If Zilong Li and Cosimo Bambi of the Fudan University in Shanghai are correct, what we thought was a massive black hole in the centre of our galaxy could be a wormhole that would allow instantaneous travel between two points in space and time. In fact, it may be the gateway to a different universe.
They even go beyond that -- their paper says that every supermassive black hole candidate in other galaxies can actually be wormholes created in the early universe.
The supermassive black hole candidates at the center of every normal galaxy might be wormholes created in the early Universe and connecting either two different regions of our Universe or two different universes in a Multiverse model.
Their theory may sound fantastic, but it's not a completely crazy idea. Wormholes are allowed under the Theory of General Relativity. In fact, while they have never been observed, this hypothetical topological phenomenon of space-time was first postulated by Albert Einstein himself and his friend Nathan Rosen.
But while the equations indicate that they may exist -- and, so far, General Relativity has been accurate in its predictions -- we need to actually detect one to prove they exist.
Li and Bambi think this will be possible in a couple of years, when a new instrument called Gravity becomes operative at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, the European Space Observatory located on the top of Cerro Paranal, 74.5 miles (120 kilometers) south of Antofagasta, Chile. From their paper:
Indeed, the origin of these supermassive objects is not well understood, topological non-trivial structures like wormholes are allowed both in general relativity and in alternative theories of gravity, and current observations cannot rule out such a possibility. In a few years, the VLTI instrument GRAVITY will have the capability to image blobs of plasma orbiting near the innermost stable circular orbit of SgrA∗, the supermassive black hole candidate in the Milky Way. The secondary image of a hot spot orbiting around a wormhole is substantially different from the one of a hot spot around a black hole, because the photon capture sphere of the wormhole is much smaller, and its detection could thus test if the center of our Galaxy harbors a wormhole rather then a black hole.
If confirmed -- and that's a big IF for now -- does this mean that we will be able of instantaneous intergalactic travel by going to the center of our galaxy? We can't say now. What we know is what is possible under Einstein's general relativity. The theoretical work says that
1) Wormholes can exist.
2) Wormholes would allow matter to travel faster than light (FTL) because, while objects passing through a wormhole would still move at sub-light speeds locally (therefore obeying Einstein's first commandment: Thou shall not travel faster than light!) they will go from one point of the universe to the other much faster than a beam of light travelling outside the wormhole, through regular space.
3) Wormholes would allow to travel in time. This is way too complex to explain here, but you can make your head explode at any time by reading this.
4) Wormholes may connect different universes, which ties with the idea of many parallel universes derived from quantum mechanics. This avoids any time paradox because,according to some recent theories, "a particle returning form the future [through a wormhole] does not return to its universe of origin but to a parallel universe." I know, Marty, my mind is collapsing into a tiny black hole right now.
This all means that we really don't have a clue about what may be happening yet when going through a wormhole. We just have a lot of equations that seem to work and, according to Zilong Li and Cosimo Bambi, the possibility of testing the existence of wormholes in the very near future using a new scientific instrument.
And that, my friends, is very exciting on its own, no matter what the final result is.