Scientists: Use black holes for space travel, but only with caution

10.01.2019 - Science, Space, Technology, World
Scientists: Use black holes for space travel, but only with caution

One of the most interesting themes in modern science fiction is the concept of using black holes as portals to another universe, time or dimension. Many astrophysicists claim that in these terms is simply impossible. However, a group of researchers from the University of Massachusetts in Dortmund (USA) believes that this fantasy is actually not so far from reality.


Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the Universe. They are the result of gravitational collapse of a supermassive star leading to the creation of a true singularity of infinite density object resulting from compression of a star to a tiny point. These hotspots infinite density have such a powerful gravity that can literally break space-time. According to the assumptions, this fact opens the possibility to use these objects for hyperspace travel.

Of course, the earlier research on this bill talked about the fact that any object, for example, a spacecraft or living entity that decides to use a black hole as a portal very quickly going to regret this. Infinite gravitational singularity and high temperature will cause the object to expand and contract until, until evaporated.

Journey through a black hole

The scientific team of Professor of physics Gaurava Hanna from the University of Massachusetts in Dortmund (USA) and their colleagues from the College GWINNETT in the state of Georgia were able to show that not all black holes are the same. Researchers believe that the objects passing through the large and rotating black holes such as Sagittarius a* at the center of our galaxy, the chances of survival are much higher.

The reason is that large and rotating black holes the singularity has several different, “softer” or “weaker” and therefore, it is likely that it will not damage the objects that will interact. At first glance, this may seem nonsense, but scientists cite as an explanatory analogy, a simple experiment with fast moving hands over the burning candles. Try it for yourself and find that fire you will burn.

Gaurav Hahn and his colleague Lior Burko deal with issues of the physics of black holes more than twenty years. In 2016 Caroline Mallari, one of the graduate students Hannah, inspired by the blockbuster Director Christopher Nolan’s “interstellar” has decided the scientific method to check whether the main character could survive the fall in a giant rotating black hole Gargantua has a mass 100 million times greater than solar.

The film itself, recall, was placed on the book of Nobel laureate in astrophysics Kip Thorne. Described in the Hollywood blockbuster the appearance, size and physical properties of the black hole Gargantua, which is one of the Central “characters” of this movie is his work.

Based on the research of another physicist Amos ori, the results of which were presented a few decades earlier, and with the support of computer technology, Caroline Mallari have created a computer model, which reflects most of the physical effects that would have on the spacecraft or any other object caught in the center of the rotating black hole such as Sagittarius a*.

The fictional black hole Gargantua from the movie “interstellar”

Even hair won’t wrinkle?

The computer model showed that under all conditions an object falling into a rotating black hole will not have infinitely large effects of deformation during the passage through the so-called inner horizon singularity region of a black hole to avoid which will fail in any case. Moreover, under certain circumstances, the impact of these effects will be so small that the object will pass through this singularity, and in some cases not even notice any impact from the side.

Mallari also found a feature that is not fully attracted attention earlier: effects of singularity in the context of a rotating black hole will lead to a rapid increase in cycles of stretching and compression of the object falling into the center. However, the researcher in his work notes that in the case of very large black holes, the size of the same Gargantua, the strength of these effects will be very small. So small that neither the spacecraft, not the living creatures on Board, most likely, they will not even notice.

This graph shows the physical load on the steel frame of the spacecraft with its approach to the center of a rotating black hole. In the small inset shows a detailed picture of the load, which will be celebrated with the maximum rapprochement of the apparatus. It is important to note that the load will rise dramatically at the point of closest approach to the black hole, but will not grow to infinity. In other words, the apparatus and its crew can survive such a journey

The important point here is that the physical effects exerted on the vehicle, will not grow indefinitely. They are limited to a certain limit, despite the fact that it would seem that the load on the ship will grow indefinitely with the approach to the black hole.

Of course, in the study of Mallari there are several important omissions and assumptions, which otherwise the end result may be quite different. For example, in the presented model it is assumed that a black hole is completely isolated from external factors such as persistent gravitational and other perturbations caused by, for example, a nearby star or falling into a black hole of external radiation. It should be understood that usually around these black holes accumulate a lot of different materials: dust, gas, radiation and so on. There is, therefore, a logical continuation of the work of Mallary will be re-examined in this context, but subject to the conditions more realistic astrophysical black holes.

The use of computer simulations to predict impact effects on objects near black holes is quite common practice. A real opportunity to test their theories in modern science yet, so scientists have had to actively rely on hypotheses and simulations that help to understand basic things, to make predictions and new discoveries.

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