5 Mind-Bending Time Travel Theories That Just Might Work

A wormhole would essentially allow a ship, for instance, to travel from one point to another faster than the speed of light, allowing it to arrive at its destination sooner than a beam of light would by taking a shortcut through space-time. That way, the vehicle doesn’t actually break the rule of the so-called universal speed limit – the speed of light – because the ship never actually travels at a speed faster than light. Theoretically, a wormhole could be used to cut not just through space, but through time as well.

Tipler Cylinder Time Machine

To use a Tipler cylinder time machine, you would leave the Earth in a spaceship and travel to where the cylinder is spinning in space. When you are close enough to the surface of the cylinder (where space time is most warped), you would orbit around it a few times then return to Earth, arriving back in the past. How far back depends on the number of orbits you made. Even though you feel your own time moving forward as normal while you are orbiting the cylinder, outside the warped region you would be moving steadily into the past. This would be like climbing up a spiral staircase only to find that with each full circle climbed you are on a floor below the previous one.

Doughnut Vacuum

According to Amos Ori from Technion at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, space can be twisted enough to create a local gravity field that looks like a doughnut of some arbitrary size. The gravitational field lines circle around this doughnut, so that space and time are both tightly curved back on themselves. Crucially, this does away with the need for any hypothetical exotic matter. Although it is difficult to describe what this would look or be like in real life, Ori says the mathematics reveal that every period of time after the time machine was created would be somewhere in the vacuum inside the doughnut. All you need to do is work out how to get there. In theory, it should be possible to travel back to any point in time after the time machine was built.


Exotic Matter

In physics, exotic matter is matter that somehow deviates from the norm and has “exotic” properties. Because time travel is considered to be non-physical, tachyons are believed by physicists either to not exist, or else to be incapable of interacting with normal matter. But when negative energy or mass – so-called exotic matter – bends space-time, all sorts of amazing phenomena might become possible: traversable wormholes, which could act as tunnels to otherwise distant parts of the universe; warp drive, which would allow for faster-than-light travel; and time machines, which might permit journeys into the past.


Cosmic Strings

Cosmic Strings are a hypothetical 1-dimensional (spatially) topological defect in the fabric of spacetime left over from the formation of the universe. Interaction could create fields of closed time-like curves permitting backwards time travel. Some scientists have suggested using “cosmic strings” to construct a time machine. By maneuvering two cosmic strings close together – or possibly just one string plus a black hole – it is theoretically possible to create a whole array of “closed time-like curves.” Your best bet is to fire two infinitely long cosmic strings past each other at very high speeds, then fly your ship around them in a carefully calculated figure eight. In theory, you would be able to emerge anywhere, anytime.


Black Hole Time Travel

A black hole has a dramatic e‑ffect on time, slowing it down far more than anything else in the galaxy. That makes it a natural time machine. If a space agency were controlling the mission from Earth they’d observe that each full orbit took 16 minutes. But for the brave people on board, close to this massive object, time would be slowed down. And here the e‑ffect would be far more extreme than the gravitational pull of Earth. The crew’s time would be slowed down by half. For every 16-minute orbit, they’d only experience eight minutes of time. Imagine that the train left the station on January 1, 2050. It circles Earth over and over again for 100 years before finally coming to a halt on New Year’s Day, 2150. The passengers will have only lived one week because time is slowed down that much inside the train. When they got out they’d find a very diff‑erent world from the one they’d left. In one week they’d have traveled 100 years into the future.

12 big, bold concepts for homesteading on Earth’s final frontier

Looking like something right out of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Trilobis is a happy marriage of renewable power, exploratory gadgetry and luxury living. Solar cells embedded in the ship’s fiberglass skin power the electrics (and tint the windows), while twin hydrogen fuel cells (positioned just where the nacelles would be) pump out 600 horsepower of thrust. The Trilobis sleeps six and also features a glass observation bulb, 10 feet underwater.

The Infinitas

If you fancy yourself more the Tony Stark type, maybe the Infinitas is for you. A 300-foot yacht that sleeps 16, including crew, the infinitas come equipped with a swimming pool, spa, helipad and even a glass “sky bridge”. With Diesel/electric engines capable of reaching speeds over 20 knots, the Infinitas isn’t a slouch in the propulsion department, either. And with 65,000 gallons of fuel and 28,000 of water, the Infinitas lives up to its name, allowing you to stay at sea nigh-on indefinitely.


For the more traditional home-dweller, I present Origin. Sitting upon its circular lily pad-inspired hull, Origin actually looks more at home in the New York luxury apartment market than at sea. Sure there’s an underwater viewing deck, similar to the Trilobis, but otherwise Origin offers all the comforts of (a very nice) home. You’ve got floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, hardwood floors and even a rooftop deck to sate your apartment-living withdrawals. Just don’t tread on those solar cells up there!

The Solus 4 Marine Research Center

If you’re asking yourself about the scientific research I mentioned, look no further. Thought up by Solus 4 this 7,500-square-foot lab is designed for the purpose of studying not only sea life, but sea-borne phenomena as well (think tsunamis). Intended to nestle in on the sea bed, the research lab is also a permanent residence for its scientists and a center for public learning. The structure is powered by passive solar collectors, rain water collectors and tidal energy generators.


Speaking of the public, no person is an island unto oneself, right? If society is going out into the deep blue yonder, why not take the whole society? Lilypad does just that, 50,000 people at a time. Residents could choose between hillside bungalows or undersea apartments. With a lake of rainwater at its center and every renewable energy source known to man powering it, Lilypad might truly be the city of our floating tomorrow. Literally floating, as Lilypad is designed not to propel itself, but to be carried by the tide.


If city living isn’t really your thing, but you like the overall feel of the Lilypad, check out Orsos. More Island resort than home, Orsos is your own 60-by-115-foot motorized atoll. Up to three small craft can dock alongside, letting you to throw luaus on your palm-ensconced upper deck bar and grill. It also houses a movie theater, hot tub and sizable rear deck for cannonballs into the ocean, as well as lavish accommodation for up to 16. Orsos will definitely make you the hit of the high seas (if you want to let your friends aboard, that is).

Tropical Island Paradise

Need a bigger private island? Try this entry from Yacht Island Design. Featuring four guest cabanas, as well as a mind-blowing owner’s cabin built into the volcano, this yacht really is a small community unto itself. Not only does it boast a giant pool, but also a library, cinema, game rooms, a fully equipped spa and gym — and a deployable “beach deck,” complete with massage tents and Sea-Doos.

Underwater Condos

If the tide is too turbulent a tour guide for you, maybe try staking your claim near one of the ocean’s fantastic vistas. Underwater condo developments allow for small communities to spring up upon the seabed beside reefs, near migration lanes or even near sunken ruins. Imagine living in your own little Atlantis. Of course, not the entire community will be under the sea: elevators and air shafts will connect you with the topside world, offering access to open vistas, community center venues and the docks — so that you can venture out and about, should you so desire.

The Last Resort

Something you might like to dock topside is this little beauty. Reportedly designed after the “undulating shape of the waterfront”, The Last Resort actually reminds me of a blue whale opening its mouth to feed. Either way its a charming little solar-equipped space saver, and is perfect for weekend getaways. Sofas and beds are tucked into the bulkheads, popping out when wanted and hiding away seamlessly when not. It sleeps up to six, and includes solar panels up on the roof deck.

The Streets of Monaco

If you’re more the cruel despot type, looking to create a powerful oligarchy on a small scale, The Streets of Monaco is for you! You and 15 of your wealthiest, most powerful guests will luxuriate in scale models of the Hotel de Paris, the Prince’s Palace and La Rascasse. You’ll enjoy amenities like a casino, swim-up bar, tennis court, submarine launchpad and even a go-kart version of the Grand Prix circuit. The 16 of you willful despots will be absolutely pampered by the 70-member crew designated to tiny lower-deck living quarters! Yay!

Sea Orbiter

A more balanced civilization at sea, Sea orbiter is both community and research vessel. Topping the height charts at 170 feet, more than half of this vertical ship will be submerged, allowing for under-water airlocks and modules that will give divers unprecedented access to sea life. An added benefit of this sea-faring habitation is that it’s slated to start construction next month, possibly reaching completion next year. Quite pioneering.


Like a scaled-up extrapolation of the Sea Orbiter, Water-Scraper is a small city designed to be pertpetually self-sustaining. Everything from the rooftop rain forest to the ballast tendrils, and even the hydroponics bays and animal life, will create energy for the vessel. Water-Scraper will be large enough to contain the likes of malls and swimming pools, sports venues and restaurants, all while providing everyone aboard both living and work spaces. The city at sea will have finally arrived.