Black holes may be a portal that can transfer matter to another part of the universe, rather than destroying it, a new study has claimed.
One of the biggest problems when studying black holes is that the laws of physics as we know them cease to apply in their deepest regions.
Large quantities of matter and energy concentrate in an infinitely small space, the gravitational singularity, where space-time curves towards infinity and all matter is destroyed.
However, a new study at the Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC) in Spain suggests that matter might in fact survive its foray into these space objects and come out the other side.
Scientists propose considering the singularity as if it were an imperfection in the geometric structure of space-time.
By doing so they resolve the problem of the infinite, space-deforming gravitational pull.
"Black holes are a theoretical laboratory for trying out new ideas about gravity," said Gonzalo Olmo, a researcher at the University of Valencia (UV) in Spain.
Specifically, in this work he has applied geometric structures similar to those of a crystal or graphene layer, not typically used to describe black holes, since these geometries better match what happens inside a black hole.
"Just as crystals have imperfections in their microscopic structure, the central region of a black hole can be interpreted as an anomaly in space-time, which requires new geometric elements in order to be able to describe them more precisely," said Olmo.
Using these new geometries, the researchers obtained a description of black holes whereby the centre point becomes a very small spherical surface.
This surface is interpreted as the existence of a wormhole within the black hole.
"In the first instance we resolve the problem of the singularity, since there is a door at the centre of the black hole, the wormhole, through which space and time can continue," Olmo said.
The wormhole predicted by the equations is smaller than an atomic nucleus, but gets bigger with the charge stored in the black hole.
So, a hypothetical traveller entering a black hole of this kind would be stretched to the extreme, or "spaghettified," and would be able to enter the wormhole. Upon exiting they would be compacted back to their normal size.
Seen from outside, these forces of stretching and compaction would seem infinite, but the traveller himself, living it first-hand, would experience only extremely intense, and not infinite, forces.
The model proposed by the researchers posits that matter would not be lost inside the singularity, but rather would be expelled out from the other side through the wormhole at its centre to another region of the universe.
The study was published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.