What are wormholes and how do we find them?

Illustration for article titled What are wormholes and how do we find them?

Is anyone else sick of having to stay in the same damn universe when the next one over could be filled with robot dinosaurs and new kinds of cheese? Here's how to find a wormhole and ditch this place.

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Wormholes, so far, are confined to the realm of the theoretical. The scientific basis for them is the fact that high mass makes space curve the way people make the surface of a trampoline curve. Too much mass and space can give way entirely, leading to another section of space, another time, another universe, or a lawsuit.

Illustration for article titled What are wormholes and how do we find them?

Of course, since mass attracts mass, even if a large amount of mass did form a wormhole, there's no reason for a wormhole to stay open. The two sides of the tunnel that the mass formed would attract each other and close the wormhole off. The only way for the wormhole to stay open would be if its walls were formed of negative mass. Negative mass repels, instead of attracts, and so the two sides of the wormhole would be shoved apart. Negative mass, like wormholes, has never been observed.

But that shouldn't discourage true sci-fi nerds! Firefly got cancelled, and then was made into a movie. Battlestar Galactica came back on the air after twenty-six years. There's a movie out there called Sharktopus. Anything is possible, if only people search for it.

There are a couple of different methods that could be used to search for wormholes. The first is looking for a kind of halo of light that would form around the mouth of the wormhole. At the center of the wormhole, we would see stars from the other part of the universe peeking through at us. And maybe if we were lucky we would also see a few giant metal space pterodactyls.

Another approach would be to study the stars in our own neck of the woods. As a wormhole moved in front of a star, the star's light would dim. On either side, however, the light would brighten. A flash, a darkness, and another flash might be cosmic Morse code for ‘wormhole'.

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This idea seems a bit more practical, since astronomers are already studying the intensity of light from neighboring stars. Most of the extra-solar planets that we know about have been found by measuring the dips in their star's light.

Of course, that wouldn't be the end of it. After locating a wormhole we would have to find a way to get to it, a way to survive going through it, and there would still be no guarantee that the trip would be a shortcut. Although theoretically worm holes exist, they could actually be longer routes than regular space travel.

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It might be easier just to build robot dinosaurs here.

Illustration for article titled What are wormholes and how do we find them?
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Via Universe Today and Centauri Dreams.

DISCUSSION

ParryLost

I think some sci-fi also goes the route of using the short-lived, microscopic wormholes that are thought to occur naturally in the "quantum foam" that exists at the smallest scales everywhere in the universe. Grab a microscopic wormhole, find a way to make it last and embiggen it, and take the two ends to separate places... Or just find some way to send yourself through those microscopic wormholes to your destination, perhaps using some sort of teleporter, in a series of incredibly short, but faster-than-light, jumps.