It really is that simple. If we want to travel into the future, we just need to go fast. Really fast. And I think the only way we're ever likely to do that is by going into space. The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached 25,000mph. But to travel in time we'll have to go more than 2,000 times faster. And to do that we'd need a much bigger ship, a truly enormous machine. The ship would have to be big enough to carry a huge amount of fuel, enough to accelerate it to nearly the speed of light. Getting to just beneath the cosmic speed limit would require six whole years at full power.
acceleration would be gentle because the ship would be so big and heavy.
But gradually it would pick up speed and soon would be covering massive
distances. In one week it would have reached the outer planets. After
two years it would reach half-light speed and be far outside our solar
system. Two years later it would be travelling at 90 per cent of the
speed of light. Around 30 trillion miles away from Earth, and four years
after launch, the ship would begin to travel in time. For every hour of
time on the ship, two would pass on Earth. A similar situation to the
spaceship that orbited the massive black hole.
another two years of full thrust the ship would reach its top speed, 99
per cent of the speed of light. At this speed, a single day on board is
a whole year of Earth time. Our ship would be truly flying into the
The slowing of
time has another benefit. It means we could, in theory, travel
extraordinary distances within one lifetime. A trip to the edge of the
galaxy would take just 80 years. But the real wonder of our journey is
that it reveals just how strange the universe is. It's a universe where
time runs at different rates in different places. Where tiny wormholes
exist all around us. And where, ultimately, we might use our
understanding of physics to become true voyagers through the fourth