Physicists have published a new methodology that will surely delight hardcore science fiction fans: a how-to guide for finding wormholes, a theoretical structure that provides passage between different areas of spacetime.
In theory, a wormhole could link together two parts of space at totally different points in time and regardless of the distance between them. However, reliable sci-fi plot device though they may be, no one knows if they really exist.
Now, scientists at the University at Buffalo and Case Western Reserve University in the US, and Yangzhou University in China have published new research in Physical Review D to detail a way to potentially locate wormholes.
They propose honing in on Sagittarius A*, believed to be a supermassive black hole right at the centre of our galaxy. Wormholes, in theory, require the extreme gravitation conditions of such an enormous black hole.
If a wormhole exists then the stars nearby would be affected by the gravity of stars on the other side of the wormhole’s tunnel, so the researchers argue that searching for anomalies in the orbits of the stars close to Sagittarius A*.
However, don’t get your hopes up about the prospect of time travel via wormhole just yet; study co-author Dr Dejan Stojkovic says that if wormholes even exist, then they’re probably not as we’ve seen them on our screens.
“Even if a wormhole is traversable, people and spaceships most likely aren’t going to be passing through,” he says. “Realistically, you would need a source of negative energy to keep the wormhole open, and we don’t know how to do that. To create a huge wormhole that’s stable, you need some magic.”
There’s also a chance that using this methodology to locate wormholes could simply find other structures that might give rise to the same effects on nearby stars as wormholes do in theory.