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Originally posted by SteveR
The light speed - time travel theory that Einstein popularized is badly misinterpretted. You cannot pop back into the past, or the future. Like some kind of portal or dimensional shift. It doesn't work that way. This is how I would explain the effect of Einstein's theory:
Time as we see it is a constant because time doesn't exist. What you can do however is speed up the standard rate that particles (energy and matter) act. I'm not talking about an increase in kinetic energy, either. That increase in the standard rate would make things age (in the light speed craft) because the particles are working faster, (an illusion of time travel).
When it gets back to Earth, it appears the craft and its contents are older. That is a physical effect of the increase in standard rate. But the bottom line is, both the earth and the craft were experiencing the same 'reality' while they were apart. There is no 'time travel', not in the fantasy sense anyway.
The way you think about this depends on your definitions and the concepts in your mind.
In other words the astronauts will be the same age but will have some sort of cellular damage (as will the craft?)
Originally posted by SteveR
Yes, basically, although all particle and energy processes would have sped up during the light speed travel, and although that will give the illusion of them and the craft being older, no change in reality/time would have occured.
I don't know about you being way off, you seem to know more about the science and terminology than I do, lol, however semantics is coming into play here so before we continue discussing it we will probably need to agree on a definition of time, or two.
The concept of time (that stemmed from sci fi) seems to be a universal force, dimension, or attribute, that when altered (ala time travel) will place the traveller in a different reality, distinguished by being in a different time frame compared to the last origin, discounting any flaws with clock systems and mental perception.
If your going with a definition applicable to that, then again, given my previous post I don't think "time" exists.
The story is that one of a pair of twins leaves on a high speed space journey during which he travels at a large fraction of the speed of light while the other remains on the Earth. Because of time dilation, time is running more slowly in the spacecraft as seen by the earthbound twin and the traveling twin will find that the earthbound twin will be older upon return from the journey. The common question: Is this real? Would one twin really be younger?
The basic question about whether time dilation is real is settled by the muon experiment. The clear implication is that the traveling twin would indeed be younger, but the scenario is complicated by the fact that the traveling twin must be accelerated up to traveling speed, turned around, and decelerated again upon return to Earth. Accelerations are outside the realm of special relativity and require general relativity.
Despite the experimental difficulties, an experiment on a commercial airline confirms the existence of a time difference between ground observers and a reference frame moving with respect to them.
ThePole Barn Paradox