a Black Hole
famous Canadian Science Fiction writer
Mark A. Carter reprints an article from
livescience.com written by
Natalie Wolchover from April
13, 2012 to refute the premise in
Christopher Nolan's film Interstellar
that a human being can pass through a Black Hole intact.
According to British Astrophysicist
Sir Martin Rees, if you fell into a
Black Hole, your brain and body would dissociate instantly
into subatomic particles, and stetch in a process he calls
Simulated view of a black hole of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Credit: Alain R | Wikipedia Commons
Note: the original title of this
article was "What Would Happen If You Fell into a Black
holes are without question some of the strangest places
in the universe. They are so massive that they
hideously deform space and time. They are so dense that
their centers are called points
at infinity. And they are
pitch-black because not even light can escape them. It
isn't surprising that so many people wonder what it would be
like to visit one?
It's not exactly a restive vacation
spot, as it turns out.
you were to take a step into a black hole, your body would most
closely resemble toothpaste being extruded out of the tube,"
said Charles Liu,
an Astrophysicist who works
at the American Museum of Natural
History's Hayden Planetarium.
said that when an object crosses a
black hole's event horizon or its outer boundary,
or point of no return, the
same physics that causes Earth's
ocean tides begins to take effect. Gravity's strength decreases
with distance, so the moon pulls on the side of the
Earth closer to it a bit more vigorously than the side
farther from it, and as a result,
Earth elongates ever so slightly in the direction of
the moon. The land is sturdy, so it doesn't move much, but the
water on Earth's surface is
fluid, so it flows along the elongated axis.
"That's the tidal interaction," he said.
Rising tides are about as calming
a scene as there is. But if a human being was to stick his big
toe over the event horizon
of a black hole not so much.
black hole roughly the size of
Earth, tidal forces are magnified off the scale.
Swan-diving into one, the top of your head would feel so much
more gravitational pull than the tips of your toes that you would
be stretched, longer and longer. The
British Astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees coined the term
which is a perfectly good way to put it. You eventually become
a stream of subatomic particles that swirl into the
Because your brain would dissociate
into its constituent atoms almost instantly, you'd have little
opportunity to soak in the scenery at the threshold of an
Earth-size black hole.
However, if you're dead set on
visiting a space-time singularity,
we recommend going big. Bigger
black holes have less extreme surfaces.
"If you had a black hole the size of our solar system, then
the tidal forces at the event horizon would not be that strong.
So you could actually maintain your structural integrity,"
In that case, you would get to
experience the effects of the curvature of
space-time, predicted by Einstein's
General Theory of Relativity, first hand.
of all, you approach the speed of light as you fall into the
black hole. So the faster you move
through space, the slower you move through time,"
he said. "Furthermore, as you
fall, there are things that have been falling in front of you
that have experienced an even greater time dilation than
you have. So if you're able to look forward toward the black
hole, you see every object that has fallen into it in the past.
And then if you look backwards, you'll be able to see everything
that will ever fall into the black hole behind you."
the upshot is you'll get to see the entire history of that spot
in the universe simultaneously," he said,
"from the Big Bang all the way into the distant future."
Not such a bad way to go, in
the grand scheme of things.
So, the way I
understand this, Joe Cooper's
chance of surviving the journey through the
Black Hole named Gargantua,
in Christopher Nolan's
film Interstellar is
non-existent. At best it is highly improbable, most likely impossible,
but nevertheless utterly unbelieveable. Most predictably, Cooper
would be crushed and stretched into non-existence. For
human beings, travelling through a
Black Hole is the equivalent of being
disintegrated. And much like
Humpty Dumpty, once you fall off the wall, you cannot
be put back together again.