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Interstellar: An Introduction to Wormholes


lindsh23

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blog-0905252001429217815.jpegI finally watched the movie Interstellar! I have been meaning to watch it, since I have a closeted interest in space and quantum physics, and it was well worth the wait. While some of it was far fetched, it was very interesting and thought provoking, and I thought it was really well done! Since I recently watched the movie, I’ve decided to look into Wormholes, a concept the movie actually focused on as a form of space travel.

In Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey travelled in space in hopes of finding another planet, similar to Earth, that humans could live on and populate. Since the planets he was looking into were so far away, beyond our universe, his space crew utilized a wormhole to travel that distance. So, what is a wormhole? A wormhole is a “secret passage†to other places in space-time. Space is not actually flat, it can bend and be distorted and even change as time goes on. A worm hole is simply a bend in space time, and a hole exists there which allows a shortcut to occur from one place in spacetime to another. It was named a “wormhole†because Princeton physicist John Wheeler, one of the early physicists investigating wormholes, saw this shortcut as a worm eating its way through the core of an apple.

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This shows the concept of a wormhole travelling between different locations of spacetime.

The structure of a wormhole makes what the space team in Interstellar did rather difficult, if not impossible. The wormhole is unstable matter, and the gravitational effect of the slightest drop in mass would cause the wormhole to collapse, leaving space traveler trapped within the wormhole. Also, there is a high possibility that on the other end of the wormhole could lie a black hole. Imagine finally making it to your destination, only to be sucked into a black hole and completely decimated! In order to keep the wormhole open, negative mass, called “exotic massâ€, would have to be positioned near the mouth of the wormhole – however, exotic mass is only theorized, not discovered. A wormhole could also be created, but the mass required to penetrate spacetime in that matter would be roughly equivalent to an entire galaxy.

If a wormhole could possibly fit a human successfully, creating time travel would be another story. In order to be transported to another place in time, one end would have to be sped up to nearly the speed of light, while the other end remained unaffected. This way, when the traveler travelled through the wormhole, they would emerge hundreds of years earlier on the other side of the wormhole. In order to overcome this obstacle, we would have to be able to manipulate speed and time.

The concept of bending spacetime to accommodate wormholes is rather fascinating, and while it does include some scientific fact and theory, the idea seems a little far fetched at the moment. Who knows what the future will bring! Until next time, Fizzix community, until next time.

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