[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile most people know about time travel from science fiction or fantasy, time travel into the future is an established scientific fact, and Einstein and many physicists have presented the world with irrefutable evidence not only mathematically, but in practical experiments like the one conducted by Hafele and Keating in 1971. Two atomic clocks were put on board an airplane that traveled around the world. When the plane landed, the clocks on board were 59 nanoseconds “behind” those on the ground. Because speed increases, the clocks on board a plane, train, spacecraft, or other vehicles “slow down” relative to the clocks that stayed behind.
Just as a clock mechanism in a vehicle moves slower than one that is relatively stationary, the metabolism of a human body will slow down relatively as well. The heart, digestive organs, breathing, brain activity, and similar functions will slow down compared to those of human beings left behind, and the faster the speed, the greater the difference.
Twin Paradox? Real Time Travel
In the famous Twin Paradox, an identical twin leaves the earth in a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light. He travels a distance of five light-years, turns around, and returns to earth to find that, while he is away, fifty years have passed. While he is only ten years old, his identical twin is now fifty years older. If our traveler had traveled at a greater speed and/or if he was away longer, the results would be even more dramatic, for example, he might return to find that his twin had died centuries or even millennia before.
If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?
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In A Briefer History of Time, Stephen Hawking says categorically: “It is possible to travel into the future. That is, relativity shows that it is possible to create a time machine that will make you jump forward in time. You get into the time machine, wait, get out, and find that much more time has passed on earth than has happened to you. We don’t have the technology today to do it, but it’s just a matter of engineering; we know it can be done.
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future. And time future contained in time past. T. S. ELIOT
Fermilab scientists were able to obtain protons at up to 99.999946 percent of the speed of light using their particle accelerator. In Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time, the famous physicist J. Richard Gott says, “If we can accelerate protons to more than 99.995 percent of the speed of light, we could also send an astronaut at the same speed. It’s just a matter of cost. It would be a huge cost, “he says,” because a human being weighs about 40 times as much as a proton. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be in our immediate future.
Theoretically, time travel into the future is possible
Are there other methods than reaching speeds close to the speed of light? Gott describes another method that would certainly work but would be even more difficult. The first step is to “take the planet Jupiter apart and use its material to build around you an incredibly dense spherical shell that you need to collapse into a black hole (for a Jupiter mass shell, which is a little bigger than 5.64 meters, roomy enough for you to sit inside).” Gott continues to provide detailed instructions on the steps necessary to build this machine. “The pieces of the mass in the shell would surround you, and the forces they exert on you would act in all different directions, canceling each other out exactly, leaving a net-zero effect [so] no gravitational forces would affect you”. Inside, time would pass four times slower than outside the sphere. After what would be 50 years, the occupant would emerge to find that 200 years had passed. It would work, but no person or government on earth has the resources to build such a device.
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To travel more quickly to the future
Are there other methods of traveling to the future? None that we know of will work. Many scientists theorize that wormholes could be used, but this is only a hypothesis. At this point, there is no evidence that wormholes even exist.
Nevertheless, time travel continues to fascinate us. It has always been part of legends, folk tales, and myths, always a part of literature and fantasy. Perhaps its day will come sooner than we imagine. Science always surprises us.