4
$\begingroup$

This is my first question on the worldbuilding stack exchange, I discovered this place last night when double-checking that my world's river-carving-through-a-mountain-range is possible (it was, which is nice, very important storywise for the mountains to rule out economical transport except via this river or the parallel railway)

Anyhow, I couldn't see any question here which answers wormholes in the exact way I would need them to work in this world, though I saw quite a few interesting tidbits that do help me get my head around things a little bit...

POINT 1: Could wormholes be formed close enough to earth (and a similarly-sized planet in a similar star system 20+ ly away) to allow near-instantaneous communications?

Even earth-mars communications today (for rovers) are heavily lagged by many minutes, but I would like for the communications between these two peoples to be near-instantaneous, like a VOIP telephone call. Let's say, 5 seconds total delay between transmission, reception, and reply for a ping between the two computer nodes at either end.

Factors like response time may make people's calls take longer of course, but this much delay will be a nuisance but tolerable. It beats sending a series of damn intergalactic snapchat videos to communicate, being real-time makes things more authentic and enjoyable for communicating I guess?

POINT 2: possible to make a wormhole large enough to fit a person?

From the rest of my reading on this website, it seems that actually getting a spacecraft-sized wormhole, or even a wormhole large enough to fit a steel pipe for humans to crawl between two spaceships, would be basically impossible anytime soon given the energy requirements. These worlds are only slightly more advanced than today, in my lore the telecommunications portal opens in (current_year + 2 = 2025) so there's no super powerful dyson spheres or whatever to hold open such a portal.

EDIT: date is important. reral-world interactions with this new world is important.

Though, if it was possible to hold some wormholes open with a reasonable amount of power supply, I'd be fine with that wormhole being further away and thus requiring a months-long journey to get to the wormhole. The people on their way to the other planet need to be taught about local customs, language, and such anyway. Also time for them to learn hexadecimal maths. And a whole lot of other things.

Thank you everyone! If there is a mistake in my question, please tell me.

EDIT: my thinking was more that the other side invented it. They would've put a lot of effort into it ever since they learnt about Earth's existence (earth has been spewing out radio signals since the late 1800s) and have finally nailed it, and now wish to say hi. I'm not bothered about whether it's possible literally. Let's just say that the maths problems have been solved and it is now an engineering problem to get it done. Could a tiny wormhole terminus be safely placed in orbit around earth? Would it cause significant tidal forces? Could it deviate from the orbit and destroy

$\endgroup$
2
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ As far as anybody knows, it is not possible to create wormholes, except in the fuzziest meaning of the word possible. That is, what we know is that in the opinion of some theoretical physicists, the mathematics of General Relativity seems to allow wormholes. (This is seen a a problem with the mathematics.) But in the real physical world nobody has the faintest idea of how to create and maintain one. No way anybody will be creating wormholes in 2025. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    May 11, 2023 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP my thinking was more that the other side invented it. They would've put a lot of effort into it ever since they learnt about Earth's existence (earth has been spewing out radio signals since the late 1800s) and have finally nailed it, and now wish to say hi. I'm not bothered about whether it's possible literally. Let's just say that the maths problems have been solved and it is now an engineering problem to get it done. Could a tiny wormhole terminus be safely placed in orbit around earth? Would it cause significant tidal forces? Could it deviate from the orbit and destroy earth? $\endgroup$
    – Katy
    May 11, 2023 at 7:39

1 Answer 1

9
$\begingroup$

Welcome to World building. In modern physics wormholes are a speculative idea that does not fit well with relativity as they imply faster than light travel.

However all scientific theories are open to revision an even more so in a work of fiction. But it is difficult to appeal to physics to answer questions that are beyond physics.

As an example what if there was a place north of the North Pole? What would it be like? The obvious answer is there is no such place as spherical geometry does not allow it, but assuming there is such a place spherical geometry would be wrong and silent on what it was like.

So you are working beyond physics. Nothing wrong with that in fiction, but to make the most believable story you will need to invent some new physics or at least think of ways to mitigate obvious problems.

Could a tiny wormhole terminus be safely placed in orbit around earth? Would it cause significant tidal forces? Could it deviate from the orbit and destroy Earth? In your alternate universe these things could happen or they might not (the World is your oyster so to speak).

But to make a story believable it helps if you avoid trashing physics too badly. Imagine your wormhole is real what could you do with it apart from what is important in your story? For example could you create a perpetual motion machine? If the wormhole stretches from one gravity potential to another and you can go either way at no cost then yes you could. Solution - require an expenditure of energy when going "uphill" dependant on mass so at least energy is still conserved.

In fact it would do no harm to introduce a number of artificial restrictions such as how long the wormhole could remain open or how close to a gravity well it could be used to make it sound more plausible.

$\endgroup$
7
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for this input! I'm already bending the rules by adding something that cannot be yet proven, I just need to have confidence- thank you for showing me that. Going to share these made-up rules Wormholes can be placed in orbit (about moon-distance) They are formed within a ring, a doorframe if you will. They follows the ring and will cease to exist without it. The ring is part of a larger structure which supplies power, and houses astronauts who maintain it. 2025+ will be telecomms only, at some date before 2100 there'll be larger wormholes for actual shipping $\endgroup$
    – Katy
    May 11, 2023 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ Pt. 2. Also, I will take on that idea about no perpetual motion and no time travel. I already knew I didn't want that to be possible but more energy being required to travel "uphill" is a great implementation of that! $\endgroup$
    – Katy
    May 11, 2023 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Katy FTL communication by definition breaks causality doesn't it (=time travel)? Someone could observe you (light going from you to them) and talk through the wormhole telling you to do something that they didn't observe you doing. $\endgroup$ May 11, 2023 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting point to think about what happens if two rings cross each other. Also I suspect that there may be extremely sharp edges somewhere. Re the problem with causality, if the aliens come from far enough away the problem might appear less acutely obvious to the reader (although it would still be very real issue for some) $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    May 11, 2023 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidMulder yeah, I have thought a lot about the breaking of time and such... I suppose I will just handwave it away but a actual way to make it possible without allowing time travel would be nice. From what I know, wormholes do not necessarily break the speed of light because they're more of a shortcut. $\endgroup$
    – Katy
    May 12, 2023 at 6:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .