Saturday, December 5, 2009

100% Pure Phlebotinum

As I’m sure you’re all aware, the Red Matter in Star Trek XI is total phlebotinum; it exists solely for the sake of the plot and has no basis in real world physics. Nonetheless, I’d like offer my thoughts on what this mysterious Red Matter might be.

The qualities of Red Matter that I observed are:

  • It creates black holes.
  • The size of the black holes appear the same regardless of how much Red Matter was used or how much normal matter it combined with.
  • The accretion disc around the event horizon looks like a “lightening storm in space”.
  • Red Matter is not especially massive, as both Spock Prime and the Romulans were able to carry a droplet of the stuff with ease.
  • Gathers together to form a sphere.
  • The surface of the Red Matter sphere formed an indentation when the extraction needle came near.
  • Appears to be a fluid, since it splattered when Spock’s ship crashed.
  • When the sphere is broken into numerous droplets and they are ignited, those droplets will coalesce to a single pinpoint before imploding into a black hole.
  • And, is red.
So what does all of this mean? The only way to create a black hole that I’m aware of is to compress a huge amount of mass into a small space. For instance, if the Earth were crushed to the size of a marble, that would create a black hole. If the sun were crushed down to about two miles wide, that would create a black hole as well. But Red Matter is clearly not especially massive, so what the heck’s going on? There are already microscopic black holes in the quantum foam, blinking in and out of existence, far too small and weak to be noticed on a macroscopic level. Perhaps Red Matter particles somehow cause microscopic black holes to rapidly expand.

This would still require that the black hole be fed a huge amount of mass. I’m just going to say around one solar mass, since the back hole we saw appeared to be a couple of miles across. If Red Matter particles interact with the quantum foam, then this may explain where the mass comes from. Virtual particle are constantly forming and vanishing within the quantum foam. It’s possible that Red Matter had some exotic property that when a Red Matter particle collides with a microscopic black hole, it cause some insanely massive influx of particles in the immediate area, which it instantly sucks into the black hole, causing it to grow to macroscopic proportions. The excess particles would from the accretion disc we observed. This “Red Matter Effect” also apparently destabilizes any surrounding Red Matter particles and draws them into the black hole as well.

Now how can so much mass be created so quickly and in so small a space? I will suggest Dark Matter, since it is just a term for our ignorance. Many theories abound of what Dark Matter is, and they’re all speculation. I’m personally skeptical about the existence of Dark Matter. I think it’s more likely that th additional mass we infer should be in the Universe is due to our incomplete understanding of Gravity, rather than by the presence of the mysterious Dark Matter, which is suppose to be insanely massive but otherwise does not interact with normal matter. If Red Matter creates Dark Matter, than perhaps Red Matter was created in the Big Bang. The Red Matter then created umptillions of black holes, and consequently all the Universe’s Dark Matter. Most of the black holes cannibalized each other, eventually forming the supermassive black holes at the center of Galaxies. In the Star Trek Universe, of course, not ours. If Red Matter was created in the Big Bang then it would theoretically be possible for the Vulcans to have created it with an advance atom smasher. Why they created such a vast amount of it when they only planned to use one drop, I have no idea. They may have just been playing it safe. If so, it’s quite ironic that their prudence allowed Nero to destroy their homeworld.

Since Red Matter only ignites when it collides with a pre-existing black hole, the containment units used to hold it must be designed to keep microscopic black holes out. I choose to infer that the indentation that formed on the sphere’s surface was caused by a skin tight force field surrounding the needle, which was meant to repel microscopic black holes. This field must also suspend that Red Matter in microgravity, which would explain why it has gathered into a sphere. Water does the same thing. The only thing left to explain then is why it is red, and the answer is obvious; if it were another colour, then it wouldn't be a big red ball, now would it?

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