The Black Hole
Into the Abyss
Captain Arden, only two parsecs from his home planet began experiencing problems with the controls of his ship. Not now... not yet.. he thought, not after all I've been through.
Checking his instruments: he found that some unseen force was at work; some intense gravitational pull. But there are no black holes in this quadrant! Or so he believed.
And then he saw it, a gaping void in the space-time continuum where a giant of a star once shone, now transformed into the most dangerous object in the universe. Not a tangible object, but a region of space where gravity had gone crazy. Arden's ship was being drawn inwards and there was nothing he could do to avert his ultimate fate. It would be a one-way journey.
His ship would be stretched as it was dragged down towards the centre. "Spaghettification" is the term used to describe it; but perhaps his body would be destroyed long before this occurred.
At the core of the black hole lies the singularity, the most harrowing hypotheses in astrophysics; a place where everything is crushed into matter so dense that even light cannot escape. Time and space too, are squelched out of existence - Arden knew neither he, nor his ship would survive.
But what if, somehow, he did survive? He had heard tales of incredible journeys through a worm holes into new dimensions. What if he could avoid both the spaghettification and the singularity, ending up somewhere else, in another dimension outside of the four dimensional universe - perhaps in hyper-space? It's a widely known, though fantastic, concept, he thought but it's the only hope I have!
And what sort of a world would it be, in any number of possible worlds, if there were any number of worldly possibilities. He might become part of the quantum foam where time and space are so distorted that all knowledge of the universe is brought into question. This is where the laws of physics are thrown into chaos, when everything goes infinite and where contradictions are the only certainty. Some new scientific theory is needed to explain the unexplainable,
"And God said let there be light..." Arden thought, remembering the first command of the creator. But what was happening now? This ghostly remnant of a collapsed star, like a huge cosmic vacuum cleaner, was sucking away all the surrounding light, taking it back to its primordial state as it was before the big bang. Arden would soon witness the other end of the spectrum, the very antithesis of all creation - that ultimate dark conclusion where gravity would always hold dominion over light.
Approaching the event horizon, at the very edge of the abyss, Arden bade farewell to the universe as he perceived it. Attempting frantically, in a last desperate bid to send news of his plight, he found he could no longer transmit a signal. There was no way his family on Terra would ever know of his final moments.
Firing the retrorockets he realised their boost would buy him only a few extra moments before the ship was engulfed... little time to reflect on his life before unleashing the secrets hidden at the heart of the black hole.
All those long years I've been away and now this... he mused. Perhaps my family have already abandoned all hope of ever seeing me again. Maybe it's better this way; they would have grown o1d by now. His life had been spent scouting distant planetary systems for mineral deposits. He had travelled far, experienced much, and regretted nothing. It had been a good way to live, a life packed with narrow escapes and daring adventures and now it was time to meet his nemesis.
Arden had never encountered a black hole before. He had known were they were and avoided them, but this one, uncharted, had caught him unawares. It was a stellar mass black hole, but he had heard tales of super-massive kinds in the clouds of Magellan, which had swallowed enough matter to create millions of stars.
He thought of the distant outposts of his own galaxy which he had played a part in discovering. But even travelling at the speed of light, he had barely pushed back the boundaries of the known universe.
It was for those who came after him to invent a faster method of interstellar travel. Tachyons - sub-atomic particles - could travel faster than light; eventually a way would be found of mimicking them, travelling rapidly through space to one's chosen destination. Perhaps the answer lay inside black holes, as he would shortly discover.
Arden had now lived through four centuries but was only fifty Terran years of age. Decades spent in suspended animation on lengthy space-flights had enabled him to do this. The vastness of space still overwhelmed him. A ship such as his would take a hundred thousand years to travel from one spiral arm of the Milky Way to the other, and the neighbouring galaxy of Andromeda would take over two million years to reach.
There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches of Terra, and Arden knew that with his planet's natural resources nearing depletion, the future of his race lay ultimately in the cosmos.
The crew were in suspension, they would know nothing; Arden would be alone as he bravely prepared to meet his fate at the end of space and time. Staring out into the boundless beauty that was space, he realised how privileged he had been to have experienced so much. "The Heavens are declaring the glory of God," he quoted from ancient Scripture.
Just then there came a faint transmission:
ENOCH...GREETINGS FROM THE GENERATIONS OF YOUR FAMILY HERE ON TERRA... HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON...
A visual image of Arden's family and their many descendants flashed onto the communication screen. Gazing in amazement at them all, he was grateful he had received their message and as his ship was sucked into the black hole he felt almost happy.
The Speed of Light
The Other Side of Everything
Do you think black holes are a portal to another dimension?
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© 2014 Stella Kaye