Why Time Dilation Allows Time Travel

If you travel close to the speed of light, you experience a phenomenon known as time dilation.

Time dilation is a physics concept that is based on the idea that as you move through space, time itself is measured differently for the moving object than the unmoving object.

For an object or person that moves near the speed of light, this effect allows a way to travel into the future faster than we normally do.
Time dilation has been confirmed in scientific experiments.

Time Dilation Allows Time TravelImage credit: BBC

Time dilation means that if you’re traveling in a spaceship at high speed, moving very quickly from Earth, time inside the ship would slow down in comparison to that on Earth. You could do a flyby of a nearby star and return to Earth at nearly the speed of light, and a few years would pass on Earth while possibly only a few weeks or months would pass for you, depending on how fast you were going and how far away the star was.

time dilation

As astrophysicist and Professor at the University of Portland and Lewis & Clark College Ethan Siegel explains, “due to time dilation and length contraction, you might reach your destination in only a year, and then come back in just another year.

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But back on Earth, 82 years would have passed. Everyone you know would have aged tremendously. This is the standard way time travel physically works: it takes you into the future, with the amount of travel forward in time dependent only on your motion through space.”

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