Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Submarines, Wormholes and More

The term wormhole was introduced by the American theoretical physicist John Wheeler in 1957. In astrophysics, a wormhole is a theoretical feature of topology representing a potential "shortcut" through space and spacetime. It is virtually impossible, however, to separate the concept or sciences of travel within inner and outer space.

Submarines exploit "virtual shortcuts" through seaspace and realtime. Instead of transiting many days to arrive within strike distance of a potential adversary, submarines are secretly pre-deployed near potential trouble spots (e.g. North Korea, Iran) and can even be routed under ice caps as polar shortcuts. To adversaries the net result is surprise due to sudden projection of awesome power. Ensuing attacks, if necessary, are often unimagined, much less detected, prior to dispensation. Whether or not relativity principles are inherent in such travel and weaponry is optionable.

During the Civil War, fully 93 years before Wheeler propounded his hypothetical concept, the Confederate vessel Hunley became the first submarine to successfully exploit a wormhole. The USS Housatonic, an 1800-ton steam powered sloop-of-war with 12 large cannon, was stationed 5 miles out to sea as a blockade to the entrance of Charleston harbor in the darkness of February 17, 1864. Lieutenant George E. Dixon and seven volunteers rammed a spar torpedo into Housatonic's hull. The torpedo was then detonated sending Housatonic and five of her crew to the bottom of Charleston Harbor in about five minutes.

Due to Hunley's success, continuous submarine development and strategic deployments became de facto for world navies. There was no longer anything hypothetical about the utility of submarines nor their ability to exploit wormholes.

There is little doubt of Dr. Wheeler's genious. He was also first to coin the term black hole in 1967. Perhaps Dr. Wheeler's relationship to submarines is unfinished, to say the least. Check out the opinion of this guy who lays it out here at an interesting Fourmilab (home of the Earth and Moon Viewer) web page.

[The foregoing has been reprised from Molten Eagle's Submarine Space Travel Analogies - Part I: Virtual Wormholes dated December 30, 2005]


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