Over the past few weeks, we discussed several hypothetical ways for fast interstellar travel – warp drive and MEGA drive. Now, two separate teams of scientists have, once again, drawn the public attention to an old theory in Einstein’s general relativity – wormholes, claiming that they may have found real solutions that would prove their existence and how they can be used.
Elementary particles can pass through microscopic wormholes
In the past, scientists have proven that the wormholes described in general relativity, if they exist, will not be traversable due to their instability. If a large object, let’s say a spaceship, tried to pass through a wormhole, it would not be able to go through and would be lost forever.
Several hypothetical solutions have been proposed in the past that could be used to keep the wormhole open but for now, they are nothing but fiction. One such model implies that we need to use matter with negative mass but as you can probably tell, the existence of such matter has not yet been proven.
Perhaps it would be simpler to find a different solution than hoping to prove the existence of a new hypothetical form of matter and a team of scientists from the University of Oldenburg recently suggested such an alternative.
Their solution is based on the Einstein-Dirac-Maxwell theory that combines certain aspects of three theories – Einstein’s theory of gravity, Dirac’s theory of quantum particles, and Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism.
There is one drawback in this new model, however, that once again makes it impossible for humans to travel through wormholes. In order to pass through one, an object has to be in a quantum state, something impossible for humans. In other words, the study focused on elementary particles that could pass through microscopic wormholes that would be unsuitable for human interstellar travel.
Another new model could make wormholes traversable for humans
Another study, conducted by another scientific team from the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey and Princeton University, proposed a different model of a wormhole which, in turn, may be the necessary solution to make them traversable for humans.
According to their calculations based on the string theory, such wormholes could exist and would allow a person to travel through space in milliseconds. Their five-dimensional wormholes would resemble charged black holes of intermediate-mass.
Now, I need to mention that the physicists did not give solutions for the conditions needed for this to happen. In other words, they did not study what exactly needs to happen in order for humans to create or pass through such a wormhole, they only substantiated the possibilities of their existence.
Both scientific teams will now have to further explore these hypotheses to prove whether either is possible. In the worst-case scenario, both could end up in the long list of impossible ideas about wormholes.
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• Brian Koberlein, U. (n.d.). Wormholes across the universe are fully traversable, new calculations show.
• Maldacena, J., & Milekhin, A. (2021, March 09). Humanly traversable wormholes.
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• Science X. (2021, March 09). Microscopic wormholes possible in theory.
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