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COSMOSMAGAZINE

From the vault: Time travel: five ways that we could do it

From the vault: Time travel: five ways that we could do it

cosmosmagazine.com

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Time travel: five ways that we could do it

In 2009 the British physicist Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers – the twist was he sent out the invites a year later (No guests showed up). Time travel is probably impossible. Even if it were possible, Hawking and others have argued that you could never travel back before the momen...

1. Time travel via speed

This is the easiest and most practical way to time travel into the far future – go really fast.

According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, when you travel at speeds approaching the speed of light, time slows down for you relative to the outside world.

This is not a just a c...

2. Time travel via gravity

The next method of time travel is also inspired by Einstein. According to his theory of general relativity, the stronger the gravity you feel, the slower time moves.

As you get closer to the centre of the Earth, for example, the strength of gravity increases. Time runs slower for your feet ...

3. Time travel via suspended animation

Another way to time travel to the future may be to slow your perception of time by slowing down, or stopping, your bodily processes and then restarting them later.

Bacterial spores can live for millions of years in a state of suspended animation, until the right conditions of temperature, m...

4. Time travel via wormholes

General relativity also allows for the possibility for shortcuts through spacetime, known as wormholes, which might be able to bridge distances of a billion light years or more, or different points in time.

Many physicists, including Stephen Hawking, believe wormholes are constantly popping...

5. Time travel using light

Another time travel idea, put forward by the American physicist Ron Mallet, is to use a rotating cylinder of light to twist spacetime. Anything dropped inside the swirling cylinder could theoretically be dragged around in space and in time, in a similar way to how a bubble runs around on top your...

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