Skip navigation

Gravity Probe B

Testing Einstein's Universe

Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers

If you could slow everything down to a complete stop, would time pass infinitely fast to you?

This is an example of an experiment that can be easily proposed, but never carried out in the real world. To test what happens to time in this way, you have to stop the universe from expanding, and eliminate all relative motion. This cannot be done. My guess at the outcome of this experiment is that without motion of any kind, time becomes a meaningless 'dimension' by which to interpret the world. We know, however, that at the level of the quantum world, there is no such thing as a 'static' timeless system. All things are ultimately being jostled about by what are called quantum fluctuations of the vacuum state. And what these have to do with, no one really knows.

Return to the Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers page.

All answers are provided by Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the NASA Astronomy Cafe, part of the NASA Education and Public Outreach program.