How does one travel hundreds of lightyears instantaneously? Scientists have been pondering this for decades, both in reality and fiction. In A Wrinkle In Time, these fictional scientist are Mr. and Mrs. Murray, and the solution they find is tessering, a method of "wrinkling" space time for quick and easy space travel. But, as we all know, science fiction can have a lot of basis in actual science, so could tessering be real? The short answer is: yes, tessering could, in fact, be real. The long answer is: maybe, but it's beyond human understanding.
Tessering in A Wrinkle in Time is essentially the act of traveling faster than the speed of light using a fifth dimension. "Well, the fifth dimension's a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go the long way around," Mrs. Whatsit explains in the film, via Inverse. In the book, she's not so clear, telling Calvin, Meg, and Charles Wallace, "We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle." Essentially, tessering is similar to traveling through a wormhole, a common device used in science fiction such as Star Trek or Interstellar. Currently, scientists haven't been able to manipulate a so called tesseract (i.e. fifth dimension) or wormholes to facilitate space travel, but just because scientists don't know that tessering is real doesn't mean they know that it isn't.
"Science hasn't offered us any solid proof that these higher dimensions exist," said NASA Systems Engineer Tracy Drain in a promotional video for the film. "But you never know. Maybe someday, someone will discover proof that the universe has more to it than we know right now." In other words, while scientists have been unable to prove the existence of a fifth dimension, they are always open to new scientific discoveries. After all, respected scientists used to believe that the Earth was flat. There's a lot we don't know about the universe, and one thing we might not know yet is how to tesser.
Granted, if tessering is real, it's likely much more complex than as described in A Wrinkle In Time. Over 50 years of scientific discovery have passed since author Madeline L'Engle published her book in 1962. Where she only considered five dimensions, now theorists are considering that there are as many as 10 dimensions, and mastery of all of them would allow not only the wrinkling of space and time, but the possibility of seeing parallel worlds, as reported by Inverse.
This is connected to the Theory of Everything (ToE), another theoretical scientific concept. The Theory of Everything is essentially a hypothesis that establishes an interconnected network of dimensions that bring all physics together, specifically quantum physics (how particles interact) with general relativity (how objects of large mass interact). Scientists have yet to narrow down what, exactly, this theory would be, but they do know its goal: to unify to conflicting scientific truths. If and when the Theory of Everything is finally discovered, then tessering may become real through scientific discovery.
Tessering is just one of the many things that seems fictional and impossible now, but could potentially be in existence — just like wormholes that can send one through space and time. "That's a tenet of any scientist," said astronomer Emily Levesque in an interview for NPR. "We may not understand something now, but the answer is probably out there."
Fans of A Wrinkle In Time might never live to see tessering become real, but even if they did, they'd probably be disappointed. Tessering may have some basis in scientific fact, but Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, don't. What's the point of traveling through space and time if you can't do it with a magical Oprah Winfrey by your side?