Space news: Stephen Hawking’s ‘black hole time machine’ proposal to NASA revealed | Science | News


Stephen Hawking was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was the director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge before his death last year. His scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. 

In 2010, Hawking wrote his own Discovery Channel series, “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking,” where the scientist was voiced by actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

In episode two, Hawking revealed how NASA could one day use a black hole to time travel.

He said: “I like to imagine how a spaceship might someday be able to take advantage of this spectacular phenomena. 

“Of course, it would first have to avoid being sucked in, the trick I think would be to aim just off to the side so they’d miss it.

“They’d have to be on exactly the right trajectory and speed or they’d never escape.

“Get it right and the ship would be pulled into orbit, a giant circle 30 million miles in diameter.

“Here it would be safe, its speed would be enough to keep it from falling any further in.”

Hawking continued, explaining how time could be slashed in half by following his theory.

He added: “If a space agency were controlling the mission from Earth, or anywhere else far away from the black hole, they’d observe that each full orbit took 60 minutes.

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He continued: “The ship and its crew would be travelling through time, imagine they circle the black hole for five of their years.

“10 years would have passed elsewhere and when they got home, everyone on Earth would have aged five years more than they had.

“The crew of the spacecraft would return to a future Earth, they would have made a journey not only in space but in time.

“So a supermassive black hole is a time machine, but of course it’s not exactly practical, it’s pretty dangerous, it’s a long way away and it doesn’t even take us very far into the future.”



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