A new Deep Space atomic clock developed by NASA may clarify whether time travel is possible. Set to be used for long distance deep space missions, the evidence may verify the many laws of physics concerning space and time.
The concept of time has baffled and interested humankind for thousands of years, exhibited in the symbolic written work on the idea. Yet the question may be; what is time? Does it exist? Is it possible to travel through time? Is time merely an illusion? Physicists have attempted to answer these questions with the nature of time being partially revealed through space exploration, this comprehension may allow the eventual mastering of time travel.
The image some individuals may have of time travel may originate from Hollywood, particularly from films like ‘Back to the Future’. The idea is through high speeds individuals may somehow travel back in or forward through time. The idea may be thought to be partially correct; high speeds may be essential though the effect of this might be markedly different from the “racing into the future” idea and actually have the effect of slowing time.
Likewise, physicist’s drawing on the second law of thermodynamics one of the fundamental laws of nature believe it may be insurmountable to travel backwards in time. If reflected upon it may be apparent how a paradox exists; humans have yet to encounter time travellers and there might be historical traces if it were possible. The belief is time may be slowed (termed “time dilation” by Einstein) or accelerated by high speed space travel.
The forces of gravity, space and time may be inseparable. The accurate clocks in GPS satellites need to be corrected due to the absence of gravity, which results in the drifting of time in the clocks, running 7 microseconds slower everyday. Evidence of time dilation from NASA’s space missions suggest the forces exerted on spaceships and astronauts left the ships’ atomic clocks slightly behind or slightly in front of a stable earth atomic clock time, depending on the type of mission. Although only dealing in fractions of a second this may point to the possibility of time manipulation.
For time travel to be at least possible a space craft capable of the speed of light may be necessary and may be unattainable with the technology possessed today. The speed of light according to special relativity is the maximum speed at which all matter and information may travel and stands at 299,792,458 metres per second. Physicist’s believe it to be perfectly feasible in principle to control time through the laws of relativity, Einstein’s theories provide mathematical equations which may predict the slowing of time at a certain speed, for instance at three quarters the speed of light time might lag 50% of the time experienced by an individual at home on earth.
The implication of these laws is planets with a mass may have a much larger affect on the passing of time, slowing it through a stronger gravitational field. Smaller planets with smaller gravitational fields may have a relative accelerating effect on time, these forces are further seen at high altitudes on earth where gravitational forces are slightly diminished. This illuminates the potential effects of long distance space travel which humankind has yet to experience.
Presently, The Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) developed by NASA may provide a new way of testing whether time travel is actually possible using todays shuttle speeds. The new atomic clock aims to be built more stable, ultra-precise and intended to be used for deep space missions. Developed over the last two decades at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California the atomic clock permits drift of unparalleled accuracy (below 1 nanosecond). Ready to be installed on a spacecraft in late 2016 the device may further demonstrate and progress the understanding of time.
The technology may accurately determine whether time drifting is real. On long distance journeys the orbits of planets and high speeds may conceivably leave a lasting impression on human biology and the instruments of spaceships.
What technology and knowledge do humans require before time travel is possible?