NASA/JPL-Caltech
Hard Science

New Theory Suggests Black Holes Are “Back Doors” to The Universe

Hopefully the universe at least provides some meatballs after all that 'spaghettification.'

Cecille De JesusAugust 12th 2016

Spaghettified People

Scientists believe that in the middle of a black hole is a one-dimensional point that contains a huge mass despite its infinitely small space. And in this point, the density of matter becomes infinite, the whole fabric of space-time breaks apart, physics no longer applies, and basically, everything blows into chaos and nothing makes sense. This theoretical point of madness is called the gravitational singularity.

Much like everything else about black holes, the gravitational singularity is a source of endless debate. One interesting theory is that if you, for some crazy reason, end up in this hellhole, you will be stretched and squeezed in different directions, infinitely—a process technically called (yes, technically) spaghettification

"Spaghettification" looks like fun, but it's probably not. Credit: Katherine Streeter for NPR
“Spaghettification” looks like fun, but it’s probably not. Credit: Katherine Streeter for NPR

“The gravity wants to sort of stretch you in one direction and squeeze you in another,” says Joe Polchinski, a physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Since very little is known (much less definitively proven) about black holes, the floor is open to exploration of concepts beyond general relativity. A team of researchers are trying to look at the singularity in an entirely different light.

They propose that perhaps the gravitational singularity were an imperfection in the geometric structure of space-time, with geometric structures like that of a crystal or graphene.

“Just as crystals have imperfections in their microscopic structure, the central region of a black hole can be interpreted as an anomaly in space-time, which requires new geometric elements in order to be able to describe them more precisely. We explored all possible options, taking inspiration from facts observed in nature,” the team explains.

De-spaghettification

In a model following their theory, the new geometries would imply that the center point would be a very small spherical surface—consistent with that of a wormhole in a simple, rotational, electrically-charged black hole. 

“Our theory naturally resolves several problems in the interpretation of electrically-charged black holes”, says Gonzalo Olmo, one of the researchers from the Institute of Corpuscular Physics, Universitat de Valencia. “In the first instance we resolve the problem of the singularity, since there is a door at the center of the black hole, the wormhole, through which space and time can continue.”

This model would also make the spaghettification process possible (yay?), and would allow a hypothetical traveler to go through the wormhole, and come out of it in their normal, pre-spaghettification size (phew!, yay).

That sounds okay. That is, until you hear Neil DeGrasse Tyson describe that journey in graphic detail.

Unlike Einstein’s theory of gravity, which requires unusual properties such as a negative energy pressure or density (which have yet to be observed), the team’s wormhole is much more feasible: “In our theory, the wormhole appears out of ordinary matter and energy, such as an electric field,” says Olmo. 

This “backdoor” would also address the information paradox, because nothing is lost but instead comes out the other end. Where and what is in that other end, however, is another “black hole” of questions.

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