Black holes are awesome, we all know what they’re capable of, but how do black holes even impact us human beings on earth from deep space? Well for one, it could lead to the destruction of earth. If there were ever the chance of a physicist creating a tiny black hole in a lab, and lose control of it, it would essentially spaghettify everything and anything in its path and ultimately wipe out the entire human race and our planet.

Of course that’s only a theory, as are most of all theories, but black holes do have a scientifically-based impact on earth directly. Primordial black holes can nudge an asteroid towards earth as said by Alexander Shatskiy of the Lebedev Institue in Moscow, Russia. The black hole would need only to pass near an asteroid belt to knock an asteroid out of orbit and send it flying to our planet. However, you have no need to worry! Shatskiy’s calculations suggest that the future impact will happen every one hundred million years or so, therefore you have no need to worry about an asteroid hitting earth at any time in the near future.

Another scientifically-based and proven impact that black holes can have on humanity are gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time caused by the collision of two black holes which were circling each other before its collision. As these two black holes collided, they merged and formed an ever-larger black hole whilst sending out gravitational waves as they came together. Until recently, gravitational waves have been a theory predicted in Einstein’s equations. Finally, we have created a detector with technology advanced enough to detect these faint ripples in space-time. As stated from Stephen Hawking, “Gravitational waves provide a completely new way of looking at the universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionize astronomy”. And this is true, for gravitational waves allow physicists to show scientists new features of cosmic objects, thus changing the ordinary person’s view of stars.

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An artists’ rendition of two spiralling black holes, which would then collide to emit gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves would help us with detecting astronomical phenomenons such as supernovas. In the past, scientists have detected supernovas through its emitted light. However, light is often blocked by dust. Luckily, gravitational waves come straight out of a supernova and with today’s technology, we are able to detect whenever a supernova takes place. However, it may be awhile before our machines detect gravitational waves right at the time of the supernova taking place, because it takes lightyears for the ripples to pass through earth depending on its distance from our planet. Fortunately, there are many more uses for gravitational waves. It gives us the ability to study neutron stars with clearer measurements. For perspective, a teaspoon of neutron-star material is equivalent to a billion tons on earth. Gravitational waves would especially be helpful in studying neutron stars since it gives clues of what happens to regular matter under such harsh conditions. It also carries information about the interior of neutron stars all the way to earth, helping us better understand neutron stars as a whole.

Studying black holes and their collisions are important due to the fact that the gravity of large objects warp space-time, the way a bowling ball changes the shape of a trampoline as it rolls around on it. As a result, other objects in the galaxy would move differently.

However, there are also many theoretical ideas that have emerged as a result of inquiring minds searching for the reason why black holes are formed and how it would impact our universe as we know it. These theories contain the ability to travel through space at the speed of light, enter a hidden universe through a black hole, or even enter a baby universe. First, in order to prove these theories, we must find a way to travel through the black hole, despite the fact that in the middle of a black hole its mass reaches infinity, also known as a singularity. Luckily, Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen formed a theory that creates a wormhole between a black and a white hole. First off, a white hole is the exact opposite of a black hole. Things can enter a black hole but not escape, and a white hole is something where stuff can come out of, but not fall into. Therefore the “Einstein-Rosen” bridge was formulized. Due to Einstein’s equations, wormholes were suggested to exist, but unfortunately were found to be very unstable and collapse if any particle were to enter it. However, the Einstein-Rosen bridge provided an alternate way that would allow one to enter a wormhole without it collapsing and essentially killing the person. In theory, it was stated that a spinning black hole would collapse to a “ring of fire” which continuously spins. Because the ring is continuously spinning, the centrifugal forces would keep the wormhole from collapsing. This would allow the possibility of connecting parallel universes or even the distant parts of the same universe. Or, it could lead us to the discovery of a different universe as a whole. As stated by Nikodem Poplawski of Indiana University in Bloomington, “maybe the huge black holes at the center of the Milky Way and other galaxies are bridges to different universes”. And of course, if we are not able to transport ourselves to other universes, there is always the theory that a baby universe would branch from our own. By the principle of Hawking radiation, a black hole would emit particles and lose mass, thus creating a baby universe that branches from our own. This is where particles that fell into the black hole in our universe would emit to, and particles from that universe that fell into their black hole are emitted from a black hole in our universe.

Black holes can have a profound impact on society as a whole, through capabilities to study new characteristics of cosmological objects, or even to formulate interesting theories of the universe. They also give physicists the ability to view the universe with a different perspective due to its strong gravitational force that has the strength to warp space-time. When new discoveries arise and are released to the public, there is a possibility that it will change our current view of the universe as a whole. It may even change what we understand about the laws of science or even about black holes themselves. There’s no telling of the future and what we’ll discover (unless we formulate the theory of everything), but tomorrow’s discoveries can warp the way we study astrology.

References:

Ananthaswamy, Anil. Every Black Hole may hold a Universe. New Scientist, 2010

Cofield, Calla. “Gravitational Waves: What their Discovery means for Science and Humanity.”
Space.com. Discovery, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

“Gravitational Waves – The Impact on You, Me, and the World.” NDTV.com 12. Feb. 2016. Web. 11 March. 2016.

Hawking, Stephen. Black Holes and Baby Universes and other Essays. New York, Bantam Books, 1993.

Hawking, Stephen. Into a Black Hole – Stephen Hawking. Web. 08 Mar. 2016

Hawking, Stephen, and Leonard Mlodinow. A Briefer History of Time. New York, Bantam Books, 2005. Print.

O’Neill, Ian. “Hawking: Gravitational Waves could Revolutionize Astronomy.” Space.com Discovery, 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Primordial Black Holes can nudge an asteroid in our way. New Scientist, 2008.

Redd, Nola Taylor. “Black Holes: Facts.” Space.com Discovery, 9 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Strauss, Mark. “Black Holes.” The New Book of Popular Science. Grolier Online, 2016. WE. 11 Mar. 2016.

Susskind, Leonard. “The Cosmic Landscape. String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design.” New York, Little Brown and Co. Print.

Tyson, Neil de Grasse. Death by Black Hole. W.W Norton & Company. New York, London 2007. Print.

Zandonella, Catherine. “Astrophysicist Greene studies the Bright Side of Black Holes.” Princeton University. Trustees of Princeton University, 09 July 2015. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.

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