Anybody remember the old 60’s TV show The Time Tunnel? I haven’t seen that many of them, but it was the third series created by the father of television science fiction, Irwin Allen. Sure, he created disaster movies like The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure but before that he created several science fiction TV shows. The most popular was probably the ultra-cheesy Lost in Space, but he also created Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, and the aforementioned The Time Tunnel.
I mention this only because I recently saw an episode of National Geographic Channel’s Naked Science where they discuss with leading scientists the fact that most of them feel time travel is not only possible, but inevitable. In fact, it’s already happened. Now before you assume I’ve gone X-Files or something, the fact is the astronauts orbiting the in the space station are going so much faster than those of us here on Earth that several of them have returned to find themselves in the future!
Don’t believe me? It is true. Well yes, it is only a second or so in the future, but the future none the less. According to the theory of special relativity, when one person is traveling closer to the speed of light than another, time passes slower for that person than for the one who is relatively stationary. Also, time travels slower at the bottom of a gravity well (such as on Earth versus in orbit.) The further away from it you are, the faster time is for you. What I find fascinating is that time passes differently for different objects in the universe depending on their speed and proximity to gravity, so time is different throughout the universe.
So what will it take for you to travel into the future? Energy. That’s it really, just the energy required to take you to a speed closer to the speed of light and then slow you back down again. Once you’ve done that, you’ve traveled into the future. You might not be able to travel backwards but forwards looks not only possible, but inevitable if you assume that eventually we’ll control enough energy to make it happen.
The bigger question is – if it were possible, would you do it? I’d have to say no. I have no desire to leave my friends and family behind in the past, at least not now. But what about you?