slingshot time travel inconsistency

The Original Series

slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby bladela » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:15 pm

just a thought: when the enterprise goes back to 1984 during Star Trek IV ... how does it come back and find the solar system in the exact same spot?

It should have been several light months away from the earth (nothing huge, surely it was useless to be there thinking about it from the point of view of the plot, just a curiosity)
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby Mikey » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:33 pm

It’s easy enough to assume that Spock accounted for that discrepancy, but of course the real reason is... because movies.
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:34 pm

Space and time are the same thing, so you don't "go back in time" as much as fly a course through spacetime that takes you back in time. It's easy to believe that the same course could take you through space as well, right? And given that you achieve this effect by using warp in close proximity to a large mass like the sun I don't see why it couldn't be the case that the effect binds you to the sun carrying you along with it as it moves.
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby IanKennedy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:39 pm

What Graham said... and Quantum! :)
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby Mikey » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:41 pm

"Time is an illusion... lunchtime doubly so."
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby IanKennedy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:09 pm

You can't get better than a quick fit fitter... - sorry UK reference :) TV ad...
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby Bryan Moore » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:40 pm

Graham Kennedy wrote:Space and time are the same thing, so you don't "go back in time" as much as fly a course through spacetime that takes you back in time. It's easy to believe that the same course could take you through space as well, right? And given that you achieve this effect by using warp in close proximity to a large mass like the sun I don't see why it couldn't be the case that the effect binds you to the sun carrying you along with it as it moves.


This is, without hyperbole, the most ridiculous and interesting thing I have read on a sci-fi forum in god knows how long. It is utterly absurd to think about, and yet I agree 100% with you that something like that would likely happen. Since spacetime is so connected, it makes perfect sense and yet I don't think I've heard this whacky theory thrown about before. Is this just conjecture, Graham, or is there some scholarly theories about this from the likes of Hawking, Penrose, or that ilk? I'm probably about to spend my weekend looking through JStor archives for articles on curvature of time/space. This made me happy beyond belief. Thanks, Graham.
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:52 pm

No I just made it up. The slingshot method required you to be flying through an extreme gravity field, so it makes sense to me that you either deliberately chart your course to track the object through space, or that the mass kind of drags you along like an anchor.

I was once contemplating what time travel might be like, and figured this would be an explanation of why you didn't wind up in space. Only I went on to suggest that maybe that it's not perfect and so you wind up drifting off your starting point in space - with more drift as you move further through time. I thought the thing to do would be to build your time machine into a helicopter, and take it up to half of its maximum operating altitude. That way you could maximise your time hops because you could afford to drift a mile or two in any direction, including up and down.
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:44 pm

Graham, publish that. or send it to a science magazine or something.
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Re: slingshot time travel inconsistency

Postby Mikey » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:34 pm

Well, it does stand to reason that the sort of gravity "hot spot" that was used as the fulcrum of the "slingshot" in ST:IV et. al. would tend to steer the object of the slingshot back in toward itself. According to Hawking and others, the very fact of the locally heightened gravity acting on light (read: any EM radiation less energetic than gamma rays or x-rays) is what causes the change in temporal positioning. Further analysis by someone as ill-equipped as I am to discuss it would border on the philosophical, but for a relatively (pun definitely intended) easy to read explanation, cf. the discussion of light cones in Hawking's A Brief History of Time.
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