Monday, March 15, 2010

Time Travel

Things like the time machine in the movie Time Machine are impossible, right?

Well, in a sense, no time machine is needed for time travel because, in a sense, time travel occurs constantly without the assistance of a machine.

This assumes that time, like the number line, is infinitely divisible into smaller and smaller parts.

There is a concept called Planck Time -- which says that the time light takes to travel the shortest measurable distance, 5.391 × 10−44 seconds, is the smallest unit of time measurable -- but that is a Heisenberg-type limit, an innate measuring tool limitation, and does not necessarily reflect anything fundamental about time.

If we make that assumption -- namely, that time is infinitely divisible -- then because under Einstein’s theories velocity relative to surroundings slows down time relative to surroundings, it is safe to say that every time someone moves relative to the world around him or her, then that moving person's time slows down ever so slightly, an extremely teeny tiny amount, relative to the rest of the world -- a variety of journey into the past relative to the world around him or her. So, by getting off your tail and taking a walk, you become a kind of "time machine."

Years ago physicists proved that the effect just described, called relativistic time dilation, occurs by taking two identical, precisely-calibrated atomic clocks. They kept one on the ground, and loaded the other onto a Boeing 727, which was flown around the world several times. When the 727 finally ended its journey, the two atomic clocks were compared, and the airborne one was slower by the amount predicted by Einstein.

Between 1977 and 1981, a machine called a pi-meson gun in Los Alamos, New Mexico, made use of time dilation to aim subatomic particles called pi-mesons at otherwise inoperable cancer patients.

By speeding-up or slowing down the particles in the particle beam emitted by the gun, the operators could precisely control when and where the particles "died" and "exploded" into their component particle parts. The operators would carefully immobilize the body part containing the inoperable cancer -- for example, the head -- and fire the pi meson gun at it. By carefully regulating speed, the gun operators changed the time of the particles in the beam, making them last exactly long enough to reach the tumor inside the afflicted person's brain. After passing harmlessly through healthy tissue and entering the tumor, the pi mesons being controlled by time dilation would break down into their component subatomic particles in a kind of tiny fission explosion, destroying a tiny bit of the tumor. By doing this slowly (to keep the brain from getting hot) scientists were able to destroy the tumor tissue.

Time travel amounting to more than dilation slowing time down -- in other words, time stopping and even time reversal -- may be occurring in our Universe.

Every time astronomers say, "We have found another nebula characterized by a high-energy jet...
...being fired out of the accretion disk around a black hole," they don't literally mean that there "is" a black hole, there, at the location being talked about.

What they mean is that a black hole is in the process of forming, there, relative to us -- but it never finishes forming, relative to us, looking at it.

Black holes experience a kind of dual reality each of which is "really real" and neither of which is an illusion.

Relative to us, there is no such thing as a "black hole." Why? Because time itself slows down in the presence extreme gravitational pull, just as it slows down in the presence of movement as discussed above, and as the object in space becoming a black hole gets closer and closer to having the gravitational pull needed to even pull light into itself, relative to distant observers like us the time slows down so much it almost stops. So, relative to distant observers like us no black hole ever finishes forming. Ergo, relative to us, there is no such thing as a black hole.

However, relative to themselves black holes finish forming very quickly. Slap your hands together. That’s how quickly they form, if you are there, at the forming black hole, because at the black hole, time seems normal.

Neither situation is an illusion. Infernally slow time for observers distant from the forming black hole, and unbelievably fast time at the black hole, are two completely different realities, each of which is "really real" -- not an illusion.

If we had a much more powerful telescope than we have today, and were to focus upon the black hole forming at the base of jets in space, what we would see, from our place and time on Earth, are objects frozen in time, moving unbelievably slowly toward the forming black hole, like a school child during recess always walking half of the remaining distance to the school wall, never actually reaching it.

Functionally, we would see time almost stopped.

For objects at the black hole, something entirely different occurs. Objects in space get pulled into a swirling tornado of matter call an "accretion disk"...
...where they are ripped apart and -- pfffffffftttttt!!!!! -- sucked-in by immense gravity.

Once they pass through the boundary called the "event horizon," they enter a world where the escape velocity necessary to get away from the immense gravity is more than the speed of light.

Since time stops at the speed of light, some have asked if, just possibly, time reversal occurs inside a black hole relative to us distant observers outside of it. This concept was broadened by some Russians into the black hole / wormhole / white hole theory, where matter captured by black holes might be thrown back in time through a naturally-occurring tunnel through time into the past, called a wormhole, and then get squirted-out of space in the distant past through an opening in the fabric of reality in the past called a "white hole." Objects in our telescopes called "quasars" -- non-star pinpoints in space emitting ridiculous amounts of energy -- have been offered as possible white holes squirting out the contents of worm holes receiving matter from black holes.

What this theory does is connect our future to our past, so that reality does not have a true beginning and end in time, but is circular.

Thus, according to the theory, what looks to us like background radiation from a Big Bang could actually be energy squirted-out of a quasar at some point in our past.

And, in such a scenario, it is conceivable that we are made of particulate matter seemingly trapped on our side of of some local black hole, by time-slowing time dilation, but somehow captured and squirted-out into our past, "back there" where our astronomers see in their telescopes light being emitted from a quasar.

"Our stuff" -- the matter we are made of -- might be in our Universe twice!

I am bothered by a lot of the material in this analysis. But, there it is, for you to chew on.

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