Would it be possible for a spaceship to fly through space with the propellant stored off-ship through a wormhole? The propellant-tender end of the wormhole wouldn't need to move, so the ship-end should be far lighter than the propellant that can be used. There would also be the advantage that the tender could be refilled regardless of where the ship is. It seems like this would keep physics intact, but still allow for a ship to fly with more propellant than it could carry. Is this possible, and would it work as I have described?

  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like a recipe for some sort of perpetual motion to me $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    May 22 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Slarty How????? $\endgroup$ May 22 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ Any movement of mass through the wormhole which ended up at a higher position in a gravitational field (however slight the difference) could lead to perpetual motion $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    May 22 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Slarty That is just a general consideration of wormholes, not anything specific to this question $\endgroup$ May 22 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ If you can control wormholes so well that you can install one inside your ship, then I honestly don't see why you need (most of) the ship. Keep the crew and all the complex equipment at home. The "ship" consists of the reaction nozzle, the wormhole attachment...and very little else. And, yeah, it can easily be used as a perpetual motion machine, so the obligatory Simpsons reference $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    May 22 at 18:55

Not as we understand wormholes, first, you are making the mistake of assuming that wormholes are some kind of physical, movable object. This they are not, Wormholes are simply compact regions of spacetime, particularly one whose boundary is topologically trivial, but whose interior is simply connected. It is not that simply to just "move" this along with a ship. This has various issues in the manner in which they work, and even not counting all of this, the mass of the wormhole itself makes it hard to move, and far surpass the weight of the fuel.

There is also the fact that in a traversable wormhole you would be faced with a strong repulsive force on the ship-end. You would have to find a way to deal with this, without completely getting rid of this force. As this force is required for the fuel to leave it.

Also, if I do understand it all correctly, it would mess too much with the connective "pipe" between the two ends if one keeps moving. This would likely mess with the information passing through the wormhole while it is moving. Though I am not a professional in the field of wormholes, so take this with a grain of salt. It is just that the formula and resultant effects would undergo various changes with changing coordinates as I understand it.

Ellis Drainholes should be most relevant to this use, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_drainhole

You can read an overview here


You are forgetting that to keep the exit end of the wormhole with you while you travel, you will have to move it with you.

My bet is that a wormhole is way more massive than the fuel and the tank you are keeping on the other side, so you are saving nothing.

  • $\begingroup$ But the wormhole can be used continuously without refilling, and if it used for long enough, then it must eventually reach a point where the total mass it has expelled exceeds its mass $\endgroup$ May 22 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing My Wormhole manual says that wormhole exit is stationary, relative to its entry point. And that mass is some higher function of the amount of mass that has passed through it. You may be using a different brandname of Wormhole generator? $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    May 22 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ I would argue that it depends on the dimensions of the wormhole being 'carried' by the ship in question. Microscopic holes might be relativity easy to accelerate. The real problem I think would be devising a way to 'trap' one end of the hole in the first place. If both ends of the wormhole can be trapped by a complex arrangement of magnetic fields or some such - no problem. If not? So assuming that (A) they exist & (B) you can actually 'trap' them, once you've done so it would be possible to send the energy/mass needed for the (very slow) acceleration of a small probe to another star system. $\endgroup$
    – Mon
    May 23 at 9:27

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