Blog Post #1010, February 28th, 2018, Technology Discussion: Wormholes
Blog Post #1010
February 28th, 2018
Technology Discussion: Wormholes
Warning: Spoiler Alert!
The following excerpt will reveal an element of the storyline that is relevant to The Way of Nacor. Just wanted to make this disclaimer.
Following is an excerpt from: The Way of Nacor
“The bird had flown into a distortion of some kind, a shimmering, vertical wave of energy, similar to what happens when the heat of the sun bears down on the pavement in the summer. Michael studied the glistening phenomenon, which resembled a very thin pool of clear water, except that it stood vertically instead of horizontally, and at times was nearly impossible to see. He puzzled over the bizarre anomaly, which twinkled slightly in the light of the sun.
“What do you think, Michael? What in the world is that thing—and what happened to the bird?” Rachel asked him, looking to her brother for some clarity, her eyes wide with fear.
“How should I know?” asked Michael…
Rachel then turned to find Jessie, and recoiled in horror at what she saw. Her little sister had already left the porch and was nearly to the glimmer.
“Jessie, get away from that thing, do you hear me?” she screamed, leaping from the porch and onto the grass without even touching the stairs. She raced across the yard and toward the glistening pool, followed closely by Michael, who held tightly to Eli’s hand, even as the smaller boy struggled to keep up. By this time, Rachel had closed the gap between her and Jessie, but the younger sister had already made it to the glimmer. Jessie reached out her hand toward the shimmering wall that stood in the middle of her grandfather’s back yard, and touched it just as Rachel, Michael, and Eli arrived behind her. As soon as she reached Jessie, Rachel turned and looked back toward the house for a moment, just as the house, the yard, and the bright blue sky somehow melted away into darkness…
Rachel looked around in confusion at the darkness that surrounded her. Only moments earlier, she had been sitting on her grandfather’s porch. It had been a bright and sunny day, with a warm breeze blowing the puffy white clouds gently across a Carolina blue sky.
But that was before. Instead of a warm sunny day, there was now a cool, dark night.
Rachel sat up on the ground looking around in fear, seeking solace but instead finding only the darkness to comfort her. She was still disoriented when she finally stood up and began trying to piece things together, to make some sense out of what had happened to her.
She had been in her grandfather’s back yard just moments earlier, running after Jessie…but why? Then she remembered–the glimmer. First, the bird had disappeared into it, then Jessie….
Rachel turned to look around and found Jessie sitting on the ground a few yards away, looking around much as she had been doing. Next to Jessie was Michael, who held Eli close.
Relieved that everyone was safe, Rachel looked up to find herself staring at a dark and alien sky. She gasped and her eyes widened at what she saw. Instead of the sun hanging in a beautiful blue sky, there was a massive orange and red gas giant, which consumed much of the night sky high above them. Wherever they were, it was now clear to her that they were no longer even on Earth.
Among the infinite number of stars visible in the night sky, Rachel looked for but was unable to find any familiar star patterns. Orion’s belt, Taurus, Sagittarius, even the Moon; all of them were—missing. After trying for several minutes she was still unable to make out any of the constellations. Furthermore, the stars appeared to be much larger and brighter than any she had ever seen before on Earth.
Her gaze fell from the sky back down to the surface as she began surveying her immediate surroundings. She found that despite the considerable light radiating from the stars overhead, it was difficult to make out anything more than vague shapes in any direction…
“Michael, what do you think happened?” Rachel asked. “How do you suppose we got here? Am I imagining this, or is it just some incredible dream?”
“I don’t know what happened or how we got here, Rachel, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dream,” he answered…
With the initial shock and acceptance of their new reality behind them, Rachel began thinking about how they had traveled from Earth to wherever they were now, and what their next move should be.
“Michael, why don’t you help me try to find that glimmering thing we came through? It should be right here somewhere; it’s probably just hard to see.”
“What do you think that thing was, Rachel?”
“I’m not sure,” she answered casually.
“Do you think it could be one of those Einstein-Rohlp thingies?” asked Michael.
“You mean an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, a wormhole?”
“Yeah, something like that. I saw something one time on a science channel on television talking about that.”
Rachel rubbed her chin and considered it for a moment. “I suppose it must be something like that, Michael. I mean, how else could we have stepped through that shimmery-portal thing and gotten here from Grandpa’s backyard?”
“Exactly,” Michael answered, pleased with himself for having remembered something from television that was actually useful.
“Well, wormhole, portal, or whatever, we’ve got to find it if we’re ever going to get back home,” she stated. She began walking around, gradually working her way farther and farther from where they had been talking. In just a few minutes she and Michael were already well beyond where the portal should have been, but without success in finding it.”
Wormholes. In movies like Stargate and its subsequent television series spinoff, Stargate SG1 (one of my all-time favorite science-fiction series, by the way) two stargates, each in its own star system, separated by many light-years, form a wormhole between them once the stargate is activated, allowing people and equipment to cross the incredible distance of interstellar space in virtually the same amount of time it would take them to walk through a doorway.
Used by science-fiction writers, like yours truly, for over a decade now in one form or another, wormholes are a creation of science-fiction, a means of conveniently allowing our characters to jump from one place in the universe to another in an instant. In the Way of Nacor, on a pleasant the four Seekers children are enjoying a beautiful afternoon visiting at their grandfather’s house our in the more rural part of the county, when they encounter a mysterious portal, a wormhole, which transports them to an alien world in a remote corner of the galaxy, where they must undertake a quest for an ancient relic and successfully pass several trials if they ever want to return home again.
But are wormholes merely the stuff of science-fiction? Well, according to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, wormholes, also called Einstein-Rosen bridges may, in fact, actually exist; at least the theory allows for their existence. So, what is a wormhole? Consider the following excerpt from a post on the Space.Com website:
Wormholes were first theorized in 1916, though that wasn’t what they were called at the time. While reviewing another physicist’s solution to the equations in Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, Austrian physicist Ludwig Flamm realized another solution was possible. He described a “white hole,” a theoretical time reversal of a black hole. Entrances to both black and white holes could be connected by a space-time conduit.
In 1935, Einstein and physicist Nathan Rosen used the theory of general relativity to elaborate on the idea, proposing the existence of “bridges” through space-time. These bridges connect two different points in space-time, theoretically creating a shortcut that could reduce travel time and distance. The shortcuts came to be called Einstein-Rosen bridges, or wormholes.”
Scientists are scrambling to find evidence of wormholes in nature or better yet, to create a wormhole, no matter how small. If they exist, scientists want to determine whether they could potentially be used for crossing the vast distances of space-time without butting-up against the harsh penalties imposed by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
Imagine for a moment, the two following scenarios, and imagine which you would prefer. Both scenarios involve an interstellar space traveler whose destination is a planet, one million light-years from Earth.
Scenario 1-Now in this scenario, our traveler will be flying a ship, a very fast ship, which can make the journey to this distant planet in let’s say, one month, from the traveler’s perspective (not the Earth’s). That means that while only one month passes on the ship, a million years passes back on Earth. This is, of course, the penalty for traveling interstellar distances at or near the speed of light. Imagine returning home to find two-million years have passed while you were gone for two months!
Scenario 2-This time, our intrepid traveler, who by the way has a fa
mily waiting for him or her back home on Earth, takes the same ship headed for the same distant planet one million light-years from Earth, but this time our he or she flies the ship through a wormhole soon after exiting Earth’s orbit. The ship exits the wormhole almost instantaneously on the other end just outside the orbit of the destination planet, one million light-years away, only minutes or hour from takeoff.
Which of these two methods of interstellar travel would you prefer? There are, of course, alternatives, such as the idea of generational ships, where people board fully intending to live out their lives aboard the ship, expecting it to be several lifetimes before the ship reaches its final-destination. This traveler would, of course, be leaving it to his or her descendants to reap the benefits of the sacrifices being made by giving up the blue sky of Earth for the inside of a ship and the blackness of space for the rest of his or her life.
The time-dilation consequence of near-the-speed-of-light travel, revealed in the General Theory of Relativity, was highlighted in the film, Interstellar. While on an interstellar mission the lead character, played by Matthew McConaughey, ages only a few days while his daughter, only ten years old when he left home, is an old woman dying of natural causes when he returns home, a consequence, in part, of flying at speeds approaching the speed of light.
So, unless all interstellar travelers take their loved ones and friends with them or indeed, have no loved ones or friends, they will suffer great loss each time they board an interstellar flight, for while only days, weeks, or months may pass on board the ship they are on, years, decades, or perhaps even centuries or more could pass back on Earth, depending on how fast they travel.
Thus, like the warp drive, or the hyper-drive, the wormhole solves the problem of interstellar travel, allowing our intrepid interstellar traveler to happily traverse the stars from nine-to-five, with plenty of time to be home in time for dinner.
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