Traveling Through Time, Forwards and Backwards

December 31, 2011

Time travel is a concept most people associate with H.G. Wells, Star Trek, or Back to the Future. But in fact, time travel is possible…it’s just a question of how fast, and in what direction.

Paul Davies

 Arizona State University professor Paul Davies wants you to know that you travel through time every day, by simply moving forward: it’s just kind of hard to notice, because we usually only gain about a billionth of a second or so. In order to really travel forward in time, you need to move closer to the speed of light. 

“You could have a pair of twins, one of whom would go off in a rocket to some nearby star, come zooming back again, and the journey time for the twin in the rocket might be two years, but the twin would return to find that twenty years had elapsed here on earth," said Davies. "In effect, the traveling twin would leap 18 years into earth’s future.”

Davies says the more challenging--and interesting--question is whether we can move back in time. He says that would likely take some kind of a wormhole through space. Davies has a wide array of interests out among the stars. He’s also a proponent of a one-way mission to explore Mars.

“By going one way, you slash the costs enormously, because you don’t have to take the fuel for the return journey," he said. Davies was clear to note: "It’s not a suicide mission. The idea is that they would live and work on the Martian surface, and be resupplied periodically. And eventually others would join them, and they’d do terrific science whilst they were there.” 

Davies will give a public lecture on traveling through time and space January 31st at Neeb Hall on the ASU Tempe campus. Find out more by clicking here.

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