Update: A giant wormhole in the Milky Way that could transport humans? Perhaps
A massive wormhole believed to exist in the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, could be a doorway to another galaxy, scientists wrote in the academic journal Annals of Physics.
Albert Einstein predicted wormholes (Einstein-Penrose bridges) in his theory of General Relativity. The major problem, scientists say, is keeping them open so humans could travel through.
Astrophysicist and dark matter expert, Paolo Salucci, of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, and colleagues believe that dark matter at the centre of the Milky Way might sustain a wormhole that people could travel through without it collapsing.
A wormhole is a passage through space-time that creates shortcuts for long journeys across the universe. Space and time are bent so that distant points are closer together.
A wormhole bends space-time, allowing distant points to meet.
Associate Professor Salucci said:
“If we combine the map of the dark matter in the Milky Way with the most recent Big Bang model to explain the universe and we hypothesise the existence of space-time tunnels, what we get is that our galaxy could really contain one of these tunnels, and that the tunnel could even be the size of the galaxy itself. But there’s more.”
“We could even travel through this tunnel, since, based on our calculations, it could be navigable. Just like the one we’ve all seen in the recent film ‘Interstellar’.”
Although wormholes, or Einstein-Penrose bridges, have only recently gained popularity among the general public thanks to several movies and TV series, such as Stargate and Christopher Nolans sci-fi film Interstellar, astrophysicists have been interested in them for much longer.
Paolo Salucci believes even humans could travel though this wormhole. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
“What we tried to do in our study was to solve the very equation that the astrophysicist ‘Murph’ was working on. Clearly we did it long before the film came out. It is, in fact, an extremely interesting problem for dark matter studies.”
Salucci stressed that he and his team are not claiming that the Milky Way is definitely a wormhole, but simply that, according to theoretical models, this hypothesis is a possibility.
Asked whether it can ever be tested experimentally, Salucci said “In principle, we could test it by comparing two galaxies – our galaxy and another, very close one like, for example, the Magellanic Cloud, but we are still very far from any actual possibility of making such a comparison.”
To come to their conclusions, the scientists combined the equations of general relativity with an exceptionally detailed map of the distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way.
“The map was one we obtained in a study we carried out in 2013. Beyond the sci-fi hypothesis, our research is interesting because it proposes a more complex reflection on dark matter.”
As Salucci points out, astrophysicists have tried to explain dark matter by hypothesizing the existence of the neutralino (a particular particle). However, it has never been observed in the universe or identified at CERN (a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world).
There are alternative theories that do not rely on the particle. “Perhaps it’s time for scientists to take this issue ‘seriously’. Dark matter may be ‘another dimension’, perhaps even a major galactic transport system. In any case, we really need to start asking ourselves what it is,” Salucci concluded.
Citation: “Possible existence of wormholes in the central regions of halos,” Farook Rahaman, P. Saluccib, P.K.F. Kuhfittig, Saibal Ray, & Mosiur Rahaman. Annals of Physics, Volume 350, November 2014. doi:10.1016/j.aop.2014.08.003.
Video – Glactic wormhole
This SISSA video shows the (hypothetical) wormhole proposed by Salucci, Kuhfittig et al connecting the center with a very far position of our Galaxy when one passes through its throat.