Alien: Covenant
Time Dilation

Time Dilation

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ChestbursterMember935 XPJun-05-2017 1:22 AM

It’s not the purpose of this topic to degrade sci-fi, it’s just a discussion and reflection about the use of hypersleep chambers. According to Einstein's time dilation formula, if you travel near the speed of light, say 99% (if you travel at the speed of light, you would need an endless amount of energy), spacetime will contract and you will reach your destination in no time - hence no need for hypersleep chambers. In sci-fi movies, they even travel faster than the speed of light, warp speed. If you bend space-time you will get to your destination in no time, so once again, you won’t need sleeping chambers. Why haven’t the sci-fi industry picked up on this? What are your thoughts?

15 Responses to Time Dilation


FacehuggerMember139 XPJun-05-2017 4:05 AM

What has the travel speed to do with the slow degeneration of matter, which in this case means aging process of the human body?

Even if you are at the speed of light you will need to slow down the aging process or save the ressources(food,water) using hypersleep chambers.


TrilobiteMember9516 XPJun-05-2017 4:18 AM

Firstly, time dilation does not exist in the Alien Universe - this is confirmed in both the first two movies with the Nostromo being 11 months from Earth despite being approximately 39 light years from Earth and then Ripley being upset that she didn't make it home in time for her daughter Amanda's 11th birthday.

Secondly, time dilation is, while reportedly "fact", fraught with issues - if a vessel traveling a the speed of light for a year to reach its destination one light year away, would upon reaching its destination discover many, many years have passed. Wouldn't that vessel from an observer's point of view then never even neared the speed of light, having taken many, many years to travel a light year.

Thirdly, as the above kinda suggests that while FTL (faster than light) travel would shorten the time of deep space journeys because the travel between systems would still take many months, if not years then some form of prolonged hibernation would be needed, else many, many years supplies of food oxygen and water.


OvomorphMember88 XPJun-05-2017 11:58 AM

Travelling at light speed is impossible. The speed would mean that objects such as asteroids, moons, planets, even tiny pebbles would destroy the spacecraft because of the impact speeds of a collision. It would be impossible to avoid hitting anything travelling at the speed of light.


OvomorphMember15 XPJun-05-2017 1:24 PM

Time dilation is relative, excuse the pun.

While theoretically the passage of time in the outside world appears to accelerate relative to the traveler, a year is still a year to the traveler. So, even considering a compression/dilation of time outside, a journey of several thousand light years at the speed of light still would take the traveler thousands of years, necessitating some form of "hyper/cryo sleep." Think about Interstellar, not one of my favorite movies, time in the outside world is accelerated relative to characters but their actions appear to occur in "real time."

Covenant is actually the first film in the franchise to reverence their methods of travel by referring to "jumps." This could imply a method of instantaneous travel, Einstein/Rosen Bridge, where the ship only reverts to "real space" for solar recharging. Perhaps this method of travel requires organics to be protected from ill effects, (ever see Supernova?) thus no one wants to go back in the pods when a habitable planet is a few weeks away.


But in any case is all sci-fi mumbo jumbo and we're supposed to just pretend that it all works out just fine.


ChestbursterMember935 XPJun-05-2017 5:21 PM

Gralen: If you travel at the speed of light, space-time will contract. Einstein asked the question: "What would it be like to ride a beam of light?". The answer is that you would travel through the universe in no time (0 hours). There is, therefore, no need for cryo chambers.


PraetorianMember2861 XPJun-05-2017 8:21 PM

ALIEN universe has FtL systems.

If it takes weeks/months to travel, then it's cost effective to put the crew into stasis, save on life support costs.
Also this eliminates morale issues due to long periods of boredom and such.

In short: Company's cheap, so freeze crew until needed.






OvomorphMember35 XPJun-05-2017 8:45 PM

Time dilation only effects traditional FTL, which of course isn't possible as we know it.  Methods like Star Trek's Warp Drive are not effected by these laws because the ship isn't actually traveling at any speed.The ship is encapsulated in a warp bubble and the space behind the ship expands with the space in front of the ship contracting.  The space around the ship is moving, the ship is essentially stationary.  There's actually Science behind warp drive and it's theoretically possible.  NASA is actually working it.  Of course we're generations from actually developing and making a warp drive.

Besides most of the general audience could care less about time dilation and actually science in sci-fi movies.  Only movies like Interstellar incorporate real science.  Most of the audience don't get the concept anyways.  It's a movie we all can suspend our belief rather then trying to break down every minute scientific inaccuracy.


PraetorianMember2861 XPJun-05-2017 9:24 PM

Time dilation only exists withing the Relativistic frame at lightspeed ' C ' and below.

FtL, well, real-world math says that Time Dilation will not enter the picture as it's a Quantum realm phenomenon, no matter what 'model' you theorize with.

You're referring to the Alcubierre` Metric, and no, real-world applications of 'warp' drive will be in testing within a couple decades. ;)

The Future is a lot closer than you think ;)






FacehuggerMember210 XPJun-05-2017 9:38 PM

"If you travel at the speed of light, space-time will contract. Einstein asked the question: "What would it be like to ride a beam of light?". The answer is that you would travel through the universe in no time (0 hours). There is, therefore, no need for cryo chambers."

That's only for certain types of energy not matter.


ChestbursterMember935 XPJun-05-2017 11:43 PM

Blackwinter-witch: If you travel at the speed of light it will take you about 4 years to get to the nearest star - but that is from the viewpoint of Earth. You will get there in no time because spacetime will contract (the distance will be 0). This is the famous twin paradox: When you get back, your twin is 8 years older than you are.


OvomorphMember55 XPJun-06-2017 12:42 AM

There's no paradox, you can't travel at the speed of light. 

There's a post here that explains it pretty well

Also, relativity theory fraught with issues? I know this is 2017 and we're full on into the age of (mis-)information and fake news, but please don't say something is "fraught with issues" just because you don't understand it!


ChestbursterMember935 XPJun-06-2017 1:16 AM

Thanks for the link, SpellboundSynapses.


PraetorianMember2861 XPJun-06-2017 5:19 AM


Travel at Lightspeed in a Relativistic Frame is NOT possible.

Travel at Lightspeed in a Quantum Effect is very possible.

IGNORING Lightspeed altogether by using Quantum rules is also valid (Electron Tunnelling effect and Quantum State-change)

Once you hop over the Relativistic Fence, Quantum rules let you do a lot of incredible things.






ChestbursterMember935 XPJun-06-2017 6:00 AM

Blackwinter-witch: Yes, but the point is that you would still not need hyper sleep chambers. If you bend space time, or if you use the spin up - spin down effect in quantum mechanics (which you can't) you would get to your destination in no time.

In space, no one can scream, by the way.


ChestbursterMember935 XPJun-06-2017 7:12 AM

Good points, Jafo.

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