Could wormholes be used for future space travel? A new study explains

A theory proposes that wormholes, if they exist, might be more stable than previously suggested.

 Wormhole corresponding to the maximal analytic extension of the Reissner Nordstrom metric. (photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Wormhole corresponding to the maximal analytic extension of the Reissner Nordstrom metric.
(photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A new theory has attempted to explain whether wormholes, a theoretical connection of two separate points in spacetime, can be used as a viable means for space travel in the future.

But what are wormholes?

Theorized by physics giant Albert Einstein and by American-Israeli physicist Nathan Rosen, who coined the term "Einstein-Rosen bridge," a wormhole is a hypothetical short-cut that could facilitate travel between two otherwise distant points in spacetime. Although wormholes have never been observed, their possible existence is compatible with Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, although there are counter theories that suggest they can't exist.

Before a new study by physicist Pascal Koiran, it was widely believed that a form of theoretical exotic matter would be needed to keep a wormhole open, as it would disappear quickly after its creation without a force to prevent it from closing.

But a study published in the scientific journal arXiv in October suggests that wormholes might be more stable than previously thought.

Albert Einstein (credit: PIXABAY)Albert Einstein (credit: PIXABAY)

Koiran proposes to analyze wormholes using the Eddington-Finkelstein metric, not the popular Schwartzchild metric commonly used to analyze black holes.

The study found that by using the Eddington-Finkelstein metric, a particle could be documented crossing the event horizon – the crossing point into the wormhole – go through it and reach the other side in a finite amount of time. That means the path of a particle passing through a wormhole could be more easily traced using this metric. 

If particles can cross through a wormhole and reach the other side unharmed, perhaps someday humans might be able to travel through a wormhole and reach distant points in spacetime that are currently beyond reach.