All well and done, but what practical application does this have?
The probe is heading away from us, but let us consider two different cases:
1. Assume that the probe, at some time in the future, is retrieved and returned. While now motionless on the floor in front of us, it remains in the future. What we have in front of us is it, as it was, in the past.
2. Assume that the probe slows dramatically and makes a loop back to Earth. As it flies close to the Earth, for reasons of safety, NASA destroys it at time T in location XYZ. Note that just before destruction the probe has survived time T and left location XYZ without a problem.
Now, the probe is a pretty unique case because it has a lot of velocity packed into it, but it has also pushed it outside the parameters of the wave that determine ‘the present’ within our time frame.
When we look a little broader than ordinary physical objects, iron steel and wood, we find some subatomic particles that can be given velocity far more than the New Horizons probe. Some theorists suggest that here lies the possibility of time travel. Others suggest that instead of velocity, we might deploy the force of gravity. By such theory, some have started to design elaborate machines with injectors, linear accelerators, and black holes.
Which are all a bit outside our budget and time today.
Uncertain of the Certainty?Before going any further, let us do a quick environment scan.
Why do we want to go into the future, anyway?
There are heaps of excellent reasons. It is fun knowing what new music is going to come out next week, who will win the tennis or what numbers are going to drop for the lottery. It sounds more than fun; it could be profitable.
But what if the future is uncertain?
What if the future we might experience never happens? Let us go back to case 2 above. There is no certainty that the future that might be observed will eventuate. The only certainty is what happens as the current time wave fixes the present into the historical, unalterable past.
So, while it might look and feel real, the future is merely a temporal probability cloud, always being capable of being collapsed or altered in the present. More than that, and one might be forgiven for thinking this a subtle point, but there is only one temporal probability cloud. One reality and one temporal probability cloud: although the probability cloud might be being stretched in all sorts of directions.
Still, there may be lots of good reasons to peak into the future, although fun and profit might no longer be primary motivations. We try to create the future and spend a lot of time designing increasingly sophisticated models of the future. Some of the models are very accurate; others are junk. Weather forecasts fall into the latter category (particularly when they are using the supercomputers to mine Bitcoins).
So you want to play with Magic?
Consider the first case above. Each of us has been made from the stuff of stars: some bits incredibly old, already pre-stressed with incredible forces at the center of gravity wells or accelerated by the death throes of our old home. Through velocity or gravity, bits of us are already embedded far into the future. Bits of the temporal probability cloud are all around us.
You are already your time machine.
Ok, they did not give me a manual either, and I have never been sure what purpose the red button serves.
We all have to work it out as we go along.
No promises were broken. I merely said I would have you in your very own time machine in ten minutes.
I did not say I knew how to make it fly.