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Gravity Probe B

Testing Einstein's Universe

Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers

In layman's terms, why does your rate of speed affect time?

There is no simple explanation for why relativity works this way. If this realm of the natural world were something that we have always been able to experience without sophisticated technology, we would call it by some very familiar name, and everyone would automatically nod their heads with intuitive understanding whenever we mentioned it. This is not the case, so as a result, any explanation I would try to give you by watering down the mathematics would have no meaning to you. Sorry. There is a reason why it takes many years for students to understand physics. This is one of them.

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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.