“Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the Time Portal. In a few moments, we will beam your minds 10,000 years into the past at a location what is now Russia, where you will experience the sights and sounds of the Neolithic Revolution as humanity transforms from Hunter-Gatherer to Civilization status.
Your body will remain here in a sleep state, while your conscious mind observes prehistoric human tribal activities on this 30-day journey. We hope you enjoy this exciting time travel adventure.”
Of course, today, this scenario is only fiction; but the recent possible discovery of the Higgs boson by researchers at the Cern Large Hadron Collider, have encouraged a few bold future-thinkers, to believe that the LHC might one day be able to send information with a hypothetical particle called the ‘Higgs singlet’ to another time.
Vanderbilt University researchers Tom Weller and Chui Man Ho believe Higgs singlets have the ability to jump out of our three dimensions of space and one of time, and into a hidden dimension thought to exist by some advanced physics models. By traveling through this hidden dimension, these freaks of nature could move forward or backward in time and then reappear in the future or past.
Future watchers predict that this discovery, combined with research efforts to demystify consciousness, expected to happen by the 2040s; could turn the above Time Portal scene into reality by century’s end.
However, will we ever build machines that can transport human bodies through time? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku sees this as a real possibility in the distant future. Kaku explains in the video below:
Even though the laws of physics permit time travel, the idea for humans to travel backwards in time is fraught with complications.
Say we go back in time and stop our parents from getting together. This would prevent us from being born; we would not exist, thus our journey in time could not have happened. Scientists call this a paradox. By altering events in the past, we created a present different from the one that already exists.
Clearly, mischievous time travelers from the future cannot change today’s present. People are not suddenly disappearing because a rerun of events has prevented their birth.
Therefore, something else may be stopping future time travelers from disrupting our present, and many experts believe they know what it is: parallel universes, as explained in this Synthesist Chronicles article.
This holds that our universe, as suggested in the Gwyneth Paltrow film, Sliding Doors, can split off into a myriad of alternate universes. If you travel in time and prevent your parents from meeting, you will find yourself in a parallel universe, one where you never existed before, a world where you appear as a time traveler from another universe. But beware; you may never be able to return to your original world.
In addition to traveling back in time for exciting adventures, some believe this technology, with the help of predicted advances in neuroscience, might one day be used to help deceased people regain life.
We would send information-seeking nanobots back in time with instructions to scan the brains of lost loved ones moments before they died; then bring that scanned copy to our time and transfer it to a newly-cloned body. Because we can’t change the past, our loved one’s original body would still die, but a copy of their mind, with emotions and memories intact, would gain a second chance at life in our future world.
Will reviving the dead in this manner ever become reality? Though seemingly impossible, with science advancing exponentially, we are in the midst of the greatest acceleration of change in Earth history.
Every scenario mentioned in this article is consistent with known laws and theories of physics and biology, and are within the capabilities of human comprehension and accomplishment. Many believe we are in position to achieve this future, and much of it could even unfold during our lifetime.
Science fiction stories about space travel inspired us to land on the moon. Will time travel stories inspire us to create real time travel? This writer believes that they will. “Back to the Future,” here we come!
Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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