Friday, October 06, 2006

I Wanna Be An Astronaut

I have always been interested in Einstein’s theory of relativity, and especially interesting to me is the Twin Paradox, which is based off of a study by Paul Langevin in 1911 on special relativity. The Twin Paradox, broken down into laymen terms, is as follows:

Step 1 – take two identical twins, at birth, and give them identical watches. We would assume that the watches have a never-ending battery life, and could never be broken or stolen.

Step 2 – set the watches to identical times, and shoot one of the twins into outer space.

Step 3 – the twin travels 86.5% of the speed of light, traveling towards the nearest star system (4.45 light years away).

Step 4 – mathematically speaking, the trip (both ways) would take 10.28 Earth years.

Step 5 – when the traveling twin returns, he would have aged 5.14 years, while the twin that remained on Earth would have aged 10.28 years.

I would calculate all of this out for you but I am hungry and lazy and my brain is fried from work, but I assure you it adds up. What interest me is the fact that, on paper, this is exactly 100% correct (based off of the knowledge of physics & astronomy we currently have. This is not taking into account experiments yet to have been made to prove our calculations wrong). I wonder if/when this will be possible to test on live subjects. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to shoot an infant into space for 5 years, as I am sure they would lack the intelligence needed to survive. The last thing we need is a baby sucking on the door handle of the emergency exit just to get some milk.

But if this were to be proven correct, in a live experiment, do you know what that would mean? I a simple statement, time travel. We would have the ability to travel into the future. Granted, it would not be immediate, nor would our time capsule be a De Lorean, but the theory is sound. If we were not content with the way the world is working at this current time, we could just hop in our time machine (space ship) and jettison off for a couple of years. Now the downside may be that this only works one way, but that’s not what scares me. What scares me is that we try this (and somebody will), and the wanna-be time traveler returns home to a world that isn’t there. With the direction that this world is headed, it’s not that improbable.

This sugarcane, this lemonade, this hurricane, I’m not afraid

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