Why Time Travel Is (Probably) Impossible! (Part 1)

Bob can’t help himself (let me count the ways!), but when it comes to watching science documentary’s Bob’s brain goes into hypermode afterwards.

Case in Point: Brian Greene’s ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos – Illusion of Time’.

It discussed our current understanding of just what Time is and how it seemingly only ‘moves’ in one direction and at a constant pace (to us here on earth – although we make the assumption it must be that way ‘everywhere’) It is this appearance that has given rise to the phrase ‘River of Time’. We float like we are on a raft on a smoothly flowing river; we can move in any direction over the river’s uneven surface but the river (Time) keeps on moving always in the one direction and at the same speed.

Or rather we used to believe so.


Albert Einstein believed, through his equations for Special Relativity, that time actually travelled at various rates, for various observers, depending upon their speed relative to each other. It was not until the 70’s, many years after his death, thanks to jet planes and spacecraft and atomic clocks, that man was actually able to prove Einstein was right! Time really does ‘move’ more slowly for someone who is moving faster relative to us.

So Time may be a river but it ‘flows’ literally at varying speed.

Contrary to what you might expect, the faster you travel (relative to an observer, on earth, say), the slower your time actually ‘moves’, when compared to the ‘stationary’ observer. To you however things just seem to keep ‘ticking along’ normally, you don’t notice that you have ‘slowed down’.

Einstein predicted that as you got closer to a speed equal to the fastest speed possible – that of light – your ‘time’ becomes so slow that, to an observer back on Earth for you, time appears to have stood still! Your clock does not appear to move at all (whereas in your reference frame time appears to be moving ‘normally’).

If you were able to turn your ship around and return to earth you would find, quite alarmingly, that while your trip only took you perhaps a couple of months, many years had passed back on Earth IN THE ‘SAME’ TIME!

It would be as if, by travelling at such an enormous velocity, you had travelled ‘forward’ in Time itself.

This is of course, Impossible (But none-the-less true!)

NEXT: see Part 2.

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  1. Why Time Travel Is (Probably) Impossible! (Part 2) | The World Is My Soapbox
  2. How do you really know what is going to happen in the future… | Silent Observer

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