If you have a wormhole, then you can turn them into time machines for going backward in time - Kip Thorne
The idea of traveling to the edge of the universe, charting the vast depths of space and unlocking the ancient mysteries of the cosmos, and our innate yearning to explorer the celestial neighborhood that we live in has fueled humanity’s scientific curiosity and imagination since we first gazed in wonder at the night sky.
Our desire to reach into the darkness and find out what’s really out there has pushed our need to understand who we are and our place in the grand universal plan.
And the more pieces we slowly add to that puzzle, the closer we inch toward the ultimate goal of traveling beyond the confines of our solar system and discovering what’s really out there.
Unfortunately, the more we understand about the Laws of Physics and the physical rules of the universe, the more we’ve come to realize just how impossible it would be to sail through the stars, as the same problem refuses to go away or provide a solution to the eternal frustration it imposes. And that problem is distance.
The sheer size of the universe, our own galaxy, and even the solar system that we inhabit make traveling to the stars both a theoretical and physical impossibility.
In order to pass beyond the confines of our solar system, and travel to the closest star to our own, Proxima Centauri, we’d need to spend eighty thousand years in space to cover the four-point two-light-year distance between the Sun and Proxima Centauri.
Even if we could travel at the speed of, or faster than light, both of which are impossible according to the Theory of General Relativity, it would still take nearly five years to reach the star. But what if there was a way to shorten that journey?
What if the universe has already provided an answer to our dilemma? What if wormholes actually existed?
What Is A Wormhole? Do They Actually Exist?
More popularly known as Einstein-Rosen Bridges, wormholes are physical structures within the make-up of the universe that connect two different points in space-time.
Theoretically, they could connect two points that are billions of light-years apart, a few feet away from each other or two separate points in time.
The same theory that precludes the possibility of traveling faster the light states that wormholes are a very real possibility and should, given what we understand about physics, exist.
However, just because they exist in theory, it doesn’t mean that they actually exist in reality.
The idea of wormholes first manifested itself as a special solution to the problem of gravity and the way it stretches and acts upon the physical structure of the universe within Einstein’s original theory.
Once the answer was in place and was seen to solve the issue within the equation, it became glaringly obvious that wormholes were a very real possibility.
And the more closely physicists scrutinized the idea, the more they became convinced that wormholes actually do exist.
So Where Are They?
That is the million-dollar question that harks back the idea that just because something is supposed to exist it doesn’t mean that it actually does.
Even though physicists are certain that wormholes do exist, so far they’ve been unable to detect them or find any actual physical proof that wormholes are real.
One of the main problems that stand in the way of actually identifying and verifying the existence of wormholes is that, because they’re holes in space-time, they are nearly impossible to distinguish from other “spaces” in the structures of the universe such as black holes, and unless we stumble across one that was, and is, large enough for us to detect, we might never be able to find one.
However, that might be about to change, as a number of Russian astronomers have postulated that it might be possible to detect wormholes in very bright galaxies that emit a lot of light.
The idea behind their theory is intriguing and states that wormholes should be visible via their radiation signature, which would be different from that of other space-time anomalies like black holes and thus make them visible within the light spectrum that our most powerful radio telescope can already observe.
So far, it’s just a working theory, but it’s one that has prompted a lot of interest from, and in the scientific community and is the best, at the moment, possibility that we might actually, at long last, prove that wormholes do exist.
At the moment though, while physicists are sure that they do exist, the scientific jury is still out on whether wormholes actually exist or not.
Is Traveling Through A Wormhole Possible?
Theoretically, it absolutely is possible to travel through a wormhole and instantaneously reach another point in space-time or be catapulted back in time to another period in history.
There are, however, a few problems that manifest themselves when people talk about traveling through a wormhole.
The first of these is actually finding a wormhole, and the second is finding a wormhole that’s big enough to actually travel through.
Like most of the black holes in the universe, the majority of wormholes are thought to be microscopic, which would make traveling through them impossible.
Thirdly, finding out where a wormhole actually leads to before you travel through it would be difficult at best.
It could lead to a point billions of light-years away or thousands of years in the past, which would make communication impossible, or you could emerge from the other end of the wormhole ten feet away from the point at which you entered it.
And lastly, there’s the rather terrifying possibility that journeying through a wormhole could be a one-way trip.
Wormholes could be the galactic equivalent of driving down a one-way street - that is, you can only go through them one way and making a return journey using the same route, or going back through the wormhole to the point of your departure could be a physical impossibility.
So yes, theoretically, it is possible to travel through a wormhole, but until we actually find one and understand more about it and the way that wormholes actually work, it isn’t a journey that we’d advise anyone to undertake.