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In the early days of research on black holes, before they even had that name, physicists did not yet know if these bizarre objects existed in the real world. They might have been a quirk of the complicated math used in the then still young general theory of relativity, which describes gravity. Over the years, though, evidence has accumulated that black holes are very real and even exist right here in our galaxy.

Today another strange prediction from general relativity—wormholes, those fantastical sounding tunnels to the other side of the universe—hang in the same sort of balance. Are they real? And if they are out there in our cosmos, could humans hope to use them for getting around? After their prediction in 1935, research seemed to point toward no—wormholes appeared unlikely to be an element of reality. But new work offers hints of how they could arise, and the process may be easier than physicists have long thought.

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