If your starship ran into a black hole, it wouldn't just drop into the void like the Titanic sunk into the North Atlantic.
Instead, you'd be caught in the black hole's ferocious gravitational pull and slip toward its center of infinite density.
Gravity would yank on the closest part of you and your ship until you became "spaghettified" and turned into paper-thin strands of matter. Eventually, your spaghetti self would slip over the event horizon (also known as the black hole's point of no return), everything would go black and you'd be lost forever.
If Stephen Hawking's theory is right, then tiny little bits of you might escape from the black hole over time in the form of radiation, but otherwise you'd be toast.
But if you do ever find yourself near a black hole, there may be a shred of good news — that is, if it's spinning rather than stationary. New research published in the journal Physical Review D suggests that you might be able to survive the inside of a spinning black hole.
A team of researchers figured this out by creating the first-ever computer model of a quickly spinning black hole, called a Kerr black hole.
"It has often been assumed that objects approaching a black hole are crushed by the increasing gravity," Lior Burko, a physicist who worked on the research, said in a press release. "However, we found that while gravitational forces increase and become infinite, they do so fast enough that their interaction allows physical objects to stay intact as they move toward the center of the black hole."
So if your black hole is spinning fast enough, you might just live to tell the tale.
What's more, the researchers say, this lends some small credence to the science-fiction idea that black holes could act as a portal or wormhole for interstellar travel.
But black holes are still one of the most mysterious celestial objects, and scientists still have a lot more to learn about them — for example, we still don't know how they form or why they sometimes violently erupt. Figuring out how to survive a black hole is probably not high on their research list. Despite what the sci-fi movie Interstellar made you imagine, the danger of ending up in a black hole is pretty low.
h/t Universe Today