Stephen Hawking suspects radiation feedback would collapse any wormholes scientists managed to expand to useable sizes, rendering them useless for actual travel. But there's another way - navigating the variable rivers of time.


"Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time's current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to traveling into the future," Hawking writes.


Albert Einstein first proposed this idea 100 years ago that there should be places where time slows down, and others where time speeds up, notes Hawking. "He was absolutely right."


The proof, says Hawking, lies in the Global Positioning System satellite network, which in addition to helping us navigate on Earth, reveals that time runs faster in space.


"Inside each spacecraft is a very precise clock. But despite being so accurate, they all gain around a third of a billionth of a second every day. The system has to correct for the drift, otherwise that tiny difference would upset the whole system, causing every GPS device on Earth to go out by about six miles a day," Hawking writes.


The clocks aren't faulty - it's the pull of Earth that's to blame.


"Einstein realized that matter drags on time and slows it down like the slow part of a river. The heavier the object, the more it drags on time," Hawking writes. "And this startling reality is what opens the door to the possibility of time travel to the future."

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