Exploring the Reality of Time Travel: Science Fact vs. Science Fiction

Time Travel Machine Art Concept

Time travel, a longstanding fascination in science fiction, remains a complex and unresolved concept in science. The second law of thermodynamics suggests time can only move forward, while Einstein’s theory of relativity shows time’s relativity to speed. Theoretical ideas like wormholes offer potential methods, but practical challenges and paradoxes, such as the “grandfather paradox,” complicate the feasibility of actual time travel.

Will it ever be possible for time travel to occur?

Have you ever dreamed of traveling through time, like characters do in science fiction movies? For centuries, the concept of time travel has captivated people’s imaginations. Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time, just like you move between different places. In movies, you might have seen characters using special machines, magical devices or even hopping into a futuristic car to travel backward or forward in time.

But is this just a fun idea for movies, or could it really happen?

The Science Behind Time Travel

The question of whether time is reversible remains one of the biggest unresolved questions in science. If the universe follows the laws of thermodynamics, it may not be possible. The second law of thermodynamics states that things in the universe can either remain the same or become more disordered over time.

It’s a bit like saying you can’t unscramble eggs once they’ve been cooked. According to this law, the universe can never go back exactly to how it was before. Time can only go forward, like a one-way street.

Time Is Relative

However, physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity suggests that time passes at different rates for different people. Someone speeding along on a spaceship moving close to the speed of light – 671 million miles per hour! – will experience time slower than a person on Earth.

People have yet to build spaceships that can move at speeds anywhere near as fast as light, but astronauts who visit the International Space Station orbit around the Earth at speeds close to 17,500 mph. Astronaut Scott Kelly has spent 520 days at the International Space Station, and as a result has aged a little more slowly than his twin brother – and fellow astronaut – Mark Kelly. Scott used to be 6 minutes younger than his twin brother. Now, because Scott was traveling so much faster than Mark and for so many days, he is 6 minutes and 5 milliseconds younger.

Time isn’t the same everywhere.

Theoretical Possibilities and Challenges

Some scientists are exploring other ideas that could theoretically allow time travel. One concept involves wormholes, or hypothetical tunnels in space that could create shortcuts for journeys across the universe. If someone could build a wormhole and then figure out a way to move one end at close to the speed of light – like the hypothetical spaceship mentioned above – the moving end would age more slowly than the stationary end. Someone who entered the moving end and exited the wormhole through the stationary end would come out in their past.

However, wormholes remain theoretical: Scientists have yet to spot one. It also looks like it would be incredibly challenging to send humans through a wormhole space tunnel.

Paradoxes and Failed Dinner Parties

There are also paradoxes associated with time travel. The famous “grandfather paradox” is a hypothetical problem that could arise if someone traveled back in time and accidentally prevented their grandparents from meeting. This would create a paradox where you were never born, which raises the question: How could you have traveled back in time in the first place? It’s a mind-boggling puzzle that adds to the mystery of time travel.

Famously, physicist Stephen Hawking tested the possibility of time travel by throwing a dinner party where invitations noting the date, time, and coordinates were not sent out until after it had happened. His hope was that his invitation would be read by someone living in the future, who had capabilities to travel back in time. But no one showed up.

As he pointed out: “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.”

James Webb Space Telescope Artist Conception

Artist’s rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: Northrop Grumman

Telescopes Are Time Machines

Interestingly, astrophysicists armed with powerful telescopes possess a unique form of time travel. As they peer into the vast expanse of the cosmos, they gaze into the past universe. Light from all galaxies and stars takes time to travel, and these beams of light carry information from the distant past. When astrophysicists observe a star or a galaxy through a telescope, they are not seeing it as it is in the present, but as it existed when the light began its journey to Earth millions to billions of years ago.

Telescopes are a kind of time machine – they let you peer into the past.

NASA’s newest space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, is peering at galaxies that were formed at the very beginning of the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago.

While we aren’t likely to have time machines like the ones in movies anytime soon, scientists are actively researching and exploring new ideas. But for now, we’ll have to enjoy the idea of time travel in our favorite books, movies, and dreams.

Written by Adi Foord, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Adapted from an article originally published in The Conversation.The Conversation

8 Comments on "Exploring the Reality of Time Travel: Science Fact vs. Science Fiction"

  1. Until the problem of the second law of thermodynamics(entropy) is solved, the concept of time travel will remain the subject of science fiction. Since this is a basic law of our universe, there is no conceivable way that we know of to do this. The great thing about our knowledge of the universe is that it continues to grow and with that our view of what is possible continues to change. After all, at one time it was believed we could never leave earth!

  2. mehrdad aghakasiri tehran 00989332197646 | November 17, 2023 at 2:39 am | Reply

    The 7 planets are soul pollen in the space @ life has been the world has been prepared @ The pollen of the universe is hidden @ Around the axis of the galaxy, the universe is hidden@@ The pollen of the galaxies is a hidden cluster Itis made that we thought about what wisdom is in God’s work and how it is arranged in the form of words.The verse that is made is as follows @@ John, you are in time @ worlds, planets around the axis of the branches of galaxies @@ 8 Prophets, divine prophets, God-aware witnesses @ God’s words of revelation, they are aware @@ 48 What the words of revelation that every prophet has about @ sometimes Sometimes the message of God has become a verbal cliché in the head @@ 62 The message of God was given to every prophet @ The message was made around the power of God @@ 46 The truth of the religions of the cradle of time is said in the world @ Prophets always came for justice in time @@ 62 A warrior became brave in time @ Delaver Ghahrmani Boud Taarani@@ 43 Omar Noah never died, who knows!@ Imransan Is there an unseen world, immortality!?@@ 49 Men’s rights in the sign @ Human rights, the observance of world justice @@ 40 We have God’s love @ A love that is not patched, separation!!!: @@ 39 Take one word from the end of the first and second stanzas to the bottom of these eight verbal verses, and this sentence is made @@ God-aware, the world is born, you know the sign of God @ Agah,the beginning of time, the world, eternity, the world of separation @@ The meaning of this sentence is That God, who before us humans lived on the earth, formed the earth’s crusts with full knowledge, and we humans know the sign of God, which is on the earth, on the continents and countries, and some names have been shown by God for our knowledge since the end of time.In a later video, if I have a lifetime left, I will explain exactly about these poems, God willing @@ The word of the Prophet 17 is the 17th and Muhammad (PBUH) said that the Bedouin Arabs should pray 17 rakats so that theyperform ablution and be clean and not kill and loot.From the caravans, these were all God’s will, and he is good everywhere, in every nation, God does not like evildoers, sinners, and oppressors.Muhammad (PBUH) was God’s last messenger to the Arab people, he was God’s best prophet, and the third verse is because they do not accept Muhammad (PBUH).Some Iranians who were in contact with me, that’s why in the third verse of this surah, he said that his message was given to every prophet, the message is based on divine power, and the word truth, the first two letters of which istruth, is truth, and truth is the 43rd and forty-third word, and the word is time.It is exactly 46, and this song of the Prophets was revealed at the age of 46 ببخشید اگر قبلآ مطالبی فرستادم که به مذاهب مذاهم ارتباط داد شاید به درد شما نمیخورد من در کامنت های بعدی سعی میکنم از نجوم و حیات زمین سخن بگویم این چند بیت را به خارجی انگلیسی که تبدیل کردم معنی آن حیرت انگیز تعغیر کرد گفتم برای شما بفرستم و بداند که این کلام من نبوده کلام خداوند بوده شما نظرتان در مورد خداوند چیست من میگویم خداوند که پدر ومادر انسان بودند قادر به ساختن ما بودند اما آیا آنها قادر به ساختن ستاره ها هم بودند

    • Your comment has validity to God. But it surely has no place here, it is only fare if the hole comment were in english and has less of a convincing push in a belief a person either believes or not.

  3. It’s too bad physics can’t come to a complete consensus about time, I would like to add some thought about discoveries it has been proven that time travels in only one direction forward, the experiment dealt with light thru glass and how it reacts in the middle and what change happens after light exits the other side, a simple explanation of this experiment. Brings me to theorize and start that time existed before the big bang and is outside of our universes influence, when time is acted on by gravity the ( Form ) of time is changed until the influence no longer has effect, this could go hand in hand with light photons the photon has a influence in the Form that time has. This can not be a observed difference unless we were to see beyond the speed of light. We do agree that physics changes at a subatomic state and also does some strange changing once the speed of light has been exceeded.

  4. The experiment I referred to was posted on IFL in October 2023 headlined ( Solution to complex light problem shows that time can only go Forward ).

  5. One of the problem with travel time is the one people keep forever. And, that is that the earth is always move through space. Matter of fact, the earth is not in the same place that it was 50 years ago. So you will have to move through space as well as time.

    Ironically, the only science fiction that seems to handle this is the original story “The Time Machine”.

  6. Time travel is happening now. It has been done since the 1950s. The method satisfies all the requirements. Traveler can’t change the past, but only observe. You can’t go farther back than when the machine was first invented (1950s). There’s one more limitation, you can only observe what the machine was directed. The time machine, the common video camera, and video tape recorder. Now it’s the camera, and file capture computer. Yes, viewing a video tape is effectively going back in time. It’s more than the video, it’s the sound too. There are working versions of smell, and touch which can be recorded too. If you record, and replicate all the senses, you have effectively complete time travel. The most primitive form is the picture. This technology has been around for thousands of years, and is manually intensive. Later many pictures were strung together to make a film. Using a camera to record film was the first example of complete visual time travel (back to when the film was made). Later sound was added, and we have the movies. A way of going back in time that included sight, and sound. Now we have video systems (YouTub) that can play back past events selected by you. Yes, video systems are virtual time travel machines we have now.

  7. Doctor mehrdad143 | February 14, 2024 at 1:12 am | Reply

    How Stellar Cannibalism Illuminates Cosmic Evolution

    جزایر فیلیپین دایناسوری که توسط انسان خلق شده در بیش ده ها میلیون سال و بخاطر ریخته شدن دوهزار متر خاک غرق شده بخاطر بالا آمدن آب اقیانوس اما جزایر فیلیپین شبیه دایناسوریست

    The address of the above comment on the site about a thief who was trained by a dinosaur bird who was trained by humans tens of millions of years ago and who arrested murderers and robbers.The police were arrested by big birds.don’t the scientists of the world think about this?They were buried in the bed of important cities, they were buried with all the tools and machines, the traces of humans tens of millions of years ago, they had a civilization and a history of hundreds of thousands of years, they built a base underthe earth, from the meteorites that explode from the planets when they hit the sun, and they knew that several thousand meters of soil is poured on the surface of the seas and islands, and they knew that the shapes they made of the islands in thecountry of Papua may go under the ocean, of course, the Philippine islands.The picture is of a baby dinosaur that went under the ocean, but the northern island of Australia, which is Papua, is quite clear.It is a big dinosaur whose tail is towards the east and its mouth is open towards the west.There is the Philippines, but it was more difficult to take the soil to the Philippine islands to create a dinosaur than the island of Papua, that is why the height of the soil in the Philippines is lower, and when the meteorites fell a few kilometerson the surface of the ocean, the image created by humans under the ocean in the shape of a dinosaur is hidden in the American continent The picture is of a bird in the shape of a dinosaur that is flying, and this bird was made to flyby the Indians of the tribe, that bird was talking to people, but its spirit might have heard something from the police because a thief while in the bird’s mouth He was handcuffed by the police and the weapon, which is a machine gun, is fromthe east of the American continent on the coast

    The country of Florida is a machine gun.When you continue to New York City, you will reach the mouth of the dinosaur, where a thief is trapped in the mouth of a bird, and the little finger of the police handcuffed the thief’s hand, and a small colt is in the hand ofthe thief, who the police caught in the mouth of the dinosaur.put in the mouth of the bird dinosaur, you can clearly see that the thief fell on the ground and was shot in the head, and it is clear that his forehead was pierced, the bird’s mouth is open in flight, the head of the birdis from the east of the American continent, and a fish is placed in the bird’s mouth in the water of the ocean.The stretched glove of the police, which is in the form of a fist, with a handcuff attached to the left hand of the thief who fell on the ground in the sea and the mouth of the bird, the head of the thief and the killer, is located towards the southwest and west coast of America.All these images were created from the American continent and islands by Humans were created, but they didn’t have enough fuel and time to create more accurate images and meteorites ruined the beauty of the images, but it is clear that all these changes were createdby humans, but you have to consider that two thousand meters of soil from meteorites are fish.And they buried the whales under the beaches, and after a very long time, the bodies of the whales turned into oil under the two thousand meters of soil on the beaches, and on the other hand, the presence of two thousand meters of soil onthe surface of the seas and droughts could not make the created images disappear.

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