A Voyage To The Bottom Of A Black Hole: Part One

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Suicide missions are hardly unknown happenings, so presumably it wouldn't be too hard to find a volunteer to take a long walk off a short pier and dive into the heart of a Black Hole. Well, let's trade in the walk and the pier for a spaceship, with our suicidal pilot crewmember willing to boldly go. What might she expect? For that matter what might a chickenhearted outside observer expect to see?

Space isn't really the final frontier; rather the inside of a Black Hole that's inside of space really is the final frontier. Only the insanely suicidal need boldly go and explore, as it's unlikely that the innards of a Black Hole will become a popular tourist attraction for many a millennia to come - if ever.

Okay, we have a depressed, suicidal, boldly going spaceship pilot, and she's determined to go out in a blaze of glory and make her mark in the history books. No ordinary suicide for this woman! It's across the Event Horizon (hereafter just the Horizon) threshold and down the hatch of a Black Hole. I need point out here and explain that technical term €Event Horizon' - it's just that location that divides the ability to return home safely from the point of no return, ever.

Countdown: Five, four, three, two, one - we have lift-off on the maiden voyage to boldly go and see what's to be seen from the inside of a Black Hole.

As far as our suicidal pilot is concerned, everything from launch to crossing the Horizon is as normal as taking the cross-town bus to work. Time will tick by at one second per second; her mass will register normal; length ditto. However, due to Einstein's concepts in all things being relative, an external observer will see our boldly going pilot's reality slightly differently.

An external observer, say relaxing back on Earth with a super powerful telescope, follows ionization trail of the boldly going voyager's spaceship to the nearest Black Hole. Basically, what this person sees is that as the suicidal voyager blasts off from Earth, picks up speed, her ship and contents (including herself) start to shrink in length, increase in mass, and her rate-of-change (time) ticks by more slowly compared to Mr. Stay-At-Home's own. Okay, that's in keeping with Einstein's relativity proclamations.

But for some inexplicable reason, I've read several times some scientific author suggest that to an external observer, the suicidal pilot will not only be travelling slower and slower by the external observer's clock as she approaches the Horizon, but in fact at contact with the Horizon her time, again as recorded by the external observer, will have stopped. In other words, the external observer will never witness the pilot's crossover from outside the Black Hole's Horizon to inside the Black Hole's Horizon. The pilot will appear to be frozen in time at the Horizon, yet as far as the pilot is concerned, everything is normal in terms of time flowing at one second per second.

Now that's a major paradox. The pilot can't be crossing the Horizon at one second per second, while at the same time being frozen in time at the time of crossing, according to our stay-at-home observer. Of course the paradox is bullshit. To an external observer, time only comes to a screeching halt for someone external to them if they witness that someone travelling at the speed of light. Firstly, that's a physical impossibility. There's no reason to believe that our suicidal pilot is crossing the Horizon at light speed. There's no absolute requirement that our suicidal pilot is crossing the Horizon at the speed of light. She in fact might have fired her retro-rockets to slow down just prior to crossing the Horizon in order to better savour the moment! So, in actual reality, our observer will see the pilot cross the Horizon, albeit at a way slower rate than the pilot herself because the pilot is travelling, hence doing the Horizon cross-over at less than the speed of light. IMHO, some €experts' need to go back and redo Physics 101.

In any event, once the external observer observes our boldly going suicidal voyager cross the Horizon, the show is over for him. Nothing that's part and parcel of the voyager, not her ship's reflected or emitted light, not her radio signals nor information signalling of any kind, will recross the Horizon in the outward bound direction and heading back to Earth. Our external observer can pack away his telescope and get back to more interesting pursuits, like watching daytime television. But that's not quite the end of the story.

To be continued.
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