Theories of Time Travel Simplified

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Technically, all of us are time travelers. We move through time slowly, seconds at a time like a worm sliding forward an inch at a time. But will it ever be possible to ever travel backward in time? Or forward in time by leaps and bounds, by months and years?

Possibly. Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity left the door open for the potentiality of time travel by showing that distance and time are not absolutes.

But how could time travel possibly work? Most are based on Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity.


Some scientists, include Kip Thorne of the California Institute for Technology and Richard Gott with Princeton University, speculate that wormholes could exist that could sort of be used as shortcuts in time and space. In theory, a person would be able to jump through one of these wormhole tunnels and come out on the other side in a different place and time. One big downside is that to create such a wormhole, huge amounts of energy would be needed, more than even several suns could provide.

Speed of Light

If it were possible for a person or a vehicle to move the speed of light, that person or vehicle would in a sense be traveling through time, according to principles of relativity. By the time the traveler returned, from the point of view of anyone left behind a longer time would have passed than had passed for the traveler. This is also called time dilation. But in this form of time travel, the traveler would only be able to move into the future.

Faster-Than-Light Speeds

If someone were able to move faster than the speed of light, in theory at the speed of light they would reach a point where time did not exist. Then, by moving faster than the speed of light, they would move into what some call negative time. In other words, they would be moving backward in time.


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