Time travel is an intriguing topic that appears frequently in science fiction media. In his essay “The Paradoxes of Time Travel,” the late philosopher David Lewis characterised it as involving a discrepancy between time and space time.” The length of a journey is the amount of time it takes for a traveller to leave and arrive at his destination.
Most people understand time travel to mean either travelling back in time to a previous era or forward to a future moment. However, how much of the concept is grounded in reality? Can someone travel through time?
Is Time Travel Possible?
NASA claims that time travel is feasible, though not in the manner one might anticipate. Time and motion are relative to one another, according to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, and nothing can go faster than the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second. “Time dilation” is the process via which time travel occurs. According to Live Science, time dilation refers to how a person’s sense of time varies based on their location or rate of motion. Time is therefore relative.
Time travel is possible, and scientists test theories in many ways, as Dr. Ana Alonso-Serrano, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany, noted. According to Alonso-Serrano, space and time are not absolute qualities. And the fact that spacetime can be carved adds to the complexity of all of this.
Albert Einstein’s Theory
The theories of relativity developed by Albert Einstein provided a description of mass, gravity, space, and time. Relativity’s main finding is that time doesn’t flow in a continuous manner. Time can go more quickly or more slowly, depending on the situation. Astrophysicist Emma Osborne of the University of York in the UK says, “This is where time travel can come in and it is scientifically accurate and there are real-world repercussions from that.” For instance, moving quickly makes time pass more slowly, but the effect is not as strong until you reach the speed of light. This leads to the twin paradox, where one identical twin stays on Earth and the other becomes an astronaut, travelling through space at nearly the speed of light.
The astronaut’s ageing process will be slower than that of their Earthly doppelganger. “You are really younger than the twin brother if you travel and return,” asserts Vlatko Vedral, a quantum physicist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. When Scott spent months in space, albeit not nearly as fast as light, the twins Scott and Mark Kelly actually accomplished this.
Because of relativity, time travel is conceivable. To be precise, we don’t even require a time machine. We have to spend time in a strong gravitational field or move at speeds approaching the speed of light. These two actions are practically equal in terms of relativity. In either case, the subjective time you experience will be relatively brief compared to the decades or centuries that the rest of the Universe experiences. This is the way to look at what will happen in hundreds of years. Travelling backward in time, however, appears to be far more difficult. Barak Shoshany, a theoretical physicist at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, adds, “It may or may not be possible.”
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