Time Travel: What It Is and How It Could Work
Have you ever wanted to see history with your own eyes? Or, are you interested in how humanity will live hundreds of years from now? Well, sounds like you need time travel. But, the only problem is: it hasn’t actually been invented yet. In today’s blog, we investigate how such a reality-bending concept would work and what you’d need to remember if you did decide to interact with the past.
What is Time Travel?
Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in time. It goes hand in hand with movement between different point in space by an object or a person. The latter is important because the earth is constantly spinning as well as moving around a sun – which, according to recent discoveries, is also moving through the universe. Therefore, to travel to a certain point in time but in the “same” place that you’re standing, you will also need to travel through space. Otherwise, you could find yourself just floating around the stars.
To perform this act, you would use the hypothetical device known as a time machine.
So, beyond the usual sense of the perception of time, is it possible to travel backwards and forwards?
Technically, right now, we are time travelling for we experience the future at the rate of one second per second. However, this sort of transportation is a one way ticket. And, is not the kind of exploration we’re after.
According to Albert Einstein, we live in a four-dimensional continuum in which space and time are interchangeable. He discovered that the faster you move through space, the slower you move through time. Another key idea in this theory of relativity is that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Additionally, gravity plays a big role. For, did you know, that 12,400 miles above us (where the gravity is weaker) time passes more quickly by about 45 microseconds per day.
Therefore, if we want to time travel, we would need to be able to move at the speed of light and in a much strong gravitational field. And such things do exist much like those around black holes – which distort space-time so much that it folds back on itself. This is a wormhole: a shortcut from one point in space-time to another. There’s a few issues with this though:
- The black hole’s gravity would tear you to pieces if you approached.
- You have no control over where and when you would exit.
- There’s no sure-fire solution to get back to the time and space you originally came from.
So for now, it appears travelling to the past or the future is not on the cards. And, it may never be. After all, as esteemed Physicist Stephen Hawking said: “The best evidence we have that time travel is not possible, and never will be, is that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future”.
Okay, let’s ignore what we just said and suppose time travel was possible. There are a few rules when it comes to traversing through time and space.
- Don’t change anything in the past, even accidentally. This is known as the butterfly effect where one more small change in the past can result in a larger consequence in the future.
- Avoid talking to people in the past. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid being seen at all. Especially, if you go somewhere where regular hygiene hasn’t become a reality yet.
- If you do need to speak to someone, try to remember the context of the time period you’re in. For example, World War I was known as the Great War because World War II hadn’t happened yet. Additionally, some countries and territories will have different names and governments.