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Space

Date: Sun Oct 20 01:18:16 1996
Posted by: Phoebe Lam
Grade level: 4-6
School/Organization: Crismon Elementary
City: Mesa State/Province: AZ
Country: USA

Message:

1. Had anybody known been into a wormhole? 2. How come a wormhole can crushed object inside, how can it do that?


First of all, we need to talk about what a wormhole is!

A wormhole is a shortcut through space. To see what this means, take a piece of paper and draw a dot at both ends of the sheet (so that they are about 30 centimeters apart). Now draw imagine you are an ant, and you have to get from one dot to the other. It's a long walk!

Now, take the paper and fold it so that the dots are only 1 centimeter apart. If you could walk through the air separating the dots (remember, you're an ant!) you'd have a much shorter walk: only one centimeter, not 30! You would be taking a shortcut from one dot to the other.

Albert Einstein (and many others) theorized that space itself may be folded like that piece of paper. If that's true, then maybe there are also shortcuts from one place to another, like tunnels through a mountain. They named these theoretical tunnels "wormholes", because there are like the tunnels a worm leaves when it goes through an apple. Some people think that black holes are connected by wormholes through space.

Remember, wormholes are only theory. No one knows if they exist or not. So no one has ever gone through one, except on "Star Trek"!

Now for your second question, it turns out that because of the way space bends, wormholes (if they exist!) may not be stable. They may only exist for extremely short times, like millionths of a second or even less. So even if you could get in one, it would collapse before you could go anywhere.

It would be very nice if wormholes really do exist, and they are big enough and stable enough for us to go through. We could explore the whole Galaxy much faster that way!

If you want to know more about wormholes, black holes and bent space, try these links:

  • This page has a list of questions and answers about black holes, and has some info on wormholes and bent space.

  • A more complicated explanation can be found here. It has neat pictures, too.

  • Ever see the television show "Newton's Apple"? They have a web site with black hole info, and even a game/project you can do to show how a black hole works!


  • ©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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