Set in the distance future probably a type 3 civilization on a Kardashev scale, I plan to setup multiple chain of convenient stores at many wormholes where there are heavy traffics, how can I create such a map for tourist?

A wormhole is a hypothetical link between 2 or more points in space allowed by science mathematically, however you can't hop in and hope for the best the distance in the wormhole can be longer than actual. From the outside the wormhole looks like a spherical funhouse mirror anyway you get the picture of this Einstein-Rosen Bridge(just crediting the inventors).

No worry about my stores I have already established illegal casinos, brothels, safari and even a Jupiter-sized planet so currently I'm in need of a map.

To physics expert(s) I know putting any particles inside wormhole isn't possible as they will be much smaller than an atom and quickly disappear as soon as it is formed. The negative energy requires to enlarge one is on an unbelievable order of magnitude consisting of astronomical numbers some even claims it surpasses the combined power of the entire universe. But come on isn't this a world building Q&A if there's a will there should be a way isn't it?

For this question you must assume wormholes exist and not only they don't collapse (immediately or at all) they are spacious and we have unlimited exotic matters and negative energy at our disposal. In order word I can go to the edge of the universe in matters of hours(including shopping and refueling en-route) and not a one-way ticket to oblivion. Focus on making a map (static or dynamic is entirely preferential) and all wormholes are not expected to expire soon or at all. No turbulance vortex inside as I've hired experienced interior designer and contractors to do the inside already so where's my map?

  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand the question. What's the problem exactly? $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ Are your stores inside the wormholes or nearby them? Is your question about mapping the location of your stores or mapping the connection between wormholes? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Lohoris I need to pinpoint the physical location of my store which is inside a wormhole and that's the problem. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxWilliams my stores are situated inside the wormhole and I need a map to locate my store I don't need the entire map of wormhole. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 9:25
  • $\begingroup$ To keep a wormhole open only requires the presence of negative matter (this is not antimatter). Negative matter possesses negative gravity. This substance hasn't been detected but isn't forbidden by our current models of our Universe. Thread the wormhole with negative matter and it'll stay open as long as you want. You can even expand the wormhole size with it. $\endgroup$
    – Jim2B
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 13:47

5 Answers 5




To completely understand the concepts, I recommend reading several different things. Start with the Wikipedia page on Wormholes.

I also recommend reading two of the Stephan Baxter novels Manifold: Space and Manifold: Time.

There are different types of theoretical wormholes. One of them is bidirectional (Lorentzian), another is unidirectional (Schwarzschild). For the rest of this, I'm assuming we're talking about a Lorentzian wormhole.

Making a wormhole

As you mentioned, wormholes are not stable if you send photons or matter through them. However, if you can first thread them with a material called "negative matter" (not antimatter), then you can maintain a stable wormhole and send information and matter through it.

Negative Matter exhibits negative energy density and negative gravitational attraction.

Thread the wormhole with negative matter (in the shape of a cylinder perhaps) and then matter can flow through the center of this cylinder (sphere, geodesic dome?) without collapsing the wormhole. The region of space inside the wormhole is not any sort of hyperspace or "+ dimensional space". It is normal space that represents an alternative path between two points.

This path distance will always remain identical through the wormhole but the end points may be move through non-wormhole space (essentially allowing us to move our wormhole destination points).

By putting one of the wormhole end points on a ship that travels at relativistic speeds and flying it around, we could set up the wormhole to permit moving through time too (read the manifold novels for a better treatment of this subject).

I imagine that in appearance the wormhole would have some similarities to the one portrayed in Stargate franchise but the opening would always be on, would be bidirectional, and you'd be able to see through it at all times. For someone passing through the wormhole, it'd be like stepping through normal space without any observable change when passing through the opening.


The wormhole will always link its end points as a short distance through the wormhole, even when those points have wide separations in time or space outside of the wormhole.

I suspect that because the wormhole requires a rare and exotic type of matter, that if we found any of it we would not waste it trying to make space in the wormhole throat for a convenience store. There really wouldn't be any need to do so anyway, just put the store adjacent to the wormhole opening on one side or the other.

Although a wormhole's endpoints will always be linked (this opening always connects to its linked opening), you could move them about in regular space.

So you could, for example, create your wormhole bridge, move one end into Europa's ocean and the other onto the surface of Mars, open the doors and flood the surface of Mars. Or put one opening in the fuel tanks of your interstellar ship and the other in a deep part of Earth's oceans. Voila! Instant propellant tankage without having to carry the propellant around with you.

To everything involved, the region of space inside the wormhole would appear as normal space in every respect as long as the negative matter kept the wormhole throat open.


Mapping the wormhole connection points through the wormhole wouldn't be hard. Two linked points always remain linked. OTOH, since you can move the end points in normal space your maps would have to account for transport of the end points.

You could even pass a wormhole through another wormhole with no ill effects.

So your maps would need to be updated with the movement of those wormhole endpoints.

Just bear in mind, we have never observed negative matter. If it does exist, it likely only exists in extremely minute quantities in our region of space. So although this exotic material would be extremely valuable to us, it would be an extremely limited resource. Use your negative matter and wormholes wisely you might not be able to make many (any?).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, they have star-flame throwers. One wormhole end is in the center of a star and the other is mounted on a ship to be opened and closed for firing. It's a rather fun idea. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ Extremely limited: maybe it exists in the subspace accessible by the wormholes? So once one is made, it can bootstrap the network by providing a source of materials. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ These wormholes do NOT open to subspace. The tunnel is normal space in every way. You also have to fly the ends to where you wish to use them. You may be able to drop one into Europa's ocean or into a star but you have to get it there first. $\endgroup$
    – Jim2B
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 0:52

What you describe is not a wormhole. It is two separate wormholes at distant and discrete locations in our space that connect to the same artificial but stable sub-space. You move from our real-space to the sub-space at one wormhole, move a distance in the sub-space that is shorter than the the distance of the two wormholes in the real-space, and use the other wormhole to move back to the real-space at the distant location of the other wormhole has in real-space.

Incidentally, if we assume that such stable sub-spaces are possible then it probably follows that there are multiple real-spaces possible and such sub-space bridges, if naturally formed, could connect separate real-spaces. The same is of course true of simple wormholes anyway. If the bridge is artificially constructed then you probably need to first physically access both real-space locations by some other means, build the machinery needed for creating the wormholes and create the sub-space connecting them. This would require the machines at the two end-points to be somehow configure to link with each other so barring weird accidents artificially created bridges would only connect real-spaces you already can access.

Now to the actual question, since the real-space and sub-space are entirely different spaces you need to map them separately. You would use mapping conventions convenient to the space in question. Note that having multiple separate but linked maps is lots more convenient with computers and displays than it was with paper maps. So there is no real reason to even try to put all information in one map. They can be conveniently accessed thru a single interface anyway.

For the real-space locations of the wormholes use whatever convention you use for mapping planets, stars, and other astrogational real-space objects. That's all the wormhole is from the viewpoint of real-space astrogation. There should be a note the real-space location of the connected other wormhole with link to the map of that location and the sub-space distance between the wormholes with description of the conditions and services available in the sub-space. A link to the map of the sub-space would be included as well.

For sub-space you would probably assume that that ships move in straight line from there entry wormhole to their exit wormhole. The actual topology of the sub-space might or might not match this assumption. In case of artificial construction that needs energy to sustain it, it probably would be close enough. So the sub-space map would probably simply split the path between the wormholes to sections of some approximately equal length and under each section list which services are available at that section. Finding the service location within the section would probably be left to in-situ navigation. Either simple visual navigation or by equipping the sub-space with an astrogation support system that communicates with the system of the ship and directly supplies that information. Stores with multiple levels use similar systems and it seems to work well enough.

If the topology of the sub-space is more similar to the topology of the real-space, you simply you use the same system you use for the real-space. The key point really is to use multiple separate but linked maps with a computerized interface, not the details.

The final option is that there isn't actually a separate sub-space. Instead for some reason it is difficult to connect directly to the point you actually wish, but it is practical to create wormholes that can connect to arbitrary location in real-space with enough accuracy that you can put two wormholes close enough for real-space travel. This might be reasonable if you can't actually link two wormholes, but can can project the other end to a location remote from stellar masses. Say, intergalactic space. You could make this work like your scenario, if having more than two wormholes nearby is impractical. The details are not really relevant to your question.

In such scenario you'd use real-space maps similar to the above, but instead of a link to the map of sub-space you'd have links to the exit points of both the wormhole and its paired wormhole in real-space.


TL;DR: Yes... probably but you wouldn't want to. Use beacons.

Long bit: The warped space within a wormhole is likely to make any map meaningless and - although we don't currently know - probably not constant so the 'map' would likely become out of date very quickly.

You could transmit the original non-warped spacial map to tourists but your funhouse mirror analogy is very appropriate, it would be like reading it through said mirror. However if your convenience store simply broadcasts it's presence then visiting spacecraft will know it's relative position and can navigate towards/away from it as desired.

  • $\begingroup$ You are showing where the wormhole is in 4D spaces and I'm grateful however my store is situated inside the hyperspace which is probably another dimension and maybe even larger than our known universe remember my 2nd paragraph about long distance than actual. I hope you can revise your answer so that my loyal customers can reach me thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't want 3D/4D positions, the concepts of maps and "where" become kind of meaningless, don't they? Navigating higher dimensions would be very different than steering left/right/up/down and probably not something humans can easily understand, which would bring us back to letting the computer handle it and receiving all important data from Beacons, like in Scott's answer. $\endgroup$
    – Christian
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 10:32

I don't see the problem. You can make it like a subway map, showing the connectivity rather than actual positions. A store notation could be on the track between stations.

Of course, a type III civilization would not need maps. The computer knows how to take you there.


It almost sounds like you're making Honest John's in the Hall of Worlds from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Cycle (I don't remember which book it was introduced in). This is an infinitely long hall of doors that lead to different worlds in the universe/multiverse that are probably roughly equivalent to what you mean by wormholes. In this setting, you would count doors from your starting point to determine what door would take you to a given location. Mapping it would essentially be as easy as drawing a number line and putting destination names on explored numbers.

Honest John's, in this setting, has multiple entrances actually located between physical doors. Mapping this would be a matter of marking the map between the appropriate numbers, possibly with measurements to make sure you don't miss.

But it sounds like you might have the wormholes arranged in a sphere around the interior. That's okay; take any appropriate map of a sphere (here's an example of how to do that, but remember that you will be looking at the inside of the sphere instead of the outside) and put your wormholes at appropriate locations. If only a section of the sphere is known, then it's okay to just map that section; all that's necessary is a reference point (where you came in will almost certainly work for that). Points between wormholes are also just as easy to map.

If your surface is more complicated than a sphere, well, Texture mapping is a thing, and can probably also be flattened on at least a local level unless your topography gets really weird. On a non-local level - well, it can probably also be flattened, and just switch to a local map if the topology makes it confusing. Terrain features could then also be mapped, just like mountains and valleys in the real world.

If you're going into higher dimensions, then you'd probably want to work on casting it into the three dimensions the human mind is used to working with before then reducing that to two. If this proves impossible, then I don't know what to tell you.

If I'm way off on my interpretation of the question then I'm sorry, but I think that sounds like what you might be looking for.


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