If You’re Going to Fall Into a Black Hole, Make Sure It’s Rotating

In "Interstellar" Matthew McConaughey saves the day by traveling into a black hole. New research suggests this could be possible. (Image © Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros.)

It’s no secret that black holes are objects to be avoided, were you to plot yourself a trip across the galaxy. Get too close to one and you’d find your ship hopelessly caught sliding down a gravitational slippery slope toward an inky black event horizon, beyond which there’s no escape. The closer you got the more gravity would yank at your vessel, increasingly more on the end closest to the black hole than on the farther side until eventually the extreme tidal forces would shear both you and your ship apart. Whatever remained would continue to fall, accelerating and stretching into “spaghettified” strands of ship and crew toward—and across—the event horizon. It’d be the end of the cosmic road, with nothing left of you except perhaps some slowly-dissipating “information” leaking back out into the Universe over the course of millennia in the form of Hawking radiation. Nice knowin’ ya. That is, of course, if you were foolish enough to approach a non-spinning black hole. Were it to have a healthy rotation to it there’s a possibility, based on new research, that you and your ship could survive the trip intact. A team of researchers from Georgia Gwinnett College, UMass Dartmouth, and the University of Maryland have designed new supercomputer models to study the exotic physics of quickly-rotating black holes, a.k.a. : 10 Amazing Facts About Black Holes Because the environment around black holes is so intense (and physics inside them doesn’t play by the rules) creating accurate models requires the latest high-tech computing power. “This has never been done before, although there has been lots of speculation for decades on what actually happens inside a black hole,” said Gaurav Khanna, Associate Physics Professor at UMass Dartmouth, whose Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research developed the precision computer —> Read More