Is It Possible to Time Travel by Going Faster Than the Speed of Light?

Is It Possible to Time Travel by Going Faster Than the Speed of Light?

Is it possible to time travel by going faster than the speed of light?

Check out this answer from Consensus

The exploration of superluminal travel and its connection to time travel is an ongoing area of theoretical physics. While the current consensus is that physical objects cannot exceed the speed of light, these studies propose various scenarios and theoretical frameworks where time travel or effective speeds beyond ‘c’ could be possible. Whether these concepts can be realized in practice remains a question for future research and technological advancement.

Introduction to Time Travel and Speed of Light

Time travel has been a subject of fascination in science fiction for decades, but with the advent of modern physics, particularly Einstein’s theory of relativity, it has also become a serious topic of scientific inquiry. The speed of light, commonly denoted as ‘c’, is often considered an ultimate speed limit according to special relativity. However, recent research has explored the theoretical possibilities of exceeding this limit and the implications for time travel.

Predicting Time Travel at Superluminal Speeds

One study delves into the mathematical proof of time travel by using Einstein’s equations for time dilation, suggesting that it is possible to predict the effects on a body if it travels beyond the speed of light. This research aims to extend the theory of relativity to encompass speeds greater than that of light and discusses the extent of time dilation that would occur under such circumstances.

The Dichotomy of Time and Superluminal Velocities

Another paper argues that while no physical object can surpass the speed of light, velocities can be theoretically added to achieve superluminal travel based on Einstein’s special theory of relativity. This paper introduces the concept of “real” time simultaneity of universal events, which differs from the “relative” time that is constrained by the speed of light. The research suggests that Einstein’s assessment of information transmittal in “relative” time did not account for this “real” time component.

Effective Speeds Beyond Light

The concept of “effective speeds” exceeding the speed of light is explored in the context of time dilation as described by special relativity. From the perspective of an observer on Earth, time appears to slow down significantly for a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light. This phenomenon could allow for “effective speeds” that surpass the speed of light without the spaceship’s occupants experiencing any difference in the passage of time.

Time Contraction and Faster Than Light Travel

Challenging the notion that faster than light travel is impossible, a new concept called “time contraction” is proposed, which aims to resolve various paradoxes in physics without violating the Lorentz transformation or causality. This concept suggests that the speed of light is vacuum energy dependent and that it is possible for the speed of an electromagnetic wave or a particle with rest mass to exceed ‘c’ in a vacuum.

Warped Space-Time and Superluminal Travel

The theory of general relativity, with its curved space-time, allows for the possibility of both time travel and travel at speeds faster than light. Theoretical studies have shown how a spacecraft, within a bubble of warped space-time, could achieve superluminal speeds and, as a consequence, also travel back in time.


Is it possible to time travel by going faster than the speed of light?

Antonija Grubisic-Cabo has answered Extremely Unlikely

An expert from Monash University in Physics, Materials Science

It is not possible for matter to travel faster than the speed of light (speed of light is speed limit of the universe).

Regarding the time reversal, the arrow of time on macroscopic level is considered to be asymmetric, meaning it only goes in one direction, from past to future and cannot be reversed.


Is it possible to time travel by going faster than the speed of light?

Sean Matt has answered Extremely Unlikely

An expert from University of Exeter in Astronomy, Astrophysics

As far as we know, nothing can go faster than light. However, if one travels close to the speed of light, time behaves differently than we are used to, and in this way, one can move forward in time faster than those left behind. So it is theoretically possible to travel to the future, but one could not return. I have answered this question negatively, since time travel usually implies being able to go backwards in time, which is not possible.

Is it possible to time travel by going faster than the speed of light?

Eric Tittley has answered Extremely Unlikely

An expert from Edinburgh University in Astrophysics, Astronomy, Computer Science

No. That is the simple answer to a complicated question.

If something (matter or information) were to travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, then how it would perceive the direction of time and how we as outside observers would perceive its behaviour in our time and space reference is not clear to me, so I cannot give an authoritative answer to that.

However, it is clear that no object or information can travel faster than the speed of light. It is not a question of not having enough energy to push it that fast. From an external perspective, any extra energy added to a body to get it to and past the speed of light just asymptotically accelerates it to the speed of light, with the extra energy just increasing the mass (which is energy) of the object.

Note a few of caveats to this “nothing can travel faster than the speed of light”. First, it refers to light in a vacuum. Light is slower when it moves through media like water or air. Particles travelling near the speed of light, when they encounter these media, move through them faster than the local light speed and encounter no strange effects other than giving off a special light called Cerenkov radiation. Cerenkov radiation can be thought of as a sonic boom of light waves.

Light travels at the speed of … well … light. But a packet of light, like a short pulse or the packet acting as the waveform of a photon, is comprised of a multitude of waves that continually interfere with each other to form a pulse. The individual waves can travel forward in the pulse, so their wave crests actually travel faster than the speed of the pulse. The pulse travels at the speed of light, so the waves travel faster. These different speeds are referred to as the group and phase velocities. The light pulse travels with the group velocity. It is the pulse that carries information so it can never exceed the speed of light.

The expansion of the Universe can lead to distant objects appearing to move away from us faster than the speed of light. Indeed, it is perfectly acceptable to talk about distant galaxies moving at many times the speed of light because they are not moving through anything at those speeds. Locally, way out in the distant universe, the galaxies are moving very much sub light speed. The light we see from them has been redshifted during its long voyage to us by the expansion of the universe.

But to answer your question, No, it is not an urban myth that in the 1978 Superman film, Superman reverses time by flying counter-rotationally around Earth faster than the speed of light. It is indeed the rather disappointing climax of an otherwise superb film.

Is it possible to time travel by going faster than the speed of light?

Chris Woodruff has answered Extremely Unlikely

An expert from Walter+Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Bioinformatics, Optics

Not according to current understanding in physics – though there have been recent claims to teh contrary but these have yet to be adequately tested by physicists. The essence of relativity theory is that energy/matter/information cannot be transferred at faster than the in vacuo speed of light.

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