Deep inside of a black hole lies a region known as the gravitational singularity, where space-time curves toward infinity, and no matter passing through can survive – or so it’s been thought.
In a new study, researchers suggest there may instead be a way out through a wormhole at the centre of the black hole, which acts as a ‘back door.’
By this theory, anything traveling through the black hole would be ‘spaghettified,’ or stretched to the extreme, but returned back to its normal size when it emerges in a different region of the universe.
Physicists from the Institute of Corpuscular Physics in Valencia propose a new scenario that considers the singularity as an imperfection in the geometric structure of space-time.
To test this idea, the researchers took uncommon approach, using geometric structures similar to those of a crystal of graphene layer, which better match the activity inside of a black hole.
For the study, published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, the team focused on a type of black hole which is motionless and electrically-charged.
‘Black holes are a theoretical laboratory for trying out new ideas about gravity,’ says Gonzalo Olmo, a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the University of Valencia.
‘Just as crystals have imperfections in their microscopic structure, the central region of a black hole can be interpreted as an anomaly in space-time, which requires new geometric elements in order to be able to describe them more precisely.
‘We explored all possible options, taking inspiration from facts observed in nature.’
By analyzing the new geometries, the researchers found a center point with a small, spherical surface, representing a wormhole at the heart of a black hole.
‘Our theory naturally resolves several problems in the interpretation of electrically-charged black holes,’ Olmo explains.
‘In the first instance, we resolve the problem of the singularity, since there is a door at the centre of the black hole, the wormhole, through which space and time can continue.’
The equations revealed that a wormhole at the centre would be smaller than an atomic nucleus, but increases in size relative to the charge stored within the black hole.
If any matter were passing through, it would be stretched to extreme measures, allowing it to enter the wormhole.
Then, it would be compacted as it comes out on the other side.
While it’s unlikely that a human would survive this process, the researchers say the matter inside the black hole would not be lost forever as it’s previously been thought, and would instead be expelled into another area of the universe.
And, the researchers say there would be no need for ‘exotic’ energy to generate the wormhole, as Einstein’s theory of gravity suggests.
‘In our theory,’ the researcher explained, ‘the wormhole appears out of ordinary matter and energy, such as an electric field.’