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Accidentally Real Science

You won't feel a thing going through that black hole.

Jan 17 Actual Science Pauline Baird Jones

In my romantic science fiction—note that word fiction which means I make things up, things like characters, plots, and yes, I even make up some science—my characters get around the universe.

They travel outside our galaxy because, in fiction, characters can go anywhere I can imagine. I am trying not to make up all my science these days, but yeah, I still make things up.
The cool thing about making things up is that sometimes science will theorize that it might be true. There are a lot of things from the Star Trek years that have either happened or been theorized they could happen. 

For me, what makes me the happiest about all these theories is that we’re looking to the stars again, we’re looking and wondering, can we do it? I love that private businesses are picking up the “let’s go into space” flag and doing amazing things.

I spent a lot of time stargazing as a child. So I was interested to hear about some new theories about black holes. 

Black holes may be the most mystifying entities in the universe. They are created when gravity crushes a dying star down to a single point, forming a true singularity—an object with infinite density. This hot, dense singularity punches a hole right through the fabric of spacetime, feasibly opening the path to hyperspace travel. In other words, we could travel cosmic scale distances lickety-split–faster than light.

Dr. Khanna, Physics Professor, and Associate Director of the Center for Scientific Computing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and his colleague Lior Burko at Georgia Gwinnett College, who have investigated the physics of black holes for over 20 years, made a new discovery. 

Though astrophysicists have long theorized that black holes are portals to other dimensions there has always been a question that stood in the way of using them for hyperspace travel. And that is—how can a spaceship even get near a black hole without gravitational forces stretching, squeezing, and ripping it and everyone and in it into teensy-weensy floating particles until it’s completely vaporized?

However, thanks to computer simulations by Dr. Khanna’s Ph.D. student, Caroline Mallary, they’ve shown that giant black holes that spin exceptionally fast have a weaker and much gentler singularity than smaller ones with a slower spin or no spin. 

Building on the physicist Amos Ori’s work, Mallary made a computer model to simulate the key physical effects on a spacecraft or any large object, falling into a big, rotating black hole.

The results of her study are that an object, like a spaceship, entering a large, spinning black hole can’t move around or avoid the inner horizon singularity but it wouldn’t experience significant effects as it passed through it. Under the right circumstances, these effects may be trivially slight, permitting comfortable passage through the singularity. The effects might be totally unnoticeable to the object or any passengers inside the object. These findings increase the possibility of using large, rotating black holes as portals for hyperspace travel.

So, we now know, there are black holes that might not obliterate any spacecraft that comes near them. In fact, it’s possible the spaceship’s passengers would have a smooth ride through the black hole and not even experience the force exerted by it. 

The existence of hyperspace travel is still dubious, but those who want to shoot for it, now know what portals or types of black holes they should go for. 

I know my characters are shooting for the stars and beyond! 

I’m excited to report that I’m back at work on CabeX now that Beaucoup Fracas is off my to-do list. It’s not a cakewalk because Savlf has a lot of issues. And so does CabeX. But I’m hanging in there.

It’s a good project for January! Here’s hoping you’ll have a lovely week!

Perilously yours,