How awesome would it be to be able to travel back in time? We watch movies about time travel. In these movies, scientists build a time travel machine, and certain characters explore the lengths of it. It all sounds like a dream, a fiction; however, it could become a reality.
Astrophysicist Ron Mallett, University of Connecticut physics professor, believes that, theoretically, he discovered a way to travel back in time. Mallett has written a scientific equation that could be the base for building an actual time travel machine. To prove his point, he created a device to demonstrate an essential component of his theory.
Mallett’s scientific equation is based on Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity. The theory of special relativity explains how space and time are linked for objects that are moving at a consistent speed in a straight line. Time accelerates or decelerates depending on the rate at which an object is moving.
Einstein’s theory shows that travel in the future may be possible if a spaceship travels near the speed of light. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass becomes infinite, and it is unable to go any faster than light travels.
Therefore, time would pass more quickly for the people on Earth than for the astronaut inside the spaceship. In theory, if the astronaut spends around a week in space, traveling at that speed, when returned to Earth, people would be ten years older. Therefore, it will look like he has time-traveled into the future.
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Skipping forward in time idea is accepted by most physicists; however, traveling in the past is a different story. A story Mallett believes he has solved with the help of lasers.
The astrophysicist time travel machine is also based on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which states that massive objects bend space-time. It associates the force of gravity with the changing geometry of space-time; therefore, the stronger gravity is, the slower time passes.
“If you can bend space, there’s a possibility of you twisting space,” said Mallett. “In Einstein’s theory, what we call space also involves time — that’s why it’s called space-time, whatever it is you do to space also happens to time.”
“By studying the type of gravitational field that was produced by a ring laser, this could lead to a new way of looking at the possibility of a time machine based on a circulating beam of light.” Mallett’s idea is only theoretical at the moment. Even if the time travel machine works, it will work to a certain extent only.
“I don’t think [his work is] necessarily going to be fruitful,” said astrophysicist Paul Sutter, “because I do think that there are deep flaws in his mathematics and his theory, and so a practical device seems unattainable.”