New theory posits tachyon particles might be able to travel back in time

The idea of the tachyon particle first gained traction in the early 1900s, when Albert Einstein theorized that a particle that could travel faster than the speed of light could exist. The term wasn’t coined until 1967 when physicist Gerald Feinberg named it so. While we don’t know these particles exist, new reports believe tachyon particles could have time travel components.

The idea was posed in a new article featured in Discover Magazine. To break things down, the speed of light is the fastest speed that we know. Nothing that we know of is faster than light. Light has no mass, so it doesn’t gain size as it speeds up. Objects with mass, on the other hand, gain mass when they speed up, making it difficult for them to keep up with the speed of light.

But how exactly does that translate to tachyon particles having time travel components? Well, in theory, at least, tachyon particles travel faster than light speed. As such, these particles have to achieve a constant speed somehow. Otherwise, they would eventually fall below the speed of light. That’s where the time travel component comes into play.

tachyon particles move faster than speed of light, could possibly allow time travel
The speed of light imagined in a city street. Image source: YiuCheung/Adobe

If tachyon particles can travel faster than the speed of light, they could also hypothetically send messages that exceed the constraints of time. So, you could send a message back in time before you even thought to send it. It’s a stretch of a theory, but the big question is whether we can prove that tachyon particles have a time travel component.

Doing that might be difficult, especially since we need to figure out how tachyon particles travel faster than the speed of light first. Additionally, we also have to figure out whether or not you could travel back in time. Scientists think wormholes could allow time travel, but proving such a thing will take years of research and exploration.

And suppose we somehow figured out how to time travel. In that case, we’d still need to determine whether paradox-free time travel was possible.

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