Is Time Travel Theoretically Feasible?

Time Travel has long been a popular subject of human fantasy. With all our scientific advancements, we still do not seem to have a clue whether it is feasible. Will a day ever come, when we will be able to breach the great barrier of time?
Is Time Travel Theoretically Feasible?
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If your destination is in the North, which directions would you travel? Before you say North, think again. You can reach the same spot traveling Southwards too. Before we came to understand that the Earth is round, that would have appeared a fantasy, but once you understand the logic, it is all so simple - a child's play, isn't it? If only time travel was that simple a concept!

Who knows! Maybe a day will come when we will come to realize that it was actually that simple a concept. But that day is not in sight as yet, and till

then, we can only indulge in our imaginations. Time travel is still a human fantasy.

What Scientists and Philosophers tell us

The general theory of relativity conjures up the possibility of time travel, at least in those situations that permit travel faster than light. This led scientists to conceptualize such situations, which they called as transversable wormholes and cosmic strings. In particular, the “wormholes” proposed as warped space-time attracted a lot of interest, in respect of theories that proposed that a person travelling faster through a wormhole relative to the rest of the world can find himself in a later time, without ageing that much. It still did not allow backward travel.

Stephen Hawking has responded to such propositions with his “Chronology Protection Conjecture’, which lays down that the basic laws of nature prohibit time travel, except at a very small, sub-microscopic level. Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov, a Russian physicist, came out in the 1980s, with his “self consistency principle”, which asserts that even if it may be possible for an event to change the past, the probability of such event will be zero.

Scientists have also pointed out the existence of causality paradoxes which make time travel unlikely. An example is the ‘Grandfather Paradox’, wherein simply put, if a person travelling back in time kills his own ancestor, he would have prevented himself from coming into existence.

These and various other objections to the suggestions of the feasibility of time travel have curbed the enthusiasm about the possibility, probability and feasibility of time travel concepts.

What Exactly is Time

Before we try to understand what we mean by time travel, let us first understand what we mean by time. Time does not have an independent existence. Simply put, time cannot exist in the absolute absence of space and energy.

We know that mass and energy are inter-convertible and hence can be considered different forms of the same object. Unlike the positive dimension of mass and energy, space has a negative dimension denoted by the vacuum, wherein energy or mass fits in. However, the perception of time or the dimension of time arises from relative changes in space and energy. If the space and energy remain as they were, time ceases to exist.

Understanding this is essential for indulging in any conceptualization of time travel.

How Time Travel can become Possible

Having conceptualized about time, it can be seen that you can travel in time in two ways, either you remain the same while the rest of universe moves to a different time, or,

the rest of the world remains unchanged, while you undergo a change in time. Since a man's lifespan is short, he can not possibly travel too distant in time by using the second strategy, but he can travel some distance, however small it may be. That, as Hawkins and Novikov also point out, is not probably, even if it is perceived as possible.

So let us try a different route, an easier one. While reality is not the same as perception, it is possible for the two of them to become so approximated that there remains no difference between the two. Given this possibility, it is possible to recreate a perception at a given time that actually resembles another time frame. Simply put, the three dimensional audio-visual experience of a 3D-movie theater can be developed further to create the illusion of time-travel. That unfortunately will remain only an illusion, and would only be a highly stimulating experience, but nothing more.

As far as the actual time travel is considered, the real key to it lies in knowing how to manipulate space and energy in such a manner that they approximate the changes in time, either backward or forward. Even if it becomes possible, it would require enormous amounts of energy, which will required to be drawn from within the universe itself, so it is not possible to change the whole universe in time. What may, however, be possible, is changing the space and energy on a limited part of universe, for example, the planet earth so that it approximates a change in time. This, even is possible, requires energy apart from technology that is still far away from the capacity of mankind, and hence not probable.

To put it scientifically, time travel requires control over such amounts of energy that it would be outside the capacity of mankind. To put it religiously, time travel if feasible only for a omnipotent power, like the almighty Lord of this universe. The atheists may want to add,”..if there was one!”.

You Never Know

I am a firm believer that time is cyclic, and can not be separated from space and energy, which means that changing energy distribution in space can change time. As I said earlier, one way is to change the world to go to another point in time, the other is to change yourself.

Either way, though we are still a several mysteries away from being able to travel in time, the fact is, we do not know how close or far we are from it. Who knows! We might as well be very close, perhaps sitting over the solution right now!

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