In the remake of Star Trek, certain individuals unintentionally travel through time by means of a black hole.

Does being pulled into a black hole always cause time travel?

If so, would this mean

Nero might still be alive (in another reality)? Or was the ship destroyed?

If not, what factors would affect the likelihood of time travel? What happens to those who do not time-travel?

  • Can you add the "insane villain's name"?
    – user1027
    Sep 25, 2011 at 17:21

3 Answers 3


According to a rather ancient favourite book of mine, 'The Science In Science Fiction' this may be speculatively how close you passed to the singularity, without actually falling into it. Effectively it means speeding up until you have exceeded the speed of light, and then due to relativity time may be passing at a different speed. Perhaps the idea is that after slowing time so much, it would start going back, and not just become exponentially slower (approaching zero but never quite reaching it) - which I think I prefer as a theory.

Given that this means passing through the black hole and back out, then the individual from that reality has travelled to another. This does not mean that others from other realities have done so, so he may still be alive in other realities, and if the current one is different from his original time stream, then he may come to live again when born in this stream too.


In actual physics, you get stretched to death by tidal forces when you get too close to a black hole. Furthermore, your energy is not infinite when you hit an event horizon, it's just so high that you can't escape (if you get extra energy so you can escape, it makes you heavier via E=mc2, so you can't escape after all).

Since this isn't real physics, barring a statement of Star Trek canon of which I am unaware, the only sensible answer is, "It gives the writers leeway to have anyone who hits a black hole time travel."


In Star Trek IV, the crew of the Enterprise (which was destroyed in STIII; they're on a hijacked Klingon BoP) travels back in time basically by making a slingshot around the Sun at warp speed. The hypothetical physics behind it are not explained fully, but it would stand to reason that the same hypothetical physics would apply to any sufficiently-powerful gravity well, like a singularity. If you were to slingshot around the singularity instead of barreling straight into it, assuming you could escape the gravity well you would travel through time.

There's also evidence to suggest that Red Matter does not create a traditional singularity, as a supermassive star going supernova would. The singularity is far smaller and may even be temporary (as the Red Matter simply does not have the mass needed to create a self-sustaining black hole). If it's not a "real" black hole, then at least some of what is known about black holes in our universe may not apply.

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