How To See Time Travel
In this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart, I’ll show you how to build your own cosmic particle detector and witness time travel with your very own eyes!
Earth is under constant bombardment from cosmic radiation. There’s sunlight, of course, but that’s the good stuff. Solar wind, the next most common variety, is mostly blocked by Earth’s magnetic field and diverted to the poles. But there are other, more distant sources of charged particles, too.
Distant stars, supernovas, and even other galaxies are constantly exhaling high-energy protons and atomic nuclei, subjecting Earth to a constant cosmic downpour. High in the atmosphere, the subatomic cosmic projectiles smash into gases like billiard balls, sending a rain of muons down towards Earth.
Just this second, dozens of these particles flew through your body. Each minute, 10,000 or so muons hit every square meter of Earth. They could have been a major force in shaping early life on this planet. The thing is, muons don’t live very long, and they shouldn’t be able to travel down to Earth. So how do they get here?
Watch this week’s video to find out more.
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"The first thing I saw from space was Chicago, my hometown. I was working on the middeck where there aren’t many windows, and as we passed over Chicago the commander called me up to the flight deck.
It was such a significant moment because since I was a little girl I had always assumed I would go into space. When I grew up, in the 1960’s, the only American astronauts were men. Looking out the window of that space shuttle, I thought if that little girl growing up in Chicago could see her older self now, she would have a huge grin on her face.”
- Mae Jemison, "What Was Space Like?"