Time Dilation vs Time Travel

First off, what’s time dilation?

According to Wikipedia, this is it…

Time dilation is a difference in the elapsed time as measured by two clocks due to a relative velocity between them or to a difference in gravitational potential between their locations. 

But that is very hard, so here’s what you need to know.

The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time.

So then this means that if you travel extremely fast, time warps for you. But you won’t feel it moving slowly, because all time related activities will also slow down in your spaceship. Yeah, even your biological aging process slows down. (Yep. We saw that in the movie Interstellar.)

So does this mean we’ve finally uncoded the mysteries of time travel?

Not quite.

For starters, we don’t know how to go backward in time. Even if this dilation counts as time travel, we can’t go to the past no matter how much we try.

Second, in time travel, you visit a future year and then come back to the present. But that’s not how time dilation works.

In time dilation, as I said earlier, you can’t go back. So you’re stuck in the future. And also, you can’t visit future you. Because you ARE future you, but with no difference in age.

Is this confusing you?

Here is a simplified version – A thought experiment.


The year is 2020 on planet Unreal. You want to escape the pandemic and go to 2030 where hopefully, it’s better. So you climb upon a spaceship and go to the nearest planet, Real. (You reach there in a few hours)

But you forgot that Real is located near a supermassive black hole.

But meh, you’re a risk taker and you relax on Real for a couple hours, as you know that every hour on planet Real is equal to 5 years on planet Unreal. (Due to the enormous gravity exerted by the black hole)

After 2 hours, you climb back onto your spaceship and return back to Unreal. Your best friend, who was 16, is now 26. Your dog, who was 2, is now 12. But you’re still 16. You haven’t aged. You’re exactly the same.


That’s time dilation.

For you on planet Real, it was only a couple hours, but for living organisms in planet Unreal, it was a decade.

Is your mind blown away? Mine too.

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