit and receive data and build eavesdrop systems by placing virtual cams in space to capture remote pictures of comets, asteroids, planets, and other celestial objects.
3- Third-Generations are the first to transmit tiny bits of matter, which could include sending nanorobots to terraform distant planets making them environmentally friendly for colonization.
4- Fourth-Generations become a StarGate-like portal, allowing people to instantly step onto a distant planet in space, jump into a different time, and communicate with; or even visit other universes.
The late scifi great, Arthur C. Clarke agreed that wormholes could help humanity spread out to the stars; and he speculated that these curved space-time objects might also be used for time travel.
Earthtech International’s Dr. Eric Davis suggests that the mouths of fourth-generation wormholes should be 3 to 6 ft wide, which would require an enormous amount of power; equal to the energy output of an entire star. Physicist Michio Kaku predicts it may be centuries before humans accomplish this feat.
Although controlling wormholes is beyond our ability today, experts predict that humanity will one day unravel the mysteries of this science and build a StarGate-like portal linking Earth with other dimensions.
Positive futurists believe that with strong worldwide focus, this accomplishment could be realized within one or two centuries. And according to anti-aging guru Aubrey de Grey, the first humans to live for 1,000 years have already been born; so many alive today may live to experience this amazing wonderworld.
Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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