These Black Holes May Erase Your Past and Offer an Unlimited Future

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Objects — like humans, for instance — may be able to pass a black hole's event horizon safely. oorka/Shutterstock

Got a checkered past? Looking to put a little heartbreak behind you? How about a future of infinite possibility?

According to a new study, it may be time to embrace the eternal darkness of the black hole mind.

Theoretically — and that’s a very big theoretical — the study suggests there may be a kind of black hole that not only erases history, but creates countless future possibilities.

For the study, mathematicians looked at what would happen to an object as it passes through the event horizon, the go-back-now-or-never-return point of an electrically charged black hole.

The findings could upend Albert Einstein’s thoroughly established theory of general relativity — namely that the laws of physics remain the same for all observers. That makes it possible to determine the past and future of an object based on its location and velocity at a specific time.

The space-time-bending properties of black holes, on the other hand, complicate things. Beyond a black hole’s event horizon, there’s another surface called the Cauchy horizon that theoretically slows anyone or anything in its grasp to an infinite crawl. Imagine moving in hyper-slow motion toward a black hole’s center for all eternity.

No past. No future. No Einstein.

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to experience that feeling because a black hole’s infinite density — its singularity — would have stretched our bodies out to just a long string of atoms.

If the Berkeley mathematical model holds true, a very large electrically charged black hole would actually allow an object to pass safely through the Cauchy horizon. That object would reach a place on the other side completely isolated from the rest of space and time, and it would have neither a past nor future.

A rendering of a black hole.
Researchers suggest an electrically charged black hole could lie outside of our universally accepted laws of physics. Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock

Open your mind

In black-hole world, the theory of relativity in explaining so much of our universe would not apply — just standalone space without history, and an infinite number of tomorrows. This is where determinism goes to die.

"There are some exact solutions of Einstein's equations that are perfectly smooth, with no kinks, no tidal forces going to infinity, where everything is perfectly well behaved up to this Cauchy horizon and beyond," study co-author Peter Hintz noted in a statement. "After that, all bets are off; in some cases ... one can avoid the central singularity altogether and live forever in a universe unknown."

A clean slate and immortality at the heart of black hole? Where do we sign up?

Well, as with all things black hole, there's a catch. In fact, the fine print on this proposition may be sub-atomically small.

For one thing, no one has ever visited a black hole. And even if you were to reach one and dive inside, there would be no way to communicate what it’s like. Not even a postcard can escape the void.

Perhaps more critically, an electrically charged black hole likely doesn’t exist. By its very nature, a black hole is constantly hoovering matter into its insatiable maw, which means, the researchers admit, it would draw enough oppositely charged matter to become neutral.

So for now, the theory is mostly mathematical. With a dash of the philosophical.

"No physicist is going to travel into a black hole and measure it," Hintz explains. "This is a math question. But from that point of view, this makes Einstein’s equations mathematically more interesting.

"This is a question one can really only study mathematically, but it has physical, almost philosophical implications, which makes it very cool."

Indeed, if we can find a charged black hole. And if we can really pass through it safely. Then we might become gods. Or even meet one.