Time Travel For Dummies

Updated on March 27, 2015

Back to the Future

Time travel is theoretically possible. Unlike many stunts that are depicted in movies, it is, in theory possible to move to a different point along the time line.

Putting a time machine in a DeLorean or giving the Libyans a bomb filled with pinball machine parts is entirely a different matter.

The Sidewalks of Time

Space is a fabric that can be warped by gravity or speed. If you have enough gravity or enough speed, time travel becomes possible.

Ordinarily space and time make a continuous path like a smooth sidewalk. You can ride your bicycle down that walk at breakneck speed and be none the worse for wear. But if a sudden pothole should show up on that sidewalk you would be in a world of hurt. If the hole were big enough, you might entirely disappear from the sidewalk universe and enter another universe.

Black holes and Warped Space

When enough matter gets together in in place, there comes a point when the underlying structure of space-time can no longer support the mass. All that stuff collapses into a black hole.

Look up into the night sky. You will see planets and stars. For anyone one of them, if you had enough energy you could escape their orbits. It is always possible to go fast enough to leave. For earth, that escape velocity is 7 miles per second.

Now suppose you had an object that was so massive that its escape velocity was 186,282 miles per hour. That is the speed of light. So not even light could reach the escape velocity for such an object. Since no light can escape it, we call it a black hole.

Singularities

Not all black holes are created equal. Some spin a lot. Some spin a little. some have an electric charge and others don't. Some radiate at a fast rate and others at a slow rate. The fast radiators are evaporating to nothing.

In particular some black holes have funny shapes. And some black holes actually let you see some of what is going on inside them. So you can see the violations of the laws of the universe going on--or so some would say.

If you had a long cylindrical or cigar shaped, naked singularity--a black hole that is at least partially transparent--and you had a space ship that was built for speed, you could travel around the black hole in circles. And that physical travel through that immense gravitation field would allow you to travel through time. If you could survive it.

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• AUTHOR

poetryman6969

3 years ago

Hello Peggy. Welcome to the future! We are all time travelers seeing always things as they were and moving on to things as they will be. We see things as they were because the speed of light is not instantaneous.

Now as for the black holes, the trick is to use a gravitational singularity to manipulate the time stream without getting sucked in. Some believe a black hole could make an excellent energy source. If you go far enough into the future of if we meet up with a truly advanced civilization then you will see black holes being used.

• Peggy Woods

3 years ago from Houston, Texas

As an old Star Trec fan, I find this subject fascinating. If we could zoom ahead centuries from now, it would be interesting to see how we have advanced in our space exploration. We would certainly want to avoid the black holes just as we hope to avoid the potholes in our streets. Of course we and our cars usually survive a pothole accident...probably not so if we were sucked into a black hole!

• Lynn Savitzky

3 years ago from New Jersey

...cosmic.

• AUTHOR

poetryman6969

3 years ago

Lynn, we are all time travelers in some sense. The trick is to find a way to control the direction and speed of that travel and not suffer ill effects from the process.

• Lynn Savitzky

3 years ago from New Jersey

I like to think what you listed will influence scientists to perfect actual time machines someday.

• AUTHOR

poetryman6969

4 years ago

4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Just read your time travel hub. I can already see that being a member on this platform will enriched my own understanding of our universe. Thanks for following my hub on Parallel Worlds and realities.

• James Robertson

6 years ago from Texas

Awesome article. You explained Warped-Spacetime in a spectacular way. I had always used cling wrap as my example. Forces of large mass weight down on it and warp it more than smaller forces. My only complaint is that this article touched more on Blackholes than it did on time travel. All in all, great article, just a little misleading.

• AUTHOR

poetryman6969

6 years ago

Glad you liked it! Traveling through time in space ship is ever so much more comfortable than the way Arnold Schwarzenegger had to do it!

• Inda Blackwell

6 years ago from Hampton Roads

I became intrigued by the topic of your hub and decided to read it and see what perspective you were coming from. Very interesting almost eccentric viewpoint. I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

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