The Future of Time Travel
by Avaan C.
In 1916, Albert Einstein published his Theory of General Relativity in full mathematical detail, a discovery that remodeled the entire scientific understanding of the universe. He proposed that space and time compose the four-dimensional fabric of the universe. This brought up a new question: if humans can travel through space, is it also possible to travel through time? Perhaps it is, if wormholes, holes in this fabric of spacetime that allow humans to travel through time itself, do indeed exist. However, time runs forward and it is theoretically impossible to change the arrow of time and delve into the past. As a result, time travel into the future may be possible without paradoxical or mathematical obstacles using exotic matter wormholes.
A journey through the future may be theoretically possible. According to Einstein, the closer an object is to the speed of light, the slower time will run for that object. This effect is caused by the speed of said object bending the fabric of spacetime, thus slowing down time. This can be used to travel into the future. Imagine there are two twin brothers, each thirteen years old. One brother travels into space for six years (from his perspective) at an immense speed, close to that of light itself, and returns. While the twin traveling may now be nineteen years old, the other twin would be far older. Technically, the traveling twin sped up time. In addition, this is possible without any apparent paradoxes or logistical obstacles (Stein and Harvey). Therefore, if travel is possible at such an enormous speed, we can progress into the future.
Achieving this speed appears to be feasible. Einstein’s conclusions opened the door to the possibility of the existence of wormholes, tunnels in spacetime where incredible velocity occurs (Sutter). Imaginable as shortcuts through the fabric of space time, these wormholes require a force to counteract the constant gravitational exertion that attempts to push the wormhole infinitely inwards, until it completely collapses (Kurzgesagt Wormhole 0:00 - 2:13). It is important to note that wormholes have only been theorized and are still not fully understood. Catching even a glimpse of one would be incredibly difficult or impossible.
Still, it may be possible to use exotic matter to hold these wormholes together. Exotic matter is similar to regular matter except that it has a negative mass. This would mean that instead of it using gravity to pull matter in towards it, it pushes matter away from it. It is an anti-gravitational force (Kurzgesagt Wormhole 6:03 - 7:20). Humans can acquire this special type of matter, then it is presumably possible to travel to the future.
Despite this, time travel into the future would likely not be useful. This is due to the fact that it would be impossible to return to the past. Imagine that one voyages into the past and kills their own grandfather. Since the grandfather would be dead, they would not exist, yet if they did not exist, then they could not have killed their grandfather. This paradox itself is enough to surmise that time travel into the past is impossible. The universe can not be allowed to contain such a scenario. The universe must be logical, explainable, all matter and being inside of it must either exist, or exist as empty spacetime, which in technical terms, is nothing. Generally speaking, travel into the past will likely never occur, rendering travel into the future as merely theoretical and useless.
In summary, although a journey to the future may be possible with help from wormholes pried open by exotic matter, it would be entirely futile to attempt, as travel into the past seems impossible as of yet. Regardless of this, knowing this can be helpful to human scientific research and the understanding of the universe. When Albert Einstein published his general relativity, it changed our perception of the universe, not directly helping us, but helping scientific discovery as a whole. Using this, someday, it may even be possible to travel back into time.