Wormholes have been a staple of science fiction since the birth of the genre, but aside from speculation, we know nothing about them. As far as science is concerned, we have no proof that they even exist — Yet.
What goes in must come out
In a way, wormholes are theorized to be a lot like black holes: Massive gravity wells that drag in the nearby matter. What differentiates the two is that wormholes aren’t as violent as black holes and light can escape their grasp. Wormholes are also theorized to form a sort of tunnel through spacetime, spitting out collected matter at the other end in a “white hole.”
In science fiction, wormholes provide a space travel loophole by allowing ships to pass through a sort of shortcut created by the connecting tube between ends, cutting travel time significantly. It’s all theoretical at this point, but using light and gravitational waves, we might soon have answers.
Trying to find a wormhole in the vastness of space is a lot like searching for a unicorn. We aren’t sure where to look or what the best method for finding one is, so we’re left to speculate. Roman Konoplya, an associate professor at Institute of Gravitation and Cosmology at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, has some ideas.
Konoplya believes that our best chance at spotting a wormhole might come from observing multiple signs. Light passing by the mouth of a wormhole would theoretically be red-shifted by gravity. Another anomaly that could help scientists detect wormholes is gravitational waves formed by objects orbiting the wormhole.
Our current facilities only allow us to view any wormholes that might be out there in partial-definition. If we can measure them using gravitational waves, the next step might be to create another observatory like LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).
Any object viewed using LIGO is observed essentially in black an white, as LIGO can only detect one frequency of gravitational waves. By creating more gravitational wave observatories to find other frequencies, we could paint a clearer picture of the universe using just ripples in spacetime.