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The Flux Capacitor

The concept of moving between different points in time.

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Time Travel : Is it really possible? Yes, find out how...

  • Jan 20, 2010
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Rating:
+5
Since the beginning of time (pun intended), I've always been fascinated by the idea of Time Travel. I always wondered:  is it something that is really possible,  feasible, and without destroying the universe and everything?

Well, now that I'm a bit older and wiser, I understand the reality of the question a bit more.  So although the idea of Time Travel may sound fun and cool, the reality of it is...  Yes, it is not just possible... it happens "all the time"!  You didn't see that coming, now did you?

Before you label me as "crazy" or "nutty" as the Brits would say, read the rest of my article first.  It may change your perspective on things. Because remember, everything is "relative" :)

Yes, my friends, Time Travel is possible.  As we speak, me and you (and the whole world) are moving forward through time.  We are all moving through time at the same speed (relative to eachother) because we are all moving through space at the same speed.  And how are we moving through space at the same speed? Well, we're all hurtling through the cosmos on a spaceship called "Earth" of course :)

You're probably wondering why I state the obvious... I mean, most people already know all of this, right? Well, my point is this: Einstein realized that there was a relationship between Time, Space, and Matter.  In fact, his General & Special Theory of Relativity mathematically proved it. It's the reason why  physicists now call it the "spacetime" because Time cannot exist without space and vice versa. Also, did I mention that Gravity bends space-time? Well, it does... another brilliant idea that Einstein proved.

Traveling to the Future:

Anyways, one of the coolest things about Einstein's Theory of Relativity is how it proves that Time Travel is possible.  It states that the faster an object/observer moves towards the speed of light (relative to another object at rest) that time slows down for the object/observer relative to the object at rest. This is called "Time Dilation".  Gravity can also effect and create "Time Dilation".   You may be saying to yourself "this is all good in theory, but how is this relevent  in my life?"  Well, you know those satellites buzzing around in space? Well, they are all affected by this effect of "time dilation" because they are moving faster relative to our speed... plus they are further away from Earth (meaning that they are in a weaker gravitational field). So, that means time is moving at a different rate for those satelites up there than it is for us down here on Earth.  In fact, for our GPS navigational devices to even work, they had to program the clocks on those satellites to compensate for the time difference!  So you see, understanding how "time" works is essential for us to be able to use our GPS systems everyday.  With this in mind, now think about all the astronauts that went into space and back.  They are all "time travelers".  Because after they left Earth, their relative speed (in relation to Earth) changed and also their relative distance to Earth (which effects how the gravitational field effected their time dilation).  The people at NASA understand all this and the problems that can arise from it.  Once we do further manned missions, this will become a bigger issue because the further we must travel means the faster we must travel... which equals a bigger "time dilation" effect. 

So, back to the business of Time Travel.  I've illustrated that Time Travel to the future is "relatively" easy (lol, I kill me!).  All you have to do is travel as fast as you can (relative to Earth) and back.  Time for you would have effectively slowed down while time perceived on Earth would have sped up.  You'd return "younger" than those on Earth.


Traveling Backwards in Time:


But what if you want to travel back in time?  Well, traveling backwards in time is another whole enchilada. .. and could prove much more "disasterous".  We've all learned about all the crazy shananigans that could happen if you could travel back in time.  You could change history, kill your own parents and thus never be born.... etc.   There are all sorts of time paradox's that seem to prevent us from going to the past. So what does Einstein say about this?  Well, he said that if you could somehow travel faster than the speed of light, that you would start going backwards in time. But traveling faster than the speed of light seems to be an impossible feat, because the faster you travel towards the speed of light, the more effective mass you gain.  In fact, if you travel at the speed of light, you'd have "infinite mass"... and no amount of diet or exercise would help you at that point.
But  joking aside, let's say that there was another way to travel backwards in time.  I don't know what it is, but if there is indeed a way, I'm sure that someone, someday will find it.  For now, let's suppose that sometime in the future, someone has found a way to travel backwards.  If this is true, then doesn't it mean that we have "time travelers" visiting us now and throughout history?  Hard to fathom huh?  Doesn't it also mean that time ceases to be "linear" if we can weave in and out through it?  And what if we can go back and change the past? Would it be "our past" or would we create another parallel universe every time something is changed?  Thinking about all these possibilities can give you a headache.  But the question is: is it possible? Yeah, sure... I believe that everything is possible.  And if there are indeed time travelers among us, that would make the world a much more interesting place to live.  


Seeing the Past? Yes, seriously!

But even if  worst comes to worst and "going" back in time isn't possible, it's important to remember that "seeing" the past is.  Believe it or not, you and I "see" into the past all of the time and most of us probably don't even realize it.  It all goes back to Einstein.  See, he also discovered that the speed of light has a speed limit.  It can only travel through space at a certain pre-determined maximum speed limit.  Why? I have no idea.  I've always wondered why light can't travel faster than a certain speed. If anybody can "illuminate" me on this, it'd be great :)  I mean, I can understand why matter can't travel faster (because of the whole infinite mass thing) but light doesn't have mass... nor do radio waves. So why can't either travel faster?   One weird interesting side-note is that the expansion of Space itself can 'expand' faster than light... or so they say.

At any rate, for some reason, light can only travel at a certain maximum speed.  This means that it takes time for it to travel through space.  So whenever you stare at the Sun (and I did this quite a bit as a child, which explains alot) you are actually seeing the Sun as it was over 8 minutes ago.  Yes, it's true. You are seeing into the past... about 8.3 minutes into the Sun's past.  And when you look up at the stars, you are effectively peering hundreds, thousands, millions, ga-jillions (lol) of years into the past... depending on how far away the oject  you are viewing is.  And this is of course why astronomers get so excited about powerful telescopes.  The more powerful the telescope, the further in time you can see.  This never ceases to boggle my mind and has so many implications.  For example, some of those stars that you see in the sky could have died long ago... and yet we see them with our naked eyes, like ghosts of the distant past.


Conclusion:

So is time travel possible? Yes, absolutely.  Time is relative, and in a way, we are all "time travelers". We just haven't mastered the technology yet.  But I think, someday we will.  The question should be: how can we better understand the relationship between Time, Space, and Matter?  And how can this understanding be applied to help us advance towards the future?  I'm sure that Einstein never dreamt that his Theories would someday help us navigate our way through our busy streets and help us explore new cities, without getting lost... and that's merely one way that it's helped us.  So as the future approaches, I'm sure that there will be many more ways that our understanding of time and science will help us navigate through an uncertain and challenging future.


One last note:
And, if by chance, there are "Time Travelers" out there visiting us... look me up!  I'm ready... and my bags are packed... Seriously!




 

The Tardis traveling through spacetime

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July 11, 2011
"That's because nobody needs health care in 5522." Nostradamus predicted the end of the world in 3797. Let me deal with time travel. I believe that time travel is possible through existing black holes. In addition, light images that travel to the end of the universe carry past images. Time travel into the future would be different. By the time you reached the end of the universe, much earth history will have passed and only the past will be accessible by light images traveling in the direction of the end of the universe.
 
February 19, 2010
The crazy thing to think about is every time you are looking at a picture of the Andromeda Galaxy you are not only looking 2.5 million years in the past (it is 2.5 million light years away, meaning the light has been traveling that long to reach us) but also looking through time. Since Andromeda is 200,000 light years wide, the light at the back has been traveling an additional 200,000 years than the light coming from the stars closest to us.

You should read The Man Who Folded Himself and/or Replay; two of my favorite time travel stories.
February 21, 2011
I read The Man Who Folded Himself -- great book! There's also Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt.
 
January 21, 2010
Hey, Thank you so much for all of your feedback and comments, guys... it is much appreciated. I was very hesitant to write this review because I didn't know how people would take it. But now, I see how silly my concerns were and I'm happy that I was courageous enough to put it out there.
 
January 21, 2010
Really great article.  Not only did you state a lot of amazing facts, but it also seemed like you had an amazing time writing it so kudos, great job! 
 
January 21, 2010
Thank you. I completely agree. We are living in amazing times. Most of us at least....those that are open to these new paradigms that in the past were not even discussed in public.....
 
January 21, 2010
Whenever people ask me what super powers I would like, I can never choose between three: invisibility, teletransport, and, you guessed it, time travel.  I'm not the most scientific person in the world, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your take on time travel.  Until somebody masters the technology for time travel, can we just fire up the DeLorean already? ;P  Thanks for sharing, El Duke!
 
January 21, 2010
You're right - it is possible. I came from the year 2050 and the US healthcare was still screwed up. :-)
January 21, 2010
just the year 2050? I came from 5522 and there's no more healthcare LOL!
January 21, 2010
That's because nobody needs health care in 5522. I'm assuming that the fountain of youth has been uncovered and that all diseases have been eradicated. Maybe they've even discovered the key to immortality! That, or the apocalypse really did occur and there are no people to need any health care. Oh, the possibilities!
 
January 21, 2010
I know this is all theoretical but this is definitely thought-provoking stuff. Don't forget, mass increases once you approach a speed close to the speed of light and then the mass slowly dissipates once you near or at light-speed. Fortunately I am an individual that time doesn't have a hold on. nice one!
 
January 20, 2010
Thanks for sharing this!
 
January 20, 2010
Great review! 2 things.

1. I loved the point you brought up about if there were "Time Travelers" then they'd probably be here with us now. That's so crazy to think about!

2. I love that you tagged this review with Flux Capacitor.
 
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More Time Travel reviews
Quick Tip by . January 20, 2010
Really cool concept. ...Or is it more than that? Either way, fire up the DeLorean! :D
Quick Tip by . January 20, 2010
Yes, time travel is possible... read my article and learn how :)
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Duc Truong ()
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I'm a man with many hobbies. I work a full-time job in the field of 'Lyophilization' for a small Pharmacuetical company. It's a dream job because it gives me lots of days off to pursue … more
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Wiki

Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space, either sending objects (or in some cases just information) backwards in time to a moment before the present, or sending objects forward from the present to the future without the need to experience the intervening period (at least not at the normal rate).

Although time travel has been a common plot device in fiction since the 19th century, and one-way travel into the future is arguably possible given the phenomenon of time dilation based on velocity in the theory of special relativity (exemplified by the twin paradox), as well as gravitational time dilation in the theory of general relativity, it is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow backwards time travel. Any technological device, whether fictional or hypothetical, that is used to achieve time travel is commonly known as a time machine.

Some interpretations of time travel also suggest that an attempt to travel backwards in time might take one to a parallel universe whose history would begin to diverge from the traveler's original history after the moment the traveler arrived in the past.
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Technology, Time Travel, Concepts, Flux Capacitor, Time Traveler

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