Is Time Travel Possible? Science Has Answers

Time travel is, perhaps, the most overused plot device in movies and television. Yet, we are still fascinated by it and still wonder if it’s possible to travel back to the past or into the future. Luckily, scientists have been asking the same question for years, and have some answers.

Whether it’s via flux capacitor or executing a slingshot maneuver around the sun or taking a wormhole, science fiction has come up with all sorts of ways for humans to travel through time.

Unfortunately, time travel is not nearly as easy in real life.

You see, legendary physicist Albert Einstein wondered about it himself in 1905 and came up with an answer by 1915, which I’m sure many scientists would love to ask him about if time travel to the past were possible.

But as it turns out, while travelling back in time is not impossible, it’s beyond our technological and scientific capabilities at the moment.

Einstein published his theory of special relativity in 1915, and it basically states that time does not pass at the same rate for everyone.

So, if a person were to somehow travel near the speed of light for a few years, they would arrive back on Earth and discover that time moved faster for everyone else on the planet, meaning everyone you knew could very well be dead while you only aged a few years during your trip in space.

It’s kind of a scary and cool thing at the same time, and scientists can prove the science is sound.

“Indeed, we can jump forward into the future as much as we want,” Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul Sutter says. “It’s only a matter of going really, really fast. The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time. We’ve been able to measure this with ultra-precise atomic clocks in jet airplanes, and the precision offered by the GPS system needs to take this into account. Sci-fi always seem to require complicated contraptions to jump in time, when all you need is a very large rocket.”

Sure, we can shave off a few seconds or several minutes using modern rockets, but in order to travel years into the future without aging very much at all, we would need a ship capable of much faster speeds.

“If one were to depart from the Earth in a spaceship that could accelerate continuously at a comfortable 1 G, one would begin to approach the speed of light relative to the Earth within about a year,” Montana State University professor of physics William Hiscock explained to Scientific American. “As the ship continued to accelerate, it would come ever closer to the speed of light, and its clocks would appear to run at an ever slower rate relative to the Earth. Under such circumstances, a round trip to the center of our galaxy and back to the Earth–a distance of some 60,000 light-years–could be completed in only a little more than 40 years of ship time. Upon arriving back at the Earth, the astronaut would be only 40 years older, while 60,000 years would have passed on the Earth.”

Hiscock went on to point out that while the laws of physics would not prohibit such a trip, current engineering would.

“Such a trip would pose formidable engineering problems: the amount of energy required, even assuming a perfect conversion of mass into energy, is greater than a planetary mass,” he said.

So, travelling to the future is possible, but there would likely not be a way back since travelling back to the past is a far more difficult, if not totally impossible task.

“When it comes to the past,” Sutter said, “the mathematics of general relativity does allow a few strange scenarios where you can end up in your own past. But all of these scenarios end up violating other known physics, like requiring negative mass or infinitely long rotating cylinders.”

In short, Einstein’s theory of relativity is not to blame for not being able to travel back in time, other laws of physics are to blame.

Hiscock concurs, and noted that there is no evidence that any such time travel has occurred or is occurring.

“No experiment or observation has ever indicated that time travel is occurring in our universe,” he said. “Much work has been done by theoretical physicists in the past decade to try to determine whether, in a universe that is initially without time travel, one can build a time machine–in other words, if it is possible to manipulate matter and the geometry of space-time in such a way as to create new paths that circle back in time.”

Of course, an even higher authority on the question of time travel is the late Stephen Hawking, the world renowned physicist who wrote about time travel in his posthumously published final work “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”.

“Rapid space travel and travel back in time can’t be ruled out according to our present understanding,” Hawking wrote. “Einstein showed that it would take an infinite amount of rocket power to accelerate a spaceship to beyond the speed of light.”

But Hawking proposed that wormholes could be the solution to travelling both to the future and back to the past, given certain circumstances.

“So the only way to get from one side of the galaxy to the other in reasonable time would seem to be if we could warp space-time so much that we created a little tube or wormhole,” he wrote.

“This could connect the two sides of the galaxy and act as a shortcut to get from one to the other and back while your friend were still alive. Such wormholes have been seriously suggested as being within the capabilities of a future civilization. But if you can travel from one side of the galaxy to the other in a week or two you could go back through another wormhole and arrive back before you set out. You could even manage to travel back in time with a single wormhole if its two ends were moving relative to each other.”

But Hawking also observed that we haven’t noticed any travelers from the future, so time travel must be relegated to just travelling into the future for now.

“A possible way to reconcile time travel with the fact that we don’t seem to have had any visitors from the future would be to say that such travel can occur only in the future. In this view one would say space-time in our past was fixed because we have observed it and seen that it is not warped enough to allow travel into the past. On the other hand the future is open. So we might be able to warp it enough to allow time travel. But because we can warp space-time only in the future, we wouldn’t be able to travel back to the present time or earlier.”

There you have it. Perhaps, one day, a really intelligent human being will make a groundbreaking discovery or invention that makes two-way time travel possible. Of course, the risks of altering the past to our own peril is a very real possibility that we should think about before travelling to the past. After all, various paradoxes such as the grandfather paradox could accidentally wipe you out of existence. The smallest change could end up having consequences that sweep across time. So, maybe it’s a good thing we can’t travel there yet. The future, on the other hand, is possible for those of us who are willing to live on a spaceship for several years leaving everyone and everything you know behind. But the problem is that we have to leave everything and everyone we know behind, and there’s no turning back the clock to change our mind. Once it’s done, it’s done. And who knows what the future could look like.

But short of a real life Doc Brown from Back to the Future to invent a time machine that can provide instantaneous travel to the past and to the future, we’ll just have to settle for what is currently possible and wait for that moment to arrive. It’s just a matter of time.

Featured Image: YouTube screenshot




A controversial theory claims present, past, and future exist at the same time

  • Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
  • Time travel may be possible.
  • Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.

We seem to perceive time as passing in one direction. After all, we can’t just just forward to the future or revisit our past if we felt like it. Every minute of every day appears to move us ahead, pulling us through our lives towards an inexorable demise. At least that’s what the conventional experience of time tells us. But what if your present, past, and future all existed already? Time, from that point of view, would not flow.

The block universe theory says that our universe may be looked at as a giant four-dimensional block of spacetime, containing all the things that ever happen, explained Dr. Kristie Miller, the joint director for the Centre for Time at the University of Sydney.

In the block universe, there is no “now” or present. All moments that exist are just relative to each other within the three spacial dimensions and one time dimension. Your sense of the present is just reflecting where in the block universe you are at that instance. The “past” is just a slice of the universe at an earlier location while the “future” is at a later location.

So, is time just an elaborate mind trick? And more importantly – is time travel possible?

Dr. Miller’s answer to that is “yes”. Of course, just hypothetically, since we’d need to figure out first how to travel at “some reasonable percentage of the speed of light”. Going to the past would entail using wormholes, like “short cuts through space-time”.

Block Universe diagram.Credit: ABC Science

Now, if you did manage to get back in time, you won’t be able to change it. This is because your past is always simultaneously someone else’s future. So if you travel to the past, you’re just making that future the way it is. So don’t worry about “grandfather paradoxes” – your time machine has already been incorporated into the scheme of things.

‘If I travel to the past, I am part of the past,” said Miller. “Importantly, I was always part of the past.”

What’s more – maybe the past has already been altered by time travelers. How would we be able to tell if it hasn’t? “For all we know, the reason the past is the way it is, is in part due to the presence of time travelers,” added Miller.

By that logic, what you do tomorrow will make it the way it is, with you fulfilling a certain destiny writ in time, which is in itself more of an illusion than a fundamental property of nature.

Certainly, with such claims, the block universe theory has its detractors. One big criticism is that the future shouldn’t exist yet. Physicist Lee Smolin wrote that “The future is not now real and there can be no definite facts of the matter about the future.” Furthermore, as he added at a 2017 conference, what is real is just “the process by which future events are generated out of present events.”

Another negative of this idea is if the block universe is static, what is the point of anything? Can you have progress? Answering that is the “evolving block universe” model which sees the block of the universal space-time growing rather than staying the same. The surface of such a volume would represent the present moment. It’s when “the indefiniteness of the future changes to the definiteness of the past,” as described it cosmologist George Ellis. Under that model, the changing part would be the future.

While the debates are going to continue, the block universe theory is one of the most promising approaches that can reconcile the cosmological view of time with our everyday experience. What may be certain – time is much more than what it appears to be. Unraveling its mysteries is integral to understanding the human experience.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bigthink/main/~3/cPN4_hOx504/a-controversial-theory-claims-present-past-and-future-exist-at-the-same-time




Steven Moffat Developing The Time Traveler’s Wife Television Series for HBO

HBO has won the bidding war for a TV adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, from former Doctor Who showrunner and Sherlock creator Steven Moffat. Other outlets, including Amazon Studios, were in the running to acquire the series about Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire’s nonlinear love story, according to Deadline.

The official logline from HBO is slightly tongue-in-cheek for a novel about Henry, a time traveler and librarian whose Chrono-Displacement Disorder drops him in and out of time, and artist Clare, who first meets Henry as a child and who spends the rest of her life encountering him at different ages as she progresses through time linearly:

An intricate and magical love story, adapted by Steven Moffat from the much loved novel by Audrey Niffenegger. The Time Traveler’s Wife tells the story of Clare and Henry, and a marriage with a problem… time travel.

The 2009 movie adaptation, starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, was not incredibly well received, lacking some of the magic of the 2003 novel despite doing well enough at the box office. The same year, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman was developing a TV adaptation of Henry and Clare’s story for ABC, but it was never picked up to series.

“I read Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife many years ago, and I fell in love with it,” Moffat said in the official announcement. “In fact, I wrote a Doctor Who episode called ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ as a direct response to it. When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realised she was probably on to me. All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It’s a story of happy ever after — but not necessarily in that order.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Steven Moffat, Hartswood and WBTV on The Time Traveler’s Wife,” said Casey Bloys, president of HBO. “Steven’s passion is evident in every project he’s written and we are certain that his love and respect for this mesmerizing and textured novel will make it a quintessential HBO series.”

Hartswood Films, the production company involved with Warner Bros Television, said, “HBO is the perfect home to tell this incredible story with all the scale and space it needs, and we’re delighted to be working with Warner Bros to bring Steven’s thrilling vision of the novel to life.”

No word yet on number of episodes nor premiere date.




Ancient Maya Calendar Contains ‘Secret Code’ To Unlock Time Portals, Claims ‘Researcher’

The Ancient Mayan Calendar is a system of calendars used by the ancient May civilization in pre-Colombian America.

The Mayan calendar details the existence of various ‘cycles,’ so it describes the sacred calendar (tzolkin or bucxok, with a 260-day count), the solar cycle (Haab, composed of 365 days).

The Tzolkin calendar was combined with the Solar Cycle, or solar year forming the synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haab’, called the Calendar Round. In fact, it’s still being used in some communities in the Guatemalan highlands.

The ancient Maya also had developed a calendar used to track longer periods of time, and for the tracking of calendar dates. This calendar is the so-called the Long Count, and it registers days, according to experts, from a mythological starting point.

The starting point for the long count is usually by vast majority of Maya scholars as August 11, 3114 BCE in the proleptic Gregorian calendar or September 6, in the Julian calendar.

In other words, the Maya Calendar is a treasure trove of time cycles which happens to share various details with calendars used by more ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Zapotec and Olmec but it also shares similarities with contemporary or later ones such as the Mixtec and Aztec calendars.

Now, when we thought we had it all figured out, and that the Maya calendar wouldn’t ever be mentioned in conspiracy theories—like the end of the world December 12, 2012—a self-titled ‘multidimensional’ archaeologist believes he may have unlocked the secrets of time travel, after having studied the codes embedded in the enigmatic Mayan Calendar.

After studying the Mayan Tzolkin calendar, Timothy Alan believes he has cracked all its mysteries.

He presented his work on YouTube, in hopes that the world would pay attention to his findings.

Speaking about his ‘startling find,’ Alan said:

“Hey there, collective consciousness of this planet called Earth. “I just wanted to share with you my work over the last five years in as quick a time as possible. I found this hidden code in the Mayan calendar that unlocks what you can see here – a vortex-quantumatics like a quantum agreement for a spiritual technology. It’s a multidimensional language.

“I found it hidden in the Mayan calendar.”

But it’s not just another conspiracy theory according to Alan. His work and discoveries are supposedly real and have been allegedly verified by a Guatemalan Mayan elder as a “legitimate code found within the Mayan calendar.

According to reports, Alan unlocked ancient code’s in the form of a quantum encoded light fractal of consciousness, that contains the multi-dimensional multi-verse together.

“The Mayan calendar was invented to map the evolution of human consciousness. It is the key to understanding the truth of being human – if there is some left,” explained Mr. Alan.

Furthermore, his discovery has allowed him to create a “divine” time travel map. He claims that two types of portals exist; Passage of time portals and Personal vision portals.

Mr. Allan claims that his work will finally untether mankind from the constraints of materialism.

“All this calendar stuff keeps on coming. It’s like the Da Vinci code – some sort of cosmic Da Vinci code that opened.”

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Ivan

Ivan is editor-in-chief at ancient-code.com, he also writes for Universe Explorers.
You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.




The Future Is Past: Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson

Kelly Robson’s killer novella Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach opens 250 years into our future. Many decades prior, catastrophic climate and environmental change forced humans into massive underground metropolises, or “hells.” Eventually, the plague babies—survivors of epidemics that burned through the hells in years past—braved the topside in an attempt to reclaim the land. One of those topsiders is Minh, a river rehabilitator in the struggling Calgary habilitation center. With the solid if not abundant financial backing of the banks, she and other plague babies were doing good work repairing damage to the earth to make it livable once more. And then the organization known as TERN invented time travel and everything fell apart. What little cash there was now goes to shiny new short term projects full of flash and bang rather than not so exciting long-term ecological necessities. Minh, who saw her livelihood and all her work’s meaning disregarded in the wake of TERN, is left bitter and bored.

When Minh gets the chance to use TERN to finally do some good, she pulls together a rag-tag crew and sets off to run river analysis in ancient Mesopotamia. At first, Minh, Kiki (an overeager grad student), Hamid (an old friend and wannabe cowboy), and Fabian (their TERN contact) have everything under control, but their well-planned expedition quickly falls apart. Tense interpersonal relations, historical conflicts, and shady tech wreak havoc on their project right from the beginning. The past, present, and future collide in unexpected yet devastating ways.

If the mark of a good book is that regardless of length, it leaves you panting for more, then Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach is one of the greats. I literally screeched when it ended. So loudly I woke my pet rat up out of his nap and sent him skittering under the couch. No joke. This novella is far bigger on the inside than its 230 pages belie. Robson lured me in with the promise of time travel and post-apocalyptic survival, lulled me with R&D proposals financial finagling, and hit me hard with an epic adventure.

Lucky Peach has as much world building as most full-length novels. The novella tells two stories simultaneously, one set in ancient Mesopotamia and the other in Minh’s present. Robson deftly keeps them apart, the former gradually revealing itself to the latter, making it all the more thrilling when they finally fold in on each other.

Her vision of the future is full of cool, connective technology, but is rooted in reality. Despite being staggeringly advanced, it’s all so banal. People can use biometrics tech that allows them to control their physiology, but only if you pay the license fee. Scientists have glacier seeds, can create rivers from nothing, and have brought animals back from extinction, but still have to draft project proposals and secure funding. They invented time travel, but the tech is locked behind NDAs and proprietary walls and used almost exclusively for tourism. And Robson isn’t that far off from the truth. Look at us today: we have smartphones that can do things that were literally impossible when I was a kid, and what do we do with them? Mostly just watch dumb videos and share fake news.

For me, world building, no matter how intricate, isn’t enough to earn my adoration. Without compelling characters to hook me in, my interest will only go so far. Given the tenor of this review, it should be no surprise to learn that Lucky Peach is full of great characters. Intriguingly, Robson hints at certain character tropes—the hard-ass older woman in charge, the excitable young apprentice, the sinister middle manager, the laissez-faire male genius—but only to show how incomplete those tropes are. Her characters are greater than the sum of their parts.

Minh and Kiki were my particular favorites. The two women are at once complements and contrasts. Where Minh is closed off, stubborn, and frustrated, Kiki is effervescent, determined, and open-minded. Minh sees the TERN job as a chance to secure capital for future Calgary projects, but for Kiki it’s the adventure of a lifetime and the chance to prove herself. Kiki is desperate for Minh’s approval and sees in her flickers of a mentor, parent, older sister, and friend. Minh, meanwhile, explores her tempestuous relationship with Kiki through her own reluctance to engage and connect. They’re fascinatingly complex characters with rich inner lives, deep personal histories, and intersectionally diverse backgrounds.

I’ve said a million times that I don’t like science fiction. But every time Tor.com sends me another novella unlike any sci-fi I’ve ever read before, I end up loving the hell out of it. Maybe it’s not that I don’t enjoy the genre itself but that I’m reacting negatively to trope-y, technobabbly, non-diverse sci-fi? I don’t know, but I’m digging the experience of getting to know a genre I typically don’t dabble in. If you dig Robson’s world as much as I did, you be pleased to know there are two more entries to explore: “We Who Live in the Heart” is free through Clarkesworld and her novelette “Intervention” in the upcoming anthology Infinity’s End.

Sci-fi fans and non-sci-fi fans alike should pick up a copy of Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach. There’s enough wicked cool tech to satisfy hard SF geeks, character development to please SF dilettantes, and fantastic storytelling to enamor everyone else.

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach is available from Tor.com Publishing.

Alex Brown is a YA librarian by day, local historian by night, pop culture critic/reviewer by passion, and QWoC all the time. Keep up with her every move on Twitter, check out her endless barrage of cute rat pics on Instagram, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on Tumblr.




Professor Stephen Hawking Reveals 3 Ways We Can Travel In Time

So… time travel is possible… at least theoretically.

Traveling in time has been one of the greatest fantasies of the human being for centuries. It is a popular trend in movies and science fiction series, and the idea has inspired novels from Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Tale, to Charlton Heston’s The Planet of the Apes masterpiece.

So… is time travel achievable? If we take a look at the last couple of years, we will notice quite a few scientific studies that have researched the idea of traveling in time.

We’ve written about the idea of time travel, and the studies which have looked into the possibility of traveling in time quite a few times in the past.

We covered an article that suggests how scientists found out that ‘mathematically’ time travel is possible.

“People think of time travel as something as fiction. And we tend to think it’s not possible because we don’t do it,” said Ben Tippett, a physicist, and mathematician from the University of British Columbiasaid in a UBC news release, adding “But, mathematically, it is possible.”

According to a number of scientists, there are ways by which we could travel in time. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

By using Einstein’s Theory of General relativity as the basis for a hypothetical device which they named a Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time (TARDIS), scientists have come up with a mathematical model of a theoretical time machine box that has the ability to move back and forth through space and time.

Interesting comments about Time travel were made by Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel of Lewis & Clark College wrote the Forbes blog Starts With A Bang: “While we still haven’t discovered the conditions we need to travel back in time and find the necessary means by which we can create a large enough system for humans to do so, ‘nothing is forbidding it’ in the laws of theoretical physics.”

But perhaps the scientist who most embraces the idea of time travel as a possibility is astrophysicist Professor Stephen Hawking who suggests there are three ways we can travel in time.

According to the famous British astrophysicist, there are at least three (hypothetical) ways in which it would be possible to travel through time.

The first one would be to travel in time through a wormhole, a central figure of theoretical physics that quantumly represents a point in spacetime that connects with another. If we were to find a way to enter a Wormhole, we could then create a tunnel between two points in space-time.

The second theory according to Professor Hawking would only allow us to travel to the future, and it would mean the traveler would have to approach a black hole, capable of dramatically slowing down time, and then returning to Earth, where time would have passed normally.

Finally, the British scientist proposes that the most viable alternative to building a time machine would be to build a device capable of moving around the Earth at the speed of light, which would allow the life of its passengers on board to pass 7 thousand times faster than on Earth, allowing a shift to the future.

Ivan

Ivan is editor-in-chief at ancient-code.com, he also writes for Universe Explorers.
You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.




Who would win in a fight: Alexander the Great, or Genghis Khan?

If you built a time machine and forced Alexander the Great’s army to fight Genghis Khan’s, who would win? The answer: It’s not even close. A thousand years separate those two forces, and they include a few striking technological achievements.

Image via Ethically Challenged.

Over at Slate’s Quora blog, they break down the bloodshed, and it comes down to the invention of steel, better saddles, and gunpowder. Some salient quotes:

In Alexander the Great’s time, steel was either unheard of or incredibly rare. (It’s disputed.) In Genghis Khan’s time, it was mass-produced by the ton to arm and armor entire armies…

Riding a horse without a solid saddle means all of your weight is on the animals’ back. With a solid saddle, the weight of the rider is distributed over a larger area to the horse’s flanks…

At this point in time, Chinese soldiers made use of flame throwers, shrapnel bombs, and breech-loading guns. At the height of Genghis Khan’s reign, he had vanquished the northern Chinese Jin dynasty and absorbed their heavy cavalry and gunpowder armed infantry into his forces.

In other words, it’s not even close. You have one army with steel weapons, good armor and flamethrowers, and the other army fighting with flimsy weapons and basically wearing no protection. The whole thing is a fascinating read. [Slate]




The Penitent Man

The Penitent Man tells the story of psychologist Dr. Jason Pyatt, a man devoted to his work – a man torn from his family. With his struggling marriage and mounting bills, Jason is at a crossroads with the life he has chosen and the life he could have. When one of his clients – the mysterious Mr. Darnell – walks into his office and paints him a repentant tale of future economic and moral collapse, Jason’s eyes are forever opened. With the help of his best friend Ovid, he embarks on a personal mission to change the course of his future, and possibly the world, forever.

 

The Penitent Man 2010 HD (Space Time Travel/Space-Time Continuum)

The Penitent Man tells the story of psychologist Dr. Jason Pyatt, a man devoted to his work – a man torn from his family. With his struggling marriage and mounting bills, Jason is at a crossroads with the life he has chosen and the life he could have.