What If You Tried to Swallow a Whole Cloud?

As the soup collapsed inward toward the center of the solar system, its molecules would come closer together and the pressure would build. It would take a few minutes for that pressure to build up to levels that would crush you. If you were in some sort of soup bathyscaphe, the pressure vessels people use to visit deep ocean trenches, you might be able to last a little longer.

There would be nothing he could do to escape the soup. Everything within would flow inward into the singularity. In the normal universe, we are all being dragged forward through time with no way to stop or go back. Within the event horizon of a black hole, in a sense, time stops flowing forward and begins to flow inward. All timelines converge toward the center.

From the point of view of an unfortunate observer inside our black hole, it would take about half an hour for the soup and everything in it to fall into the center. After that, our definition of time, and our understanding of physics in general, breaks down.

Outside the soup, time would continue to pass and problems would continue to happen. The black hole in the soup would begin to drink the rest of the solar system, starting with Pluto almost immediately, and the Kuiper belt soon after. Over the course of the next few million years, the black hole would cut a great swath across the Milky Way, gobbling up stars and scattering more in all directions.

Illustration: RANDALL MUNROE

That leaves us with one more question: What kind of soup is this, anyway?

If Amelia fills the solar system with broth, and there are planets floating around, is it planet soup? If there are already noodles in the soup, does it become planet and noodle soup, or are the planets more like croutons? If you make a noodle soup, someone sprinkles stones and dirt on it, is it really a noodle soup and dirt or is it just a noodle soup that got dirty? Does the presence of the sun make this soup a star?

The internet loves to argue about categorizing soup. Luckily, physics can settle the debate in this particular case. It is believed that black holes do not retain the characteristics of the matter that enters them. Physicists call this the “hairless theorem,” because it says that black holes have no distinguishing features or defining characteristics. Apart from a handful of simple variables like mass, spin, and electric charge, all black holes are identical.

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