Have you heard the one about the Irish comedian who jumped into a black hole?
Co Wicklow funnyman Dara O’Briain might not have got the witty punch line he was hoping for when he put the question to legendary physicist Professor Stephen Hawking.
O’Briain was interviewing Professor Hawking for the BBC show ‘Dara O’Briain meets Stephen Hawking’.
The comedian has a background in science having studied in mathematics and theoretical physics at University College Dublin.
As well as comedy, he now has a career presenting science and mathematics TV shows.
Last night O’Briain jokingly told Professor Hawking off for ruining classic time travel movies such as The Terminator. Hawking had previously said that if time travel could ever happen it would only be possible to go forward not back.
He then asked Hawking whether humans could ever make time travel a reality. O’Briain suggested that black holes could make it possible. However, it wasn’t good news.
Professor Hawking said: “I still believe that time travel to the past is not possible for macroscopic effects.
“If you jump in a black hole you will meet an unpleasant fate. It will be little consolation that your mass energy will be recycled as Hawking radiation.”
While humans could not survive, O’Briain asked whether it might be possible to shine a light into a black hole and send a message to the past.
Sadly this wasn’t possible either, according to Hawking who simply said: “You can’t send a message back in time.”
In a further blow to our sense of space adventure, Hawking said that interstellar travel wouldn’t be possible and humans will never explore another solar system.
He said: “The present breed of humans won’t reach the stars, the distances are too great and life too short.
“The only possibilities would be to genetically engineer humans or send machines.”
Take a look at the video below. (The clip is from a BBC video and may not work in all countries)