Is time travel possible? Short answer: Yes, and you are doing it now, bringing yourself into the future at an astonishing rate of one second per second. You almost always travel through time at the same speed, whether you are watching the paint dry or wishing you more time to visit friends out of town.
But this is not the kind of time travel that fascinates countless science fiction writers, nor is it the huge genre that spurred Wikipedia to list nearly 400 titles in the “time travel movies” category. In series such as “Doctor Who”, “Star Trek” and “Back to the Future”, the characters will fly to the past or turn to the future in a wild vehicle. Once the characters have traveled through time, they will use information from the future (this is where the time travel story intersects with the idea of a parallel universe or parallel timeline) to figure out what will happen if you change the past or the present.
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Although many people are fascinated by the idea of changing the past or seeing the future before it expires, no one has shown the kind of round-trip time travel seen in science fiction or proposed A way to send someone out for a long time without destroying them along the way. And, as physicist Stephen Hawking pointed out in his book “Black Holes and Baby Universes” (Bantam, 1994), “The best evidence we have shows that time travel is impossible and never. the future “.
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Science supports a certain amount of flex time. For example, physicist Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity proposes that time is an illusion that moves relative to the observer. Observers traveling at a speed close to the speed of light will experience time and all its consequences (dullness, aging, etc.) are much slower than stationary observers. That’s why astronaut Scott Kelly spent slightly less time in orbit during a year than his twin brother left on Earth.
Related: It is controversial that physicists believe that time is real
There are other scientific theories about time travel, including some strange physics surrounding wormholes, black holes, and string theory. However, in most cases, time travel is still a growing field of science fiction books, movies, television shows, comics, and video games.
Special Relativity and Time Travel to the Near Future
Scott and Mark Kelly at a press conference in 2015, after which Scott stayed on the International Space Station for almost a year. The researchers carefully followed the twins during and after the mission to observe how Scott’s body and abilities changed due to space flight.
twin brothers Scott and Mark Kelly are astronauts, and both have participated in historical research on the effects of space on the human body. (Image source: NASA / Robert Markowitz)
Einstein developed his special theory of relativity in 1905. With its later expansion, general relativity, it has become one of the basic principles of modern physics. Special relativity describes the relationship between space and time when an object is moving in a straight line at a uniform speed.
The short version of the theory seems simple. First, everything is measured in relation to other things, that is, there is no “absolute” frame of reference. Second, the speed of light does not change. In either case, it stays the same no matter where it is measured. Third, nothing can be faster than the speed of light.
Read more: Hidden in Einstein’s mathematics: Does it travel faster than light?
Get started traveling in real time with these simple principles. Observers traveling at high speeds will experience slower time than observers who do not travel through space at high speeds.
Although we will not accelerate humans close to the speed of light, we will allow them to rotate around the Earth at 17,500 mph (28,160 km / h) on the International Space Station. Astronaut Scott Kelly was born after his twin brother and fellow astronaut Mark Kelly. Scott Kelly spent 520 days in orbit, while Mark spent 54 days in space. The difference in the speed at which they experience time in their life actually widens the age gap between the two.
“So [since] I was only 6 minutes earlier, now I have 6 minutes and 5 milliseconds,” Mark Kelly said in a panel discussion on July 12, 2020, as previously reported by Space.com. “Now I have it done.”