The dreaded black hole, the solar-system-swallowing menace of the known universe and potentially the most destructive force ever encountered, may have a sunny side after all. Cambridge astrophysicist and resident super-genius Stephen Hawking has posed an interesting new theory pondering the potential outcomes of being trapped in a swirling black hole. While a nice pink sand beach in Bermuda is more my style of vacation, those voyaging into the angry eye of a black hole might not suffer a dematerialization, eternal imprisonment or worse.
During the Hawking Radiation Conference at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm this week, the always-riveting Hawking delivered some words of wisdom to adventurous astronauts of all ages. Here are Hawking's latest musings on the probable outcomes of venturing into the devouring gravitational void:
“If you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.”
Not exactly a predicament most of us will ever face, but according to Hawking’s comforting new theory, there are two potential ends to this unfortunate situation you just might find yourself in someday. First, you become permanently stuck in the two-dimensional storage hologram on the black hole’s murky edge, or secondly, you rocket right through the other end and portal into another universe you will be forever a captive of.
“The existence of alternative histories with black holes suggests this might be possible,” Hawking said. “The hole would need to be large and if it was rotating it might have a passage to another universe. But you couldn’t come back to our universe. So although I'm keen on space flight, I'm not going to try that."”
Actually, neither of those options is particularly appealing to me, so I'll try and restrict my leisure-time activities to the Big Blue Marble we're stuck on for now. How about you? Eager to cross over the event horizon and into the inky darkness of a black hole's violating vortex?