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Practical way to time travel in past

How will you feel if I tell you that you can look in the history for real?

I am talking about a scientific theory, not any paranormal activity or any magic or something. Well, this is not actually a time travel but with this method humans can look back in history. With the current technology we can look into the past, in every corner of the earth, every moment in the history no matter how old it is.

Here is how it can be done.

I was watching a documentary recently. In that, NASA had deployed a giant telescope in space which is directed to see the light coming from galaxies which are 1000s of light-year away from earth. What we see through that telescope is not happening in the present but light captured by the telescope is originally emitted before 1000s of light year. The light takes that time to travel till earth. So the images received by the telescope are from the past as you can see in the image below.


Same way, we can deploy our telescope at the other end and we can capture the light coming out of earth. For example, let’s say we want to look back 2 years in history. For this we will put our telescope 2 light year away from earth. The light emitted from earth will take 2 years to reach the telescope. So whatever is captured by telescope is not the current moment but it is the moment from 2 years back. See the illustration below.


This method is a ‘bit’ time consuming and hard but not impossible at all. Just imagine, once implemented, you will be able to see the real video of world war, Tsunami, earthquake, columbus finding USA,, extinction of dinosaurs and other remarkable events.

But there are few problems with this theory

  1. The first problem we will face is the deployment of the telescope. For the above example, if we want to send the telescope two light years away, it will take minimum of 2 years to send the telescope in its orbit. (Assuming we can accelerate the telescope at nearly the speed of light)
  2. We will have to transmit the image/video signal from telescope back to the earth. As the wireless signal also travels at speed of light, it will take the same amount of time depending on the location of the telescope. In the above example, the signal will take 2 years to travel from telescope to earth. So the longer you want to look back in past, the longer we have to wait. (Unless we can invent signals that can travel faster than light)
  3. The first two problems are still manageable. But there is a serious problem with this theory which makes it almost impossible to be practical. Can you figure that out? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to answer this, just a simple logic will do. Lets hear your answer in comment section for the fundamental problem with this theory


  1. Bhavin
    Bhavin October 21, 2009

    well, there’s a logical fallacy here.. say if you want to see the historic events from the telescope (provided that we have some technology that can give us clear pictures from the earth that far away), the telescope is never gonna catch the rays of light containing that imaginary..

    in other words, even if we can travel at speed of light, at most we can be travelling with the current rays emitted (technically reflected!) from earth. may be i’ll put a note about it in my upcoming book.. “No F***ing way”

  2. Arjav
    Arjav October 21, 2009

    Actually if you want to see 2 yrs back then you just need to keep the satellite 1 light year away. because it will take 2 yrs for the light to travel back to earth 1 light year for reaching the satellite and 1 light year for coming back… Wow a great improvment… 😀

    But this approach is completely stupid. If we are going to see just the video of the history and not going back then why dont we just record it in our handycam.???

  3. Brijesh
    Brijesh October 21, 2009

    Bhavin, you are 100$ right, that was the answer I was looking for in my problem number 3.

  4. Brijesh
    Brijesh October 21, 2009


    If we want to see 2 years back, we have to keep the telescope 2 light year away, because the time from telescope to earth does not count towards the transmission. It will only add delay.

    Well, the approach is not stupid, you didn’t quite understood the concept. The whole theory is about seeing the video of ‘past’, and you can’t go there with your handycam. But as the great Bhavin pointed out, we have to wait some ‘more’ time until we can travel faster than speed of light

  5. Arjav
    Arjav October 24, 2009

    considering the delay only I am telling to keep the telescope 1 light year away. Lets take the current years example. If we place the satellite 1 light years away then in 2009 Light starts transmitting. reaches the telescope in the 2010 and reaches back in 2011. So we will be able to see todays world after two years and not one year. Now lets put the satellite 2 light years away. Then it will reach the earth in 2013 i.e. 4 yrs from now. Can you please explain if I am wrong.

    Also I am telling this theory to be stupid because according to Bhavin and which I also believe we wont be able to see the things going on before the current time. It is only possible if there is already a satellite few light years far and it is already transmitting back the history. You only have written we wont be able to go in the past and we can just look back in the history then why not just use handycam today and view them after two years.

  6. Michael
    Michael October 29, 2009

    Why don’t we just put up a giant mirror, that way the light we would see bouncing off the mirror would be an image of 2 years ago. Also, we wouldn’t have to worry about the whole wireless transmitting thing, we would just have to point our telescope at the mirror.

  7. Paulius1981
    Paulius1981 November 24, 2009

    The biggest point everyone is missing is that in order to see events through this telescope that happened two years in the past from OUR perspecive, we would have to be able to send the telescope to it’s destination INSTANTLY.

    If we assume that, like in your thought experiment, that it would take a year to travel a light year, we wouldn’t be able see any further into the past than the day we launched the telescope.

    IE, if the telescope is launched in 2010, arrives in position 2 light years away in 2012, the ‘earliest’ that telescope will be able to see is 2010.

    The only way to see the past from our perspective is if the telescope could break the speed of light.

    For example, if we could launch a telescope on Jan 1st 2010 and have it arrive two light years away on Jan 2nd, then we would be able to see ‘back’ to 2008.

    The whole ‘seeing backwards in time’ depends on being able to get somewhere before the light reflecting of our planet does. If we could match the speed of light, we could certainly set up a telescope that would allow people in the future to see ‘now’ from our perspective, but as someone mentioned above, we might as well just use a regular old video camera…the picture quality would be much better for one.

  8. Can Berkol
    Can Berkol November 29, 2009

    Hmm, this isn’t time travel. Yes, you may see what happened in the past but you will not travel through time. The light itself only caries imagery information; it is not the happening, it is just a record of what’s happening… So, what is time really; why do we absolutely connect it to light? Is it because we can only see things with the existence of light. Hmm, then what if I am blind. Does time depend on sound for blind people. What if I am also deaf? Am I timeless, then?

    Yes, we can watch the past and even the future; but how are we going to shift our existence within time? I don’t think light speed alone is the answer.. Time is a relative concept and light is an absolute concept.. hmmmm…..

  9. Brijesh
    Brijesh December 5, 2009

    @Michael, great idea..!!

    @Paulius1982, I agree with you

    @Can Berkol, After getting all your thoughtful commends, I need to re-think about my time travel..!!

  10. d. sherman
    d. sherman February 9, 2010

    i really feel light traveling in a ~wave~ is incorrect. like everything else light is 3 dimensional not 2. an energy wave travels in a swirl like water down a drain. the linier imagery of light would be a tube thats size would depend on the amount of particles doing the ole cohesive push-pull. i firmly feel that travel at light-speed is easiest to achieve if a method were developed to utilize the channel within this “tube”
    the word ~wormhole~ comes to mind. figure this out, then you can do your telescope and mirror idea. (unless they would be serving a better purpose as focusing the direction of your voyage)

  11. Trailers for Sale
    Trailers for Sale May 9, 2010

    The reason that you couldn’t travel back in time, is, among other things, that it has already happened. What I mean by that is that the energy and matter has already been utilized, and subsequently dispersed. My body, all its matter and energy are here, now. You wouldn’t be able to visit me in the past, since all of my matter isn’t there. Just as this would apply to my body, so would it apply to all matter. As for future travel, all of the energy and matter that will be used to form the future is simply “waiting” to be organized now, and will be by the “time” you get there.

  12. alina
    alina May 9, 2010

    How do you know Time travelers haven’t been here? Do they come up to you and say “Hi I’m a time traveler…oh and put me in a straight jacket and drug me with Demerol while your at it? No its really not that simple. It is a secret Government run program and we have a Temporal Prime Directive to adhere to in order to keep the time line constant. We are only here to observe and report. I am owner of Sarasota Real Estate .

  13. Brijesh
    Brijesh May 13, 2010

    @D. Sherman
    I thought there were only two forms of light in question, particle form and wave form. I never herad of the swirl propagation of light. May be we need more research in this direction. I wish you all the best for your research.

    @Trailers for sale
    May be you didn’t read the post thoroughly. I am not talking about time travel, I am just proposing an idea on how to look back in time. So there is no used matter and energy in question.

    Really? Its a government run program? haha.

    Guys, Spammers have now reached a new level. I cant tell if the last two comments just above this are real person or they are spammers. The content seems so relevant but they are spam as far as I know. Any ideas?

  14. sachin
    sachin January 23, 2011

    will u please elaborate

    • Brijesh
      Brijesh January 24, 2011


      Elaborate what part?

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