If you’re a fan of science fiction, then you know getting trapped inside a wormhole is the ultimate prison.
But is it just science fiction, or is there any scientific fact behind it? Could a person get stuck inside a wormhole?
Can you get caught inside one?
Get Stuck In A Wormhole: Science Fiction To Fact
What Is A Wormhole?
A wormhole is an unstable tunnel that can be created in space-time and used to transport something from one place to another without having to travel through normal matter at all.
It’s essentially like being able to take a shortcut by traveling through a black hole.
Wormholes are entirely theoretical at this point as none have been discovered in the universe. Yet.
Wormholes are named after actual wormholes because of their similarity in creation.
Worms create that hole to get from one side to another, just like an actual wormhole.
You’d think that you could never get stuck inside a wormhole, but there are ways you can accidentally get stranded inside.
And if you do find yourself on the other side of the wormhole, you won’t have time to escape before your body is sucked out of existence!
Can You Get Stuck In A Wormhole?
In short, yes.
Say you were able to find a wormhole in the first place, and then you’re stupid enough to dip your finger in, you’d get sucked in and stuck.
But what would happen if a human did get trapped inside a wormhole? Would they die instantly?
Well, there’s no way for us to tell, but we do know about wormholes in general.
So maybe you’ll live. But how long could you survive? Let’s go over a scenario to see what would happen.
The “Catch Me If You Can” Scenario
Imagine you’re walking along with a friend when suddenly you step close to a wormhole.
Before anything else happens, your friend tries to grab onto you, so she doesn’t drift away.
The closer you get to the wormhole, the faster you’re going to fall.
But you don’t want her to hold on to you to stop you either because then you and your friend will keep drifting apart at the same speed.
How much distance would you travel in 10 minutes? 15? 20? 30? 50? 100? 500? 1000? 5000? 10000?
By the time you get to 10 seconds, you’ve traveled 5 miles. That’s about 1/4th the diameter of Manhattan Island.
If you make it past 3 miles, things aren’t looking good.
How Much Time Do I Have Left?
When you first enter the wormhole, you’ll be moving at incredible speeds—you haven’t got time to worry about whether you should be scared or not.
However, once you’ve traveled more than around 2-3 times the radius of Earth (or even farther), gravity will win out and begin pulling you back towards earth.
So you and your buddy need to figure something out.
Either your friend needs to let you go, which means she loses her ride home, or she needs to try and stay attached to you.
She’s probably wondering why you didn’t bring a parachute. If she lets go of you, remember: Gravity wins. Don’t panic.
Just float gently down until you reach the surface of the planet.
Even better, you can always just shoot off into deep space and try to escape. Nothing is keeping you here any longer.
On the other hand, if she grabs onto you, you’ll be pulled into the center of the wormhole, where you’ll slow to 0 MPH while still floating.
This makes getting out complicated.
Since you’ll be hurtling toward the singularity at light speed, eventually, the entire wormhole gets compressed down to zero volume.
When you finally hit the event horizon, you’ll be crushed into subatomic particles. Or whatever those are.
How To Escape A Wormhole
I’m sorry to say there’s no easy answer to this question. The chances of escaping before you get ripped apart are slim.
Here are some options, though:
First of all, you can wait until the wormhole grows again. But how long does that take?
It takes an hour each time it expands by one tiny bit. And if it contracts? An hour again.
So if you’re already stranded inside a wormhole, you might as well give up now. At least it’s warm.
You also have a few options depending on how big the hole is.
A small hole wouldn’t require too much effort to cross.
You’ll be traveling so fast, even though you’ll be falling, the force of acceleration will compensate for the drag.
Once you arrive, you may not leave right away since you’ll probably get dragged back in by the next expansion.
But chances are you won’t last long, and you’ll ultimately end up back where you started.
This one’s trickier. Your speed will drop slightly but not enough to compensate for the increased gravitational attraction of the sun to Earth.
Assuming you do survive long enough to exit the hole, you’d be pulled straight back into the original spot.
The only thing preventing you from being sucked through a large hole is inertia.
You’ll need to increase your velocity by nearly a factor of 10 to achieve anything resembling the necessary escape velocity.
As soon as you start accelerating, you’ll find yourself falling rapidly toward the center of the universe.
At best, you could coast over to another universe, although there’s little chance of survival after that point.
However, what if you somehow managed to maintain constant acceleration for an extended period?
That would mean if the wormhole was to stop expanding, you’d keep going.
For example, imagine that we send a rocket ship straight into the middle of the Milky Way, assuming it had perfect engines.
Our goal is to accelerate our spacecraft as far as possible from its starting position without ever slowing down or changing direction.
In order to achieve this impossible feat, we must continually apply a force equal to half of gravity.
If the wormhole stops growing, our spaceship will continue moving with twice the force required to escape.
Therefore there’s a chance you could escape. But it’s a very, very slim chance.
So it’s probably best to avoid wormholes, which shouldn’t be too hard considering the fact that they’re entirely theoretical.
Theoretical Physicist Dr. Michio Kaku says that humans can theoretically create smaller versions of wormholes as well, that would allow people to enter.
These ‘mini’ wormholes would only last for about one trillionth of a second. But these mini-wormholes aren’t designed to carry people.
They were developed as a method of exploring what happens when two particles collide together.
The mini-wormhole allows researchers to see how much energy gets transferred during particle collisions.
Mini wormholes would also be a lot easier to escape from.
Wormholes present so much intrigue.
Though they may only be theoretical, Einstein himself agreed that the science and the concept behind them was valid.
So whether it’s a mini wormhole or a full-sized one, be sure to stay away from it either way.
You might just find yourself getting accidentally sucked in.
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