Author Topic: Time Travel Problem  (Read 215 times)

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Offline noquiexis

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Time Travel Problem
« on: January 30, 2017, 05:09:00 PM »
Time Travel Problem
Location, location, location.

     Science fiction and fantasy authors have proposed several methods that will allow objects and characters to travel through time. These methods involve the use of machinery in a static physical location, the use of machinery in motion, passing through natural phenomena, and sheer will power.

     One thing has always come to mind that illustrates one of the problems that time travelers would encounter: no two physical objects may occupy the same physical space at the same time. This is the problem that I will address here.

Background information

     Imagine an old western gunfight (duel). Two fellows are standing still out in the middle of a street waiting to draw their pistols and shoot each other. The two gunslingers are not moving with reference to each other. All one has to do to win the gunfight is to be the first to draw his weapon, aim at a fixed point on his opponent, and hopefully deliver a mortal, or at least disabling wound. His skill at hitting the target, even if there is a strong breeze, is the only factor.

     If one of the men decides to move (trying to dodge the bullet), the other must compensate for that movement. Put the two gunmen on opposite sides of a rotating carousel. Between the time that the bullets were fired and the time that the bullets arrive at their intended targets, both men will have moved in opposite directions from each other. Real-world space agencies such as NASA deal with these kinds of problems through celestial mechanics.

The time travel problem

     The earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours and some odd seconds. The Earth revolves around the Sun once a year. The Sun itself is located on an outer arm of a spinning spiral galaxy. The galaxy is not at a fixed location in space, but is constantly moving out from the central point of creation (Big Bang Theory).

     The combination of these complex motions would make it very difficult to plot an exact point on the surface of the Earth at any given time in the past or in the future. Any of the motions mentioned above may also contain an element of wobble. Because of this wobble, our time traveler might either find himself several meters above the surface of the Earth (not good), or several meters below the Earth’s surface (even worse).

     One would assume that transporting a person or object through time would also require that the person doing the transporting (the sender) has the ability to accurately fix the landing location. For this to happen, some method of observing the landing area, and the area around it, must be used. We would not want our time traveler to materialize in the middle of a busy highway!

     In the movie Déjà Vu, a surveillance team looks a few days into the past through an Einstein-Rosen Bridge (wormhole). Since they can see the landing area, they could accurately place objects within that area. Also in this movie, the concept of “folding space” comes into play. Other stories use “folding space” to travel great distances, but they do that to travel in their present time.

     In the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, they solve the location problem by doing their time travel out in space. Once they arrive at the target time, they just navigate to the physical location of their choice.

     In the movie Time After Time, the character of H.G. Wells is surprised to find himself in San Francisco, when he left from London England. He mentions that he did not account for the eight hours of the Earth’s rotation. His arrival time of day was not set to the exact time of day that he left London.

     In the original H.G. Wells story, as well as the 1960 movie and the 2002 movie, H.G. Wells (1960) and Alexander Hartdegen (2002) are fixed to one location on the Earth throughout centuries of time. During their time travel, they witness the passage of time around them at a greatly accelerated rate. If these characters occupied the same physical space for all of these centuries, then no people, buildings, or other physical objects would be able to occupy that same space, or even  or pass through it.

     The method of teleportation used in the short story The Fly by George Langelann and the movies  1958 and 1986 are quite different. In these stories, matter is converted into energy, transported, then re-assembled into matter (a precursor the Star Trek teleporter). A landing pad (or receiving pod) must be present at the arrival location. Most science fiction and fantasy stories do not require hardware at the receiving location.

One possible solution

Definitions
matter
substance constituting universe: the material substance of the universe that has mass, occupies space, and is convertible to energy. Symbol M

energy
physics capacity to do work: the capacity of a body or system to do work. Symbol E

     For the purpose of this argument,  Matter is that which occupies space, has mass, and contains energy. Matter is composed of atoms. Atom is the smallest possible division of an element. Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Energy is that which has mass, and has the ability to affect some change in the properties of matter. Heat is the thermal energy that determines how far electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom.

     One theory of atomic structure is the planetary model { see (Rutherford model) (Bohr model) }. The electrons of an atom orbit its nucleus in the same way that planets orbit their star. According to this theory, there is a lot of empty space inside the electron cloud of an atom.

     Astronomers have long known of the existence of binary star systems, where two stars are in close proximity. The two stars are caught in each others' gravitational well and cannot separate. Either the binary star system formed this way out of cosmic dust and gas, or two separate stars came too close to each other and became mutually gravitationally captured. Any planets that have previously orbited their own stars would now be shared by the two stars. Some of the planets may have been destroyed in the process.

     If there is enough space in the electron clouds of the atoms of two separate physical objects, it may be theoretically possible for the atoms of one object to co-exist with the atoms of another object. These atoms would be binary nuclei systems similar to binary star systems. Of course, this would create new elements and new molecules at the area of co-existence. These elements most likely would be highly unstable. Following this line of thought, it may be theoretically possible for two physical objects to occupy the same physical space at the same time.

     On the television series Star Trek (1966–1969), the character Spock made a comment about the transporter in the series pilot The Cage  (remade as The Menagerie: Part II) {see also The Menagerie: Part I},

Number One: "Well, you all know the situation. We're hoping to transport down inside the Talosian community."
Mr. Spock: "If our measurements and readings are an illusion also, one could find oneself materialized inside solid rock."

     In one episode of Star Trek: Next Generation, a female crew member fell partway through a temporary hole in the floor. Of course, she was dead. Her bodily fluids could not pass through the area where she was joined with the floor. In another episode, a starship was found partially embedded inside an asteroid.

     When a person (or object) journeys through time, he may pass other physical objects in the same physical space along the timeline. He may pass through these objects much the same way that wind passes through a screen. If the passing is fast enough, the effect of the individual atoms of each object on each other may be negligible.

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