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Imagining Time Travel Methods in Science Fiction

Science fiction novels and films have always inspired us to imagine a time travel scenario on how to change the past and shape future ...

Science fiction novels and films have always inspired us to imagine a time travel scenario on how to change the past and shape future history. Although a time machine has yet to be invented, many visionaries and futurists have envisioned different ways on how we can travel in time. Whether its going into a wormhole or hitching a ride on a Delorean time machine, there are endless iterations of time-travel devices and mechanism as listed below:

1. One-Way Ticket to the Future
The traveler leaves home, but the people he or she left behind might age or be dead by the time the traveler returns just like in "Interstellar" (2014) and "Ikarie XB-1" (1963).

2. Time travel by moving through higher dimensions
In "Interstellar" (2014), there are 'tesseracts' available in which astronauts can travel because the vessel represents time as a dimension of space. A similar concept is expressed in Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time" (2018, based on the book series that started in 1963), where time is folded by a tesseract. The book, however, uses supernatural beings to make the travel possible.

3. Travelling the space-time vortex
The famous "Doctor Who" (1963-present) TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) uses an extra-dimensional vortex to go through time, while the travelers inside feel time passing normally.

4. Instantaneous time jumping
Time travelling can be done in an instant in "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (2006), the DeLorean from "Back To The Future" (1985), and the Mr. Peabody's WABAC machine from "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" (1959-64).

5. Time travelling while standing still
Both the "Time Machine" (1895 book) and Hermione Granger's Time-Turner from "Harry Potter" (1997) keep the traveler still while they move through time.

6. Slow time travel
In "Primer" (2004), a traveler stays in a box while time traveling. For each minute they want to go back in time, they need to stay in the box for a minute. If they want to go back a day in time, they have to stay there for 24 hours.

7. Traveling faster than light
In "Superman: The Movie" (1979), Superman flies faster than light to go back in time and rescue Lois Lane before she is killed. The concept was also used in the 1980 novel "Timescape" by Gregory Benford, in which the protagonist sends (hypothetical) faster-than-light tachyon particles back to Earth in 1962 to warn of disaster. In several "Star Trek" episodes and movies, the Enterprise travels through time by going faster than light. In the comic book and TV series "The Flash," the super-speedster uses a cosmic treadmill to travel through time.

8. Unknown methods
There's a rocket sled in "Timecop" (1994) that pops in and out of view when it's being used, which has led to much speculation about what's going on. There's also the Time Displacement Equipment in "The Terminator" movie series, which shows off how to fight a war in four dimensions (including time).

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