Growing up, one of my favorite games to play was the space pinball found on our home computer. In the game, there were several tricks and cool traps that would boost your score or spell disaster if you hit them. One of these traps was the wormhole: the pinball goes into one side and is shot out from a completely different location! So what exactly are wormholes and how do they work?
According to Space.com, a wormhole is “a theoretical passage through space-time that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe.” First proposed by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity in collaboration with Nathan Rosen, a wormhole is created by a warp in space-time that makes a “bridge” between two separate locations in space-time. Yet to this day no wormholes have been found in the universe. Although some propose that black holes are mouths of wormholes, this has not been proven and is actually unlikely.
Wormholes pop up in science fiction very often, usually as a means of time travel. Yet according to NASA’s Eric Christian, “A wormhole is not really a means of going back in time, it’s a short cut, so that something that was far away is much closer.” Furthur speculated uses of wormholes is as a means of traveling between different universes. In the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, for instance, scientists create a wormhole that connects the Upside Down with our universe. Seeing as scientists have yet to find an actual wormhole, however, these temporary lapses in space-time will exist solely in science fiction for the time being.