Space's Deepest Secrets (2016–…): Season 2, Episode 4 - Black Holes: The Einstein Prophecy - full transcript

The genius of Einstein's theory of relativity was the first evidence that black holes might exist, but scientists still do not know what really happens inside of one. Follow the researchers...

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
Supermassive black holes...

Brooding, dark masses

that can engulf whole worlds...

The universe is full

of strange things,

but there's nothing stranger

than a black hole.

...but science is now

on the cusp

of solving

their biggest mysteries.

Trying to make an
- image of a black hole

- is probably one of
- the hardest things

you can think of to do.

We're trying to see the unseen.

Could these new
- discoveries open up

incredible opportunities

for our species?

Maybe they actually access

different dimensions

of space and time.

To find out,

we will hunt down the biggest,

baddest black holes

in the cosmos

and investigate

how they're inner secrets

could revolutionize

our understanding

of the universe.

I see black holes

as the key arena

where we can change

the course of science.

...captions by Vitac...

captions paid for by

discovery communications

In the vastness of our cosmos,

there is one mysterious object

that is so strange it confounds

even the greatest minds...

Supermassive black holes.

It can eat up a star,

- it can eat up a planet,
- it can eat up a person,

or it can eat up

another black hole.

The black hole will absorb it

and grow larger

as a consequence.

You know, if you go into one,

- you're never gonna tell
- your friends about it,

because you'll never escape.

Black holes are the ultimate

prediction of Einstein's

most famous theory...


His equations state

that anything

with mass distorts space

and time itself.

Black holes have so much mass

crushed into a tiny volume

they bend space and time

so far that very

strange things happen.

- To me, the weirdest thing
- about a black hole

is that it actually

can stop time.

It can actually

collapse space itself.

I can't imagine anything

weirder than that.

This distortion of space

is so extreme

it also makes

black holes invisible.

Space and time

are so extremely curved

and warped around

that there is a place

from which even light

can't escape anymore

and any light that falls

into it is lost forever.

But if Einstein's

equations are correct

and black holes are invisible,

that creates a problem.

We have never

actually seen one,

so how can we be

sure they exist?

Now in Massachusetts,

scientists are trying

to prove once

and for all that

black holes are real.

Shep Doeleman is attempting

to take the first-ever

picture of a black hole.

Trying to make an
- image of a black hole

- is probably one of
- the hardest things

you can think of to do.

If it was easy,

everybody would be doing it.

We're trying

to see the unseen.

Even though it's never a good

idea to bet against Einstein,

it's always a good idea

to test and verify.

Shep's target is an

area of our galaxy

where scientists predict there

is a supermassive black hole.

Pulling away the dust

and haze from the milky way

reveals a cluster of stars

zooming around its center.

These stars can only

have such tight,

vast orbits if they are

circling something

with enormous mass crammed

into a very small volume.

The best explanation...

A supermassive black hole


have called Sagittarius a star.

Based on this prediction,

Shep is targeting the center

of the milky way,

and the galaxy itself presents

the first obstacle.

It's not straightforward to try

to image the black hole

in the center of our galaxy.

To see it, you first of all have

to Pierce all the gas

and dust between us

and the center of the galaxy,

and the best way to do that is

to observe in radio waves,

which, very easily,

can see through

all that gas and dust.

Unlike optical telescopes

which only view visible light,

radio telescopes can Pierce

the 26,000 light-years of dust

and gas that stands

between earth

- and the center
- of the milky way.

But even with the most

powerful radio telescope,

Shep will struggle

to image Sagittarius a.

A black hole is the corpse

of a giant star.

Once the colossus runs

out of fuel,

it loses the fight

with its own gravity.

The inner core

starts to collapse,

and the star explodes

in a violent super Nova.

But inside, the surviving

core keeps on collapsing

to an infinitely small point

called a singularity.

This bends space so far that

even light can't escape,

forming a sphere of darkness

called the event horizon.

A black hole is born,

even though Sagittarius

a star's event horizon

is nearly 15

million miles across.

It is also thousands of millions

of millions of miles from earth,

creating a problem for Shep.

It's equivalent...

This is crazy to think about,

but using your naked eye

to see an orange on the moon...

- That's the level
- of magnification

we need in order

to pull this off.

From the last decade,

Shep has worked

on an audacious plan...

He's linked radio

telescopes around the planet

to form a network

called the event horizon

telescope and point them

at the center of the milky way

at exactly the same time.

With perfect synchronization

at multiple telescopes

like this around the globe,

we should be able to make

very crisp pictures

of the region right around

the black hole.

The further these

telescopes are apart,

the more detail

he will pick up.

- If they are spread
- strategically across the planet,

Shep's network will be

2,000 times more power

than the Hubble space telescope.

But even with this much power,

how can Shep make something

out that by definition

is totally black

and emits no light?

Shep thinks there

might be a way.

A black hole itself

is invisible,

but matter falling into it

should reveal its secrets.

It's intense gravity

attracts interstellar gas

and pulls it into a faster

and faster orbit.

As this gas nears

the event horizon,

the increasing gravity

heats up the matter,

and it emits a glow.


to Einstein's theories,

this will produce

a circular ring of light,

which casts a shadow

of the event horizon.

It's a startling idea,

but this glow is so faint,

Shep can only see it

if he uses

two telescopes to zoom

into a small section

of the event horizon.

- So, then you're effectively
- looking at

a small swath of this image.

So, with one telescope pair,

we can take essentially one cut

through the shadow

of the black hole.

With many telescopes

around the world,

we can take multiple

cuts through.

We will be able

to image this entire ring.

Shep has enlisted

radio dishes in California,

Chile, Hawaii,

Mexico, and Spain.

But these telescopes

are still not far enough apart

to see all the detail

of the event horizon.

To do this, Shep will need data

from a telescope

at the most extreme place

on earth...

The south pole.

And one scientist

has the responsibility

of bringing this telescope

into the system.

Dan Marrone is a veteran

of antarctic astronomy.

At the south pole, we'll be

installing another mirror

just like this.

But we have to make sure

that all the light

that gets directed to it

is hitting this spot.

Dan and his team
- are constructing

an incredibly sensitive receiver

to attract

to the south pole telescope.

Once in place, the network

will span the globe

- and will have enough power
- to image

the entire event horizon.

This one sitting

at the bottom of the earth

is really important to make sure

that we can see as much details

as possible in the black hole.

Once built,

it will take three days

of solid travel for the team

and the receiver

to get to the pole.

Once there, they will

face a battle

with Antarctica's

extreme environment

as they try and fit the receiver

to the telescope.

There's going to be a crane

that they've brought down

just for this purpose,

and we will winch it up...

We'll bring it under the roof.

We have to make sure

this all works.

But if things start

to go a little wrong, yeah,

- there will be some
- added pressure on us

to pull it all together.

Hopefully, it will all go

into place very nicely

at the south pole,

and we'll be taking

pictures with it.

With the addition

of the south pole telescope,

Shep's network

will truly span the planet.

But to the capture the image

that proves black holes

really do exist,

he will still have one more

massive problem to overcome.

Shep's network stretches

for tens of thousands of miles,

but he must coordinate

all the signals together

within a fraction of an inch,

or he'll end up

with a fuzzy image.

Over the last ice age,

as the ice receded,

- the earth has begun
- to rebound a little bit.

So over many years,

the location of the telescopes

actually changes a little bit.

- Even moving one
- of our telescopes

by a millimeter is equivalent

to shifting the entire focus

of your telescope

across the sky.

To overcome this,

Shep uses a vast supercomputer

called The Correlator,

which constantly monitors

the exact positions

of every telescope

in the global network.

This correlator

is really one of

the most important parts

of the event horizon telescope.

It is what takes all the data

that we've collected

around the world

and combines it together

with great precision.

We create a data set

that's equivalent

to having a telescope

as large as the earth,

and from that we can make

an image of a black hole.

Once Shep gets these

first-ever images

of a supermassive black hole,

it will provide the

strongest possible evidence

that they really do exist.

To actually observe
- a black hole,

to actually resolve the area

around a black hole,

that is the holy grail.

That would be utterly amazing.

But if there really

is a supermassive

black hole at the center

of the milky way,

that creates a deeper mystery.

What kind of influence

could a monster

like that have over our galaxy?

Scientists think there is

a supermassive black hole right

at the center

of the milky way.

In fact, they believe

black holes are quite common.

We're pretty confident

that at the center

of almost every galaxy

in the universe

is a supermassive

black hole.

Relativity predicts that

the intense mass

of a supermassive black hole

will bend space so much stars

fall into an orbit around it.

- This has lead
- scientists to think

that black holes are vital

in the initial formation

of galaxies.

But now they're asking

if black holes also shape

how galaxies evolve over time.

Galaxies come in many different

sizes and many different shapes.

- They evolve differently
- over time,

and that's been a mystery.

- Why should these
- clusters of stars

have such different stories

that play out?

And it may be that it

was lurking in the core...

- The hidden
- supermassive black hole

has something to do with that.

In the southwest, astronomers

are tackling this mystery.

Edmond Cheung is investigating

if black holes

really do influence

how galaxies change with time.

I wanted to really try

to understand this process.

- It blows my mind
- to think about about

how that little thing

could affect an entire galaxy.

His focus is a class of galaxy

that has mystified


The giant elliptical galaxies.

This is a beautiful image from

the Hubble space telescope

of a giant elliptical galaxy.

We know that these galaxies

have a lot of gas in them,

and the mystery is that this gas

should produce a lot

of new stars,

but that's something

we don't see.

Usually, stars are born

inside clouds of galactic gas,

tearing away their outer layers,

reveals black clouds

of extremely cold hydrogen.

Deep inside these

chilly nebulas,

gravity draws the gas molecules

together to form spinning

discs that suck in more

and more hydrogen.

Pressure and heat

in the center skyrocket,

and hydrogen molecules fuse,

and a new star ignites.

Only in these clouds

of cold gas

do new stars form.

- Has something
- caused this process

to stop in giant

elliptical galaxies,

explaining why new stars

don't form there?

Could this be a case

of the black hole

controlling the evolution

of the galaxy?

To find out, Edmond is using

a telescope that revolutionized

our understanding of the cosmos.

This incredible object

is the Sloan 2.5-meter telescope

dedicated for

the Sloan digital sky survey.

What it did was it pointed

at a particular region

in the sky

and then over the entire night

it allowed the earth's rotation

to let it move

across a strip,

and over a course

of a few years it resulted

in thousands of millions

of galaxies observed.


turn these observations

- into one of the most
- detailed maps

of the universe ever created.

This provides Edmond locations

of where to find giant

elliptical galaxies quickly

and investigate

if their black holes

are preventing

the formation of new stars.

Researchers transferred the map

to a giant library

of aluminum discs.

Each one catalogs

a particular area

of the night sky.

Wherever the telescope

detected light,

the scientists drilled a hole.

When Edmond looks at

the same piece of sky,

these holes line up perfectly

with all the galaxies.

- All right, boss,
- everything looks good.

You ready to put it in?

All righty.

By plugging separate sensors

into each of these holes,

he can see what is happening

in hundreds of galaxies

at the same time.

All the galaxies that we observe

are about half-a-billion

light-years away from us,

and this little fiber bundle

covers an entire galaxy.

- And it collects the light,
- goes into this

light-gathering device,

and then we look

at it as scientists,

and we can infer

the properties of galaxies

with this fiber bundle.

After a two-year-long search,

Edmond thinks a giant

elliptical galaxy

called Akira explains

why these galaxies produce

so few new stars,

and it has to do with black

holes being messy eaters.

Edmond Cheung's senors

on the Sloan eight-foot

telescope picked up

something strange deep inside

of a galaxy called Akira,

a colossal wind of warm gas

pouring out from its center.

And it may be a star killer.

So, the red is the gas

that's flowing away from us,

and the blue is the gas

that is flowing towards us.

This wind stretches

for about 30,000 light-years.

The only power source

that is able to generate

this amount of energy

is a supermassive black hole

in the center of Akira.

Edmond thinks the

supermassive black hole's

eating habits produce this wind,

and this warm blast

prevents star formation.

As the black hole devours

matter falling into it,

it forms a fast,

spinning disk of cosmic debris

called the accretion disk.

As more and more matter

enters friction builds up

until it is released

in immense blasts...

That push warm gas across

the galaxy in massive gales.

This galactic wind heats up

the cold star nurseries

and star formation stops.

If the same thing happens

in other giant

elliptical galaxies,

it explains why they produce

so few new stars.

It's just such a

beautifully wrapped up story,

and it just perfectly

fits the idea

that supermassive

black holes are important

and they are critical

and this is a necessary...

They are a necessary ingredient

for galaxy evolution.

So, we know that galaxies

come in a great variety.

We now think that there

is probably a connection

between that diversity

of galaxy type

and the fact that there are

supermassive black holes

in the centers.

- Those supermassive
- black holes,

by virtue of their

consumption of matter,

can throw energy

out that sculpts

entire galaxies

into different forms.

The black hole in Akira drives

the evolution of the galaxy

by feasting

on something unexpected.

It is eating dust and stars

from its smaller neighbor,

the Tetsuo galaxy,

and this is the start

of a chain of events

that will drastically

alter both galaxies

and their

supermassive black holes.

The galaxies intense masses

draw them closer together

allowing Akira to siphon

gas from its neighbor.

Eventually, the two galaxies

will collide

then rebound and collide again

and again causing mayhem,

throwing stars and planets

out of orbit and shedding

gas into space

until they finally merge

to become one.

Scientists think

that galaxy collisions

like this are actually

very common.

At this very moment,

billions are merging

across the cosmos,

and these unions don't

only affect the stars.

The supermassive black holes

also fuse together.

The merging of two black holes

is a very violent process.

So, those two black

holes merge together,

they spin faster and faster.

They literally send ripples

out in the fabric of space,

gravitational waves.

One pair of

colliding black holes exceeded

by a factor of 10...

All the energy emitted

by all the visible stars

in the observable universe.

These mergers may be violent,

but they are a key way

that black holes grow.

And they can reach

enormous sizes.

The most massive black holes

that we observe are about

10 billion times

the mass of the sun.

Today scientists are discovering

that when black holes get

this big even stranger

things can happen.

Supermassive black

holes are one of the strangest

and most powerful

entities in the universe,

the ultimate prediction

of Einstein's theory

of relativity.

They can grow to be

hundreds of millions of times

more massive than the sun.

And when they get this large,

they can generate

so much energy

that they release

huge jets of plasma.

This is because black

holes are messy eaters.

These black holes don't

have very good table manners,

and they burp out a lot

of the material that's going in.

These are powerful

emissions of radiation

that come from the material

- that's falling into
- a black hole itself.

And these jets can go for tens

of thousands of light-years.

They're absolutely gigantic.

In London, England,

scientists are investigating

if jets of this size

and energy are destructive.

Astronomy Grant Tremblay is

studying the jets generated

by a black hole

with over 300 million times

the mass of the sun.

These black holes launch

these extraordinary jets

of plasma

that shoot outward

at near the speed of light.

It's about one

trillion atomic bombs

per second worth of energy

that's being dumped back

into their ambient surroundings.

These powerful jets reside

in the centers of a galaxy

with a truly bizarre structure.

So, you're looking at right now

at many massive galaxies.

They're are about 1,000 galaxies

in this image,

but at the very center

of this region

is one of the most massive

galaxies in the universe.

It's called a brightest

cluster galaxy.

And what you see

here are bubbles.

There's a bubble here

and a bubble here.

And these are not

normal-sized bubbles.

These are the largest bubbles

in the universe.

These bubbles

are voids in space,

and the largest

is so vast you could fit

about 50 milky ways inside.

Whatever carves out these voids

must have massive

amounts of power

and be very big.

The black holes jets

seemed like the obvious culprit,

but when scientists looked

for further evidence

the mystery became

even stranger.

So, you look in this galaxy

cluster in the optical wave band

where you can actually

see the galaxies,

you notice that the galaxy

that's associated

with these bubbles

- is different from all of
- the other galaxies

that you see in this cluster.

And it's home to this

extraordinary 150,000


spider web of filamentary gas

tied around these bubbles.

Inside these filaments,

scientists could see

the formation of new stars.

How could a black hole's jets

create such strange structures

and drive the birth of stars?

It seemed impossible

since black holes

are known for destruction.

But now, Grant's team

has made a breakthrough

using data from

a telescope called Alma.

Alma's an extraordinary

revolution in science.

It's a giant array

of 66 dishes

in the Atacama desert in Chile,

which is the highest

and driest desert in the world.

It is the world's

most powerful eye

to oversee cold molecular gas,

and cold molecular gas

is the fuel

for all of star formation

in all of the universe.

The location of this cold gas

gave Grant the vital clue

to how the jet

could drive star formation.

As the jet of energy shoots

out of the black hole,

it pushes gas out of the way

like a cosmic snow plow.

Piling up gas in its wake,

the gas clumps together

forming stars.

Any unused gas falls into

the mouth of the black hole,

re-igniting the jets

to start the cycle

all over again.

It's an extraordinary discovery.

In this huge galaxy,

far from being agents

of destruction,

the black hole and its jets

actually play a role

as a creator.

These supermassive
- black holes...

Interaction with

their host galaxy

is a far more elegant

and subtle process

than one might

naturally think.

Black holes, it turns out,

can both quench

or inhibit star formation.

But at the same time,

they can also trigger it.

This revolutionizes
- our understanding

of black holes in the universe.

We now talk about

a co-evolution of galaxies

and the central

black holes within them

wherein the growth of

a black hole influences,

in fact,

the growth of the stellar

population of stars around it.

It maybe influence

the overall shape of the galaxy.

It may help us understand

why galaxies evolve

differently over time.

So, instead of

something passive,

maybe black holes are moire

of an active sculptor

of the galaxy.

These ideas agree

with the equations

that describe the behavior

of space and time...

Einstein's theory of relativity.

But to go further and reveal

what happens inside

a black hole,

we need a whole new theory.

In the case of

general relativity,

it was used to predict

the existence of black holes.

But when you go inside

that event horizon...

- Although our physics
- predicted it,

our physics breaks down inside.

The mass starts giving

you the kinds of nonsense

that you'd get in a calculator

if you put a one

divided zero, right?

- The calculator
- goes "error," right?

That's basically the math

- taking you by the lapel
- and slapping you in the face

and saying, "don't do that!

That's not

a well-defined operation."

That's what happens

to Einstein's math

when you apply it to the center

of a black hole.

This breakdown of relativity

has led to fierce arguments

about what happens

inside a black hole.


This boundary of a black hole,

the event horizon,

may be a seething

cauldron of activity.

In fact, you would be vaporized.

You would be fried

if you were to go through it.

If you're a human

falling in feet first,

- then there will be
- a big difference

- between the force
- of gravity at your feet,

- and the force of gravity
- at your head,

and this means that you

will get stretched out

- until you're super thin
- like a spaghetti,

and we call that process


If gravity has been collapsing

something down smaller

and smaller and smaller,

does it ever come to the point

- that it cannot collapse
- any further

from a point

of infinite density?

And people have called

that a singularity.

The problem is in this world

of the very small

the rules change.

This is the realm

of quantum physics.

Only by combining these rules

with relativity

can scientists hope

to understand

what happens at the very center

of a black hole.

This is the holy

grail scientists call

"the theory of everything."

Our belief is that the

math goes haywire there,

simply because we don't yet have

the correct mathematics.

- We have to take
- Einstein's ideas,

and merge them with ideas

from quantum physics.

This is one of the

final frontiers of science.

But extraordinarily

in long island, New York,

there is a man in a machine

which might help solve

this enduring mystery.


have compelling evidence

that supermassive

black holes lurk

at the center of galaxies.

Here, they control and shape

the destiny of billions

of stars and planets,

and these observations

match the mathematics

that explain space and time...

Einstein's theory

of relativity.

But knowing what happens

deep inside a black hole

is a far bigger challenge.

Since you can't see in
- there, you can't go in there...

- Or if you do go in there
- you can't come back

to report what it

is that you found.

It's purely mathematical,

and the problem

is the mathematics

that Einstein gave us

us what's happening

deep in the interior

of a black hole.

We have to take Einstein's ideas

and merge them with ideas

from quantum physics.

Quantum physics is the world

of the seriously small,

a strange land swarming

with subatomic particles

like neutrons,

muons, and quarks.

Remarkably, there might be

a way of understanding

how these tiny entities

behave inside a black hole.

This could be pivotal

in bringing relativity

and quantum physics together

in a theory of everything,

an idea that could revolutionize

how we understand

the very fabric

of time and space.

On long island, New York,

there is a machine

that recreates the conditions

inside a black hole.

Berndt Mueller operates

the scientific equivalent

of a sledgehammer.

He generates what happens

inside a black hole

by acceleration gold nuclei

to nearly the speed of light

and crashing them into one

another inside a detector

the size

of an apartment building.

We don't make a black

hole in real terms.

However, what happens

in the collision

of two nuclei is quite similar

to what happens

in a black hole.

As matter falls in a black hole.

It's crunched by the strong

gravitational fields,

and whenever you crunch matter,

it also is unavoidable

that it heats up.

So, here what we do is we create

these temperatures in a lab,

rather than in the vicinity

of a black hole.

It is the hottest temperature

in the universe anywhere.

It's about 100,000 times hotter

than the center of the sun.

- And in that case,
- we know that it's about

three trillion degrees Celsius.

Each collusion creates

the same subatomic matter

that scientists think

exists inside a black hole.

The trouble is these conditions

only exist for yoctosecond,

one billionth of

a billionth of a second,

far too brief

for Berndt to study.

But he can reconstruct

the conditions

by what is left behind.

Traveling at over 620

million miles per hour,

the gold nuclei crash

into each other

with incredible force

and explode into

a fireball of matter,

raging at three

trillion degrees.

But within a yoctosecond,

this scatters

into an intricate pattern

of subatomic particles.

The shape of this matrix

is the key to understanding

what happens

at the moment of impact.

The collision's

extraordinarily violent.

It's much more violent,

in a certain sense

than a nuclear bomb going off.

'Cause you have to shield them

from a human being,

because otherwise

the radiation would kill you

in a very short period of time.

- So, that's why when
- the machine operates,

you're not allowed

to come even close.

Instead, the team

monitor the collisions

- from the safety
- of a control room

a third of a mile away.

By comparing the aftermath

of millions of impacts,

Berndt can build a picture

of what happens

at the instant

the nuclei collide.

So, this is a snapshot

of the particles

a few nanoseconds

after the collision.

And each different color

represents a different

type of particle.

What we're interested in is

"how the did

the matter behave at

and before the moment when these

particles are emitted?"

If Berndt can work out

- how to rewind
- the scatter patterns

of these subatomic particles,

he can get back

to the billionth

of a billionth of a second

after the collision,

the point where matter is like

that inside a black hole.

In a sense, this is very similar

if you would throw

a stone in the lake...

Long after the stone

has dropped in and is gone,

you see a ripple of waves

moving out, right?

The pattern depends

on how big the stone

was that you throw in,

- it is what speed you
- throw it in,

and so by analyzing, carefully,

the wave patterns

and tracing them back,

you could determine in principle

how big and what shape

the stone was,

and that's exactly

what we're doing here.

Berndt needs powerful

mathematics to do this,

equations that generate

exactly the same patterns

he sees in the collisions.

These could offer clues

to how science

can finally unite

the quantum world

with relativity,

and this could revolutionize

how we understand

the entire cosmos.

After a decade-long hunt,

he thinks he has found

the right formula.

This little hot blob

of matter turned out

to be describable

by string theory,

and that's

quite fantastic, I think.

String theory is

a branch of mathematics

on the very fringes

of scientific understanding,

but it is the prime candidate

for the unifying

theory of everything.

String theory is our

most refined attempt

to put Einstein's general theory

- of relativity's
- theory of gravity together

with quantum mechanics.

And the suggestion

- is that deep inside
- an electron or a quark,

whatever, is a little,

tiny filament,

a string-like filament

that can vibrate

like a string on an instrument.

- And the different
- vibrational patterns...

They don't produce

different musical notes.

They produce the different

kinds of particles.

This strange idea could offer

our best chance of understanding

how black holes really work,

and this opens up new

opportunities for our species.

String theory predicts

that black holes

aren't really

a one-way street.

- As well as
- pulling things in,

they eject things into space.

Black holes actually can

radiate a little bit.

They can send off particles

that will emanate

from the event horizon.

As black holes emit

this radiation,

they begin to shrink

and evaporate.

An evaporating black hole

emits so much energy

that it could easily power

all the energy requirements

of humans here on earth.

If we could find a way

of dragging one down to earth.

Is it viable?

Is it something we can do?

Not today, but there's

no reason why,

technologically in the future,

we could not achieve this.

Even a black hole with
- just the mass of mount

Everest would release

enough energy

to power the entire planet.

But there's more...

As crazy as this sounds,

string theory actually predicts

something even crazier

deep inside the black hole,

something which offers

mouth-watering prospects.

Inside that black hole,

all these extra dimensions

that may exist may give rise

to a whole different

version of reality,

right, and some say

maybe a whole other universe

or a whole other

infinity of universes.

And there's even the possibility

that you might travel

through a passage

called a wormhole

into another universe.

Now, this leads to all kinds

of interesting possibilities

like coming back through

another wormhole to a time

before you even existed

or before your parents

even existed.

They may be the weirdest

entities in the universe,

but if humanity can grasp

exactly how black holes work,

it could produce enticing

new benefits for us all,

and they offer a window

to understanding string theory.

This has the power to tell us

how the universe works both

in the realm of relativity

and in the quantum world,

something that

will revolutionize

the way we perceive

the very fabric of the cosmos.

They're right here
- in front of us,

- and our laws
- of physics don't work.

They seem to stop time.

Maybe they actually access

different dimensions

of space and time.

So if we're gonna

understand these things,

we got to get

better at our game.

A hundred years from now,

a generation of scientists

will look back

to us as the turning point,

- as the place where
- our understanding of space

and time was one way

before we grasped

the nature of black holes,

- then we stayed
- with these deep puzzles

of black holes

and solve them,

- and that caused our
- understanding of space

and time to take a radical

turn in a new direction,

a direction toward the truth.