Black holes are among the most abundant objects in the universe, the most mysterious and also the most deadly. For a human to enter one it could mean an infinite dismemberment of the body, a slow, very slow death.
But a duo of physicists from Grinnell College set out to study how a person might venture into a black hole. and, although he could not tell the experience, at least he would manage to survive and discover what is hidden on the other side.
The first thing the teachers explain Leo Rodríguez and Shanshan Rodríguez is that for this to be even possible, the black hole has to be super massive and isolated. And if the person enters, they could not leave again or communicate with anyone on the same side of the Universe.
Black holes, in addition to being very common, are essential in the evolution of the Universe, from the Big Bang to the present day and probably had an impact on the formation of human life in our own galaxy.
But the Universe is riddled with different types of these black holes, as in a kind of intergalactic zoo. They can vary in size, and in electrical charge, similar to what happens with electrons and protons in atoms. Other types of black holes actually rotate, but there are two types of black holes that are relevant to this discussion.
“The first type does not rotate, it is electrically neutral, that is, it has no positive or negative charge, and it has the mass of our Sun. The second type is a super massive black hole, with a mass of millions and even billions of times greater. than that of our Sun ”, the experts write.
In addition to mass, these two types of black holes are differentiated by the distance from their center to their “event horizon,” a measure called radial distance.
The event horizon of a black hole is the point of no return. Everything that passes through this point will be swallowed up by the black hole and will disappear forever from our known Universe.
On the event horizon, the black hole’s gravity is so powerful that no mechanical force can overcome or counteract it. Even light, the fastest moving thing in our Universe, cannot escape, hence the term “black hole.”
The radial size of the event horizon depends on the mass of the respective black hole and is key for a person to survive by falling into one. For a black hole with a mass of our Sun (a solar mass), the event horizon will have a radius of just under 2 miles (3.2 kilometers).
At the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, there is a super massive black hole that has a mass of about 4 million solar masses, and has an event horizon with a radius of 7.3 million miles or 17 solar radii.
Therefore, someone who falls into a stellar-size black hole will get much, much closer to the center of the black hole before passing the event horizon, rather than falling into a super massive black hole.
This implies, due to the proximity of the center of the black hole, that the pull of the black hole on a person will differ by a factor of 1,000 trillion times between the head and the feet, depending on which one is leading the free fall.
In other words, if the person lands on their feet first, when they approach the event horizon of a stellar-mass black hole, the gravitational pull on their feet will be exponentially greater compared to the pull of the black hole on their head.
“The person would experience spaghetti and most likely not survive by stretching it into a long, thin noodle-like shape,” they explain.
But if a person falls into a super massive hole, the event horizon would be much further from the central source, so it would be reached in a longer time. This means that the difference in gravitational attraction between the head and the feet would be almost zero.
“Thus, the person would traverse the event horizon unaffected, would not stretch into a long, thin noodle, would survive, and would painlessly float beyond the horizon of the black hole,” they add.
Must be isolated
Another aspect to take into account is that most black holes are surrounded by a disk of very hot material, which is mostly made up of gas and dust or other objects such as stars and planets that got too close to the event horizon and fell in the black hole.
These discs are called accretion discs and they are very hot and turbulent. They are certainly not hospitable and would make traveling to the black hole extremely dangerous.
“To enter one safely, you would need to find a super massive black hole that is completely isolated and does not feed on surrounding material, gas, or even stars.” stand out.
And they add that: “If a person found an isolated supermassive black hole suitable for scientific study and decided to venture into it, everything observed or measured inside the black hole would be confined within the black hole’s event horizon.”
But nothing can escape the gravitational pull beyond the event horizon so this spectacular adventure could never be shared with anyone, the information and the findings would be the exclusive knowledge of the lucky one who, perhaps, at least in theory, would survive the experience.
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