Maybe black holes aren’t as bad as we think

Image: Black hole
Here’s one concept for the look of a black hole. Image: Ute Kraus, [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons
Black holes may have gotten a bad rap. And wormholes just might be a realistic way to travel Star Trek-style after all.

Years ago, the traditional wisdom about those exotic cosmic phenomena was pretty forbidding: Once something fell into a black hole, it was gone for good. Not a trace of the information describing that thing could ever be recovered. This view gave rise to a famous saying from physicist John Wheeler: “Black holes have no hair.”

And wormholes? Sure, maybe you could theoretically create an extradimensional shortcut between two points in spacetime. But it would take loads of never-seen negative energy, and anything you sent through the wormhole would be blasted to bits by extreme tidal forces. Hence, movies ranging from “Contact” to “Star Trek” and “Interstellar” are far more fanciful than factual.

Two recently published studies run counter to those bits of traditional wisdom. They may shed new light on black holes – but don’t expect to rev up the wormhole time-travel machine anytime soon.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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