If you create a wormhole you don't make a portal. When you enter into the wormhole you aren't teleported to the destination location (like a portal), instead you are in a "tunnel", you have to travel like going outside the wormhole but the difference is that inside the distance is much shorter. Is like move throught a mountain (with a tunnel) or move arround it, in both ways you have to move but in the first yo move less.

What would happen if the wormhole disappeared while a ship was still inside?

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    $\begingroup$ Just remember: Wormholes are still just conjectural. Nobody knows enough or can predict enough about them to give a "science-based" answer. You need to liberally apply handwavium to the wormhole to make the science slippery enough to allow a ship to go through one. $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Aug 4, 2017 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ Please read worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4582/809 $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Aug 5, 2017 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ Wormholes are mostly fictional, so it all depends. Arguably, a wormhole transport is instantaneous, so it could never happen. However, if there is a travel time in the wormhole in your system, you'd have to determine how it works to determine what would happen if it closed. $\endgroup$
    – Iter
    Aug 5, 2017 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Spencer Wormholes have a scientific basis. While that is theoretical, it is still science. Whether wormholes exist in reality is another question entirely. But a science-based answer is possible, see mine below. For more information see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormhole $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Aug 6, 2017 at 4:57

4 Answers 4


Depends on what precisely you mean by "disappear".

If it's a Morris-Thorne style wormhole, of the sort permitted under general relativity, and "disappear" means "the throat and mouths collapse", then the ship will end up stretched out in one dimension and crushed in the other two, with the mass of the ship manifesting to the outside world as the mass of a black hole that shows up where the entrance mouth used to be (minus whatever negative energy was being used to support the wormhole prior to its collapse). The former ship will end its life as Hawking radiation.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes. I was thinking that if the wormhole shrinks to nothing, then on the way the spacetime curvature would become less locally flat, and therefore gravity would likely do something terribly violent to any travelers in or adjacent to the wormhole. $\endgroup$
    – Robyn
    Aug 5, 2017 at 1:12

Most if what I've read treats a wormhole as a portal, so you would simply cut the vessel in half (messily, not cleanly, would be my guess).

If the wormhole takes a duration to transit, shutting one down should take time. The shutdown would start at one end and traverse to the other. It would dump the traveler out the still open end. Note that if the process is messy, and they could end up being broken down to sub atomic particles on the way out.

If the shut down is instantaneous, it's dealers choice since I can't think of any physics that would allow the shut down to be instant and have non-instant travel times. Do you want them to end up in a random location? Do you want them to be in some alternate reality? Do you want them to be torn into sub-atomic particles?


ShadoCat's answer assumes that "transit time" is amlost infintely shorter than "entrance/exit time." Possibly so short that there is no disruption to the human brain while you enter/exit the hole. In this case, shutting down the hole cuts whatever is crossing in half. I'm fond of that idea, but let's look at fiction, since we don't really know what a wormhole does since we've never actually encountered one (it's still just a mathematical theory).

Let's assume that transit time is long enough that you fully enter the hole before exiting it. If it shuts down while you're entering/exiting the hole, you're back to ShadoCat's answer. If you are inside when the hole shuts down, you could (depending on how holes actually work) end up somewhere in outer space — assuming you can be thrown clear of a wormhole without consequence.

In that case, since wormholes are thought to behave as if space were a piece of paper, folded in half, and the wormhole connects to otherwise very distant points, then where you end up is (theoretically) parabolically deterministic, with the odds being that you'll end up more-or-less half-way through your journey if you tried the passage through "real space."

However, physics are rarely so neat and clean. If you're looking for a real-world probability: the traveling ship will instantly become background radiation.

  • $\begingroup$ The point of the wormhole is that you are entirely skipping normal space. The illustration of the folded paper is just showing you that two, once distant, locations are now co-located. Except at the beginning and end, path you would take through normal space has no one-to-one relationship to the path you take through the wormhole. Stated differently, there is no line drawn through normal space that traces the path of the wormhole. Your description would be for something similar to Babylon 5's Hyperspace. You still travel the full distance, just faster than possible in normal space. $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2017 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Um... fiction, right? That's why I said, "(depending on how holes actually work)". $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2017 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ True, and your description is actually much more what the OP appears to be looking for anyway. $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2017 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ The classic wormhole doesn't have an "inside". $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Aug 5, 2017 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ What's a classic wormhole? The Star Trek DS9 version? The Stargate version? The mathematical version? $\endgroup$ Aug 5, 2017 at 3:48

The answer according to these guys is: --

We observe that the wormhole is unstable against Gaussian pulses in either exotic or normal massless Klein-Gordon fields. The wormhole throat suffers a bifurcation of horizons and either explodes to form an inflationary universe or collapses to a black hole, if the total input energy is respectively negative or positive. As the perturbations become small in total energy, there is evidence for critical solutions with a certain black-hole mass or Hubble constant. The collapse time is related to the initial energy with an apparently universal critical exponent. For normal matter, such as a traveller traversing the wormhole, collapse to a black hole always results. However, carefully balanced additional ghost radiation can maintain the wormhole for a limited time. The black-hole formation from a traversible wormhole confirms the recently proposed duality between them.

The spaceship gets trapped inside a black hole when the wormhole collapses. Of course, the spaceship was composed of exotic, negative energy matter it would be trapped in an inflating universe. But exotic matter spaceships may be few and far between Also, the paper is downloadable in the format of your choice from the site linked above.


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