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Gravity Probe B

Testing Einstein's Universe

Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers

Is there any common sense way to think about the Twin Paradox?

No. Common sense is useless for understanding much of the physical world we now experience. We are plagued by seeming contradictions which do not occur in nature, and it is only our own prejudices and expectations that are to blame. Only a very small part of the universe is covered by common sense. Also, my common sense as an astronomer is VERY different than yours because I spend a large fraction of my waking hours studying the universe critically. My realm of experience is very different, and my expectations are also. One person's paradoxes are another person's logic.

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