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What is a Jumpgate?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Thibault Renard, Pds209
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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The concept of a jumpgate is a popular device in the world of science fiction. Essentially, jumpgates are anomalies in space that can be utilized for quick travel to distant points in space, or even to travel back and forth through time. As with many of the more popular ideas that are found in the world of science fiction, the jumpgate has its origins in scientific phenomena. In this instance, the jumpgate has some foundation in the scientific theory of a spatial occurrence that is known as a wormhole.

Wormholes are not a completely proven scientific phenomenon, although there are many physicists that are convinced of their reality. The wormhole is understood to be a rift in the continuum of time and space. According to the theory, it would be possible to enter the wormhole at one location and traverse through the interior of this phenomenon and emerge at a location that is millions of light years away from the point of origin. Further hypotheses about the nature of the wormhole speculate that it would be possible to not only travel unimaginable distances, but also to move at least backward in time. For theorists who believe that time actually constitutes a loop rather than a gradual progression, the idea of traveling to the future is also something to consider.

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Identifying this phenomenon as a wormhole is based on the writings of John Wheeler, an American theoretical physicist. The general idea behind the name is that is a worm drilled into an apple and wanted to emerge on the opposite side, the obvious route would be through the middle of the apple, rather than traversing around the perimeter. In like manner, a wormhole would be a direct line to the destination, allowing the traveler to avoid the longer method of working through linear space.

The jumpgate would be a marvel of technology that would allow humankind to exploit the wormhole. In order to order the process, a jump gate would be constructed at both the point of origin and the point of destination. Guidance systems on the space vessels would make it possible to lock in on the right coordinates, and guide the ship to the right jumpgate.

At present, the reality of wormholes is still debated in scientific circles. Until it is possible to verify the existence of the wormhole, jumpgates will remain part of the basic means of exploring the universe in the pages of many works of science fiction.

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