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How to test your time machine actually works.

The problem with time travel is you never know where you'll end up

One might think that time travel is difficult at best and impossible at worst, but it’s not. It’s actually quite easy to accomplish. The most widely used method of time travel today is called growing old. We do it all the time.

The Dangers of Time Travel

If on the other hand, you want to travel back in time, that’s a whole different challenge. So let us assume we’re going to build a time machine that will let us do just that. How do we test it to make sure it works? Unless of course you want to be the guinea pig and risk ending up in a time or place that might not be so hospitable to your fragile existence. You wouldn’t be the first time traveler to end up frozen in the middle of space, due to the small oversight of earths moving trajectory around the sun, and the relative motion of the solar system within mind puzzling accelerated expansion of the larger universe. But let us not worry about that for now.

One theory states that even if a time machine were built, you would still not be able to time travel to an age prior to the existence of your workable machine. It was proposed as a reason why time travelers have not come back from the future so far, for lack of a vessel present in this day and age to do so. It also prevents you from going back in time and killing yourself before you were able to actually build your time machine, thus making it impossible to travel back in time to kill yourself in the first place, and creating a temporal rupture in the fabric of the space time continuum that could possibly destroy the entire universe. In other words, before we can bump into other time travelers or create utterly destructive paradoxes, we first have to build a time machine.

Build a Time Machine

Let’s start small. A box the size of a small box will do. As for the creation of your machine, a quick search on the internet should do the trick. Plenty of recipes exist such as: bending the space time continuum, creating worm holes, or accelerating your box to 88mph using a flux capacitor and bolts of lightning. (On a side note: It was once possible to buy nuclear grade plutonium from Libyan terrorists to power flux capacitors , but that no longer is an option as Libya has abandoned and disassembled its nuclear program). Also make sure to check Wikipedia as they have some wonderful theories on how to avoid the problem I mentioned earlier about the world being in motion which in turn ups the risk of ending up in space.

Testing the Time Machine

Once your time machine is ready, testing it should be fairly easy. Close the box. Switch it on. Write down the current time and date. We may need this later. Then open the box. If the box remains empty, the experiment failed and it is not yet suitable as a vessel for future operators to send things back in time with it. You may need to make some modifications or maybe even give it a good bang with the hammer. But whatever happens, don’t give up.

If on the other hand, you were to find, for example, an apple in your box, then chances are, your time machine works. Congratulations! Victory dance! However, exercise caution if the object inside the box happens to be Schrödinger’s cat; perhaps alive; perhaps dead. In the best case, Schrödinger may not be too pleased you stole his cat in this way. In the worst case, what you may have here may not be a time machine, but rather an infinite improbability drive. Before fiddling any further with it, I would advise you to first purchase either the latest edition of The Lonely Universe or a copy of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. You’ll need it just in case something goes horribly wrong and you find yourself on the other side of the Milky Way. As a matter of fact, get both books. While the latter will be quite informative on your predicament, The Lonely Universe will list all the cheapest places to stay and eat whenever you find yourself in deep space. But I’m running astray. To get back to our test and keep things simple, we’re sticking to an apple as an example. Take it out of your time machine and close it.

The Final Step

Now that we’ve managed to create a working time machine, that doesn’t mean the test is over. Hell no! We still need to place the object back into the box, and preferably somewhere in the future, so we can find it in the past at the moment we started conducting the test. Failing to complete this last step would leave us with the puzzling question as to where the apple came from and how it got into our time machine in the first place.

If you’ve created one of those fancy time machines with a built in interface to enter the destinations date and time coordinates, input that data in right now. If on the other hand, you’ve left out such sophistications, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Now zap that apple back into the past. If you reopen it, the box should be empty again concluding a successful time travel test. Cause enough for another victory dance.

Check List

This test should be repeated every time one builds a new time machine or to check if an existing one is still in working condition. And if you really want to be scientifically professional, here’s a quick check list:

1. Make sure the time machine is empty before starting the test, then close its door.

2. Switch on the time machine.

3. Write down the current time and date.

4. Open the door.

5. Take out the apple.

6. Close the door.

7. Wait thirty minutes. In the mean time, DO NOT EAT THE APPLE!

8. Open the door.

9. Place the apple back into the time machine.

10. Close the door.

11. Enter the time and date coordinates written down in step 3.

12. Send the apple back into time.

13. Open the door and attain that the apple is no longer there.

14. The test has successfully been completed.

15. Perform a victory lap.

For laughs, most time travelers will usually do this test using either an egg, or a chicken, depending on whatever appears first.


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I don’t totally agree with you, if you can live with it, it’s
therefore, right now, my honor right away to let you receive
my most adeducate information that the time travel success depends on, how & when you built your tachyon engine, operable by a gamma source, so I can find out & so on, greetings, ‘J.A.,’

Joram Arentved  ¤ February 2, 2011 at 20:01

Excuse me, adecuate, greetings, ‘J.A.’

Joram Arentved  ¤ February 2, 2011 at 20:02

Nice trick to make THE TIME MACHINE.I wanted and make an machine to change past,and to see future to change it.

Prem Logavi  ¤ May 8, 2012 at 06:32
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