Making Time Travel Possible With Science

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Making Time Travel Possible With Science

Gunnar Strom, Contributor

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Mankind has always wanted and dreamed of traveling backward and forward in time, allowing themselves to see both previous events in their lives or the lives of others, or see what the world and maybe universe will be like in some far-off time. But while movies, books, and games, the reality is that time travel is entirely possible, just not in the ways you think.

One of the possible manners of time travel uses a phenomenon called a closed time like curve. While a closed time like curve isn’t very likely to be found anywhere due to the conditions and mass amounts of energy needed to sustain such a phenomenon, however, it is technically possible. A closed time like curve is, in its simplest form, the bending of space time into a closed loop where something can travel from one point to another, and while the being or object that traveled through the curve will not notice a change in the time, the user will travel through space time to the point where the curve ends. To make it even simpler, it would be like going down a slide on a playground instantaneously. The person will go from the top to the bottom and be in a new position immediately, while no one else has moved, effectively traveling forwards in time. To go back in time, one would only have to go through the curve in the opposite direction. Closed time like curves were first discovered by Willem Jacob van Stockum in 1937, and were later confirmed to exist in 1949 by Kurt Gödel. Kurt Gödel discovered a way that the equations would work using General Relativity, and it is now known as Gödel Metric.

This method of time travel is only one of many, however only one of a few that are easy for a high schooler to explain. The second method of time travel that’s relatively easy to explain is called Time Dilation using Special Relativity. Time dilation is the reason that clocks on the International Space Station (ISS) are slightly different than the ones on Earth. While the clocks on the ISS are off by small fractions of a second (only 0.007 seconds every six months), it still shows how the astronauts on board the ISS are technically traveling through time. The secret? Moving really, really fast. Technically, if person A walks past person B while person B is just sitting down, person A is actually moving slower through spacetime than person B is, just at ridiculously small fractions of a second. However, when the speed of A grows more and more, the amount that time that slows for A also grows. The only effective way to travel through time using this method would be for A to move at large fractions of the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s). Just to show how fast this is, the ISS, which travels around Earth at about 17,225 miles per hour, only goes about 0.0025% the speed of light. This is why light particles and other particles that are similar to them are not affected by the passage of time: because they are moving so ridiculously fast. This method, however, would be nearly impossible to use because of the resources and energy needed to travel that fast. The only way it would be possible would be with some very advanced technology, since our bodies aren’t capable of handling near-lightspeed travel.

While neither of these methods is really that practical, or maybe even possible, they do open up the possibility of some form of space or time travel in the distant future, which is something that is pretty cool. And at the very least, you now have the ability to brag to your friends that you know how to travel through time.

 

https://www.thoughtco.com/closed-timelike-curve-2699127

https://phys.org/news/2011-03-grandfather-paradox.html

https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/crew/exp7/luletters/lu_letter13.html

https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/review/dr-marc-space/time-travel.html

 

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