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How to Time Travel and Not Lose Your Luggage

The Shadows of Time novel series uses wormholes based on a technique postulated by Kip Thorne to travel back in time. For reverse time travel to work according to this theory, you would need a stable wormhole large enough for time travelers to pass through and an ability to control the nature of the wormhole so that the process doesn’t kill them.

If you don’t do it right, you will lose more than your luggage. You would lose your grandma. So, pay attention. To use wormholes as time traveling mechanisms, you must follow the five principles below.

Principle 1: Special Relativity’s Effect on Time

This is already true and proven, but you must understand this concept for the rest to make sense. An aspect of relativity known as time dilation says that time slows down for someone or something that speeds up when compared to something else. In other words, the faster you go, the slower time is for you. This is not a psychological, but a physical effect. Your watch will run slower. But the effect is so small at any speeds we normally go that we don’t notice it. The faster you go and the longer you travel at acceleration, the larger the effect is.

Wormhole in outer space, conceptual illustration.

Principle 2: Wormholes Exist

We have “seen” black holes, which are typically created by the collapse of a massive star. A supermassive black hole rotates at the center of our galaxy. Wormholes, on the other hand, have yet to be discovered, although the theory of general relativity has predicted them. In theory, wormhole creates a shortcut through space-time by bridging two black holes (or a black hole and a white hole).

Wormholes emit high radiation.

Vantu Space Agency
To Boldly Go to Infinity and Beyond
how to time travel through a wormhole and live like Captain Benjimin Sisko

Principle 3: You Can Travel Through a Wormhole and Talk about It

But natural wormholes (according to theory) are unstable, and the bridge between them is likely tiny. To stabilize them and increase the tunnel size, exotic matter is to be applied liberally through the tunnel surface. (Watch the science fiction author wave his hand as he says, “exotic material.”) The exotic material produces negative energy and gravity, so you’ll be nice and comfy following the worms through their hole. Please note that only a ridiculously advanced civilization would have the technology and the tax base to create a machine that can safely stabilize a wormhole.

Avoid contact with exotic matter that stabilizes the wormhole
but destabilizes your molecules.

Spitzer Exotic Materials Emporium
We don’t make the things you use. We make them weirder.

Principle 4: You Can Control the Nature of a Wormhole

Time Travel: using wormholes

Stabilizing the wormhole and increasing its size with exotic matter only gets you so far. Now that you have a stable wormhole, you can travel through it to the other side of the galaxy. But wait. There’s more.

Here’s where you can apply principle one above. Move the other side of the wormhole fast, I mean insanely fast. So fast that time slows down for it. Now you have one end of the wormhole in your time and the other end in yesterday or last week. Voilà! You now have a time machine.

Wormholes are for external use only.

Centers for Time Traveling Control and Prevention
Saving Time and Protecting History
how to time travel with a speed dial

Principle 5: You Can Speed Dial the Time You Want

Nice. But your time machine is stuck on one channel. By moving the other end at relativistic speeds, you’ve adjusted the time on the other end. You can keep moving it, but it’s always stuck in the recent past.

If you want to talk to King Tut and the other end of the wormhole can’t go back any earlier than last week, you have a problem. You won’t be able to have it further back in time than when you started moving it unless you dial into a primordial black hole.

Let’s say you’re part of an uber-ridiculously advanced civilization … I mean, so far advanced they’re able to block telemarketers …

Okay, I just lost all credibility, but suspend your disbelief for a moment longer. Ok, so a future with no telemarketers and the ability to like one end of a black hole to any of the microscopic black holes dancing around the quantum foam all around us. Yes, that advanced. Now you can link to that wormhole, expand it, and jump through.

Some time travelers have experienced
nausea, vomiting, terminal dandruff,
and visions of their naked stepmother.
If you continue to loop in time for more than four hours,
seek medical attention immediately.

Fyser Pharmaceuticals
Entrust your health to Fyser One Booster at a Time

Now, I better stop. My hand hurts with all the waving.

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More about Black Holes and Wormholes

k Black Holes & Time Warps book cover

If you would like to know more about Kip Thorne’s research, check out his book Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy.

I came across his theories while meandering through the Auburn Science Library. I should have been studying for a test in Electrical Engineering, but this was more fun.

Published inScience Ficiton

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