An extremely advanced extraterrestrial civilization may have created a transportation network of wormholes around the universe, and we might even be able to detect them.
While it seems like a far-fetched theory, a new article published in BBC Science Focus suggests that it might not be.
According to astrophysicist Fumio Abe of Nagoya University, we may have already captured evidence of such a network in existing observations, but lost it in the sea of data, leading to the intriguing prospect that re-analyzing observations could lead to a breakthrough in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence ( SETI ).
“If wormholes have throat radii between 100 and 10 million kilometers, are bound to our galaxy, and are as common as ordinary stars, detection could be achieved by re-analyzing previous data,” Abe told Science Focus.
This suggests one more techno signature to look out there to discover other civilizations in the universe.
Gravitational Microlensing To Search For Wormholes
In simple terms, wormholes are theoretical tunnels with two ends at separate points in time and space. While they don’t violate Einstein’s general theory of relativity, we still have no idea if they could actually exist, let alone if a sufficiently advanced civilization would be capable of producing them.
However, for a wormhole to exist, astronomical amounts of energy would be needed.
“Intrinsically unstable, a wormhole would need ‘stuff’ with repulsive gravity to keep each mouth open, and energy equivalent to that emitted by an appreciable fraction of the stars in a galaxy,” the article explains. The idea would be that “if aliens have created a network of wormholes, it might be detectable by gravitational microlensing.”
To date, no evidence has been found that known space-time contains such structures, so it is currently only a theoretical possibility in science.
That technique has been used in the past to detect thousands of exoplanets and distant stars by identifying how they bend light. Whether it could be used to detect wormholes, to be clear, is an open question.
Fortunately, detecting wormholes is not our only chance of detecting life elsewhere in the universe. The brief also notes the search for theoretical megastructures that harness the energy of a star by completely enclosing it ( Dyson spheres ), or atmospheric chemicals linked to technological pollution, or extremely thin reflective spacecraft called solar sails, any of which theoretically could lead us to discover an extraterrestrial civilization.
The concept of wormholes is a tantalizing prospect—in fact, a theoretical guide to making them has even been published. Being able to build them would allow us to travel great expanses of space and time, or allow species more advanced than ours to visit us from the other side of the galaxy.