Wormholes are a hypothetical passage through the space-time fabric that in essence could provide a shortcut route for travelling between two points that are widely separated such as from one galaxy to another.
The concept and its possible applications were depicted in sci-fi flick "Interstellar," which was shown in theaters around the globe this month. Although wormhole, also known as Einstein-Rosen bridge, has been featured several times in science fictions, the creators of the movie wanted it to adhere to well-established laws of science.
"It was to be a film about warped space and time," said theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, from the California Institute of Technology who helped Christopher Nolan better visualize black holes and other scientific concepts that were presented in the movie.
"And it was to be a movie in which the science was thoroughly embedded at the outset. The most important rule was that nothing in the movie would violate well-established physical laws, and all the wild speculation would spring from science, not just the fertile mind of a screenwriter."
While Interstellar is a work of fiction, there are those who ponder on the possibility of wormhole travel in the future particularly after watching the movie.
Thorne, who was also executive producer of "Interstellar," said that while wormhole is possible, based on Einstein's general relativity theory, wormhole voyages will not likely go beyond the realms of science fiction.
"The jury is not in, so we just don't know," Thorne said. "But there are very strong indications that wormholes that a human could travel through are forbidden by the laws of physics. That's sad, that's unfortunate, but that's the direction in which things are pointing."
The physicist, who specializes on black holes, relativity and wormholes, said that the instability of wormholes would be a major barrier as their walls can collapse at a very fast rate if there is nothing that threads through to keep them open.
He said that traversable wormholes would necessitate the insertion of negative energy to stabilize them. Although negative energy has already been produced in laboratory setting, Thorne said that there are strong indications that one cannot get sufficient negative energy for repelling and keeping the walls of the wormhole open.
Thorne likewise said that should traversable wormholes that allow for interstellar travel do exist at all, they do not occur naturally and must have been created by an advanced civilization.