I hope you’ve read last week’s post Relativity? Really Real-World?, because this is pretty much part 2 (it also has brief explanations of special and general relativity that we’re dealing with today, so please check it out if you haven’t).
Anyway, that post was about how relativity actually matters to us in every day life with GPS satellites, but today we’re heading over to the theoretical possibilities … time-travelling with relativity!
So quickly, our summary of relativity from last week:
Being close to heavy objects and travelling at high speeds both cause time to slow down as compared to the observer- you on Earth.
So if we want to ‘time-travel’ into the future it’s pretty simple … you need to travel very fast and/or around a very heavy object. Speeding in a Ferrari or living on Jupiter isn’t going to make quite enough difference though. We’re talking more like travelling at sub-light speed in an awesome rocket ship or living in a black hole (disclaimer: this method may have side effects such as spaghettification).
But aside from side effects, if you could theoretically travel at sub-light speed or build a house beside a black hole, time would travel more slowly for you as compared to time on Earth. You could wait around for several years and then travel back (taking a few more years). When you make your widely-heralded return the Earth will have passed further into time than you and you’ll technically be living in the future.
However, there is no way back in time and your best friends and family will be now significantly older or dead, depending on how much time you “skipped”.
So in the end, this is a short post to recall as your how-to guide to travelling into the future. If you don’t like the world today, travel really fast (black hole method not recommended) then come back to see what the world’s like tomorrow!