Wormholes Open for Transport

[Updated March 23]

Wormholes are spacetime connections between distant spacetime regions. While some have speculated that they could be used to travel faster than light, our current understanding of general relativity and quantum matter seems to forbid this possibility. 

Nevertheless, it is in principle possible to have wormhole connections which do not violate the ban on faster-than-light travel. A person traversing such a wormhole would emerge from the other side later than a signal traveling in the ambient space between these two regions. 

In previous work, Carl P. Feinberg Professor Juan Maldacena, Alexey Milekhin, and Fedor Popov constructed such wormholes using the known laws of physics and the matter of the Standard Model of particle physics. Unfortunately, such constructions are only possible for very small, microscopic wormholes.

Now, Maldacena and Milekhin have provided solutions for larger wormholes by postulating a very special type of dark matter. Though this type of dark matter most likely does not exist in our universe, it gives wormholes large enough to be traversed by a person. Its mouths have the size of the earth. Travel times are on the order of 20,000 years, as seen from the outside. Surprisingly, for the traveler, the trip lasts just a few seconds, due to the large distortion of spacetime. They are still not completely practical, since any small impurity, or even the cosmic background radiation, could lethally collide with the traveler inside.

Read the full paper at Physical Review D.

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