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Sending a Message Through Time

You’ve traveled back in time 65 million years with no way to return. What evidence can you leave to ensure future humans will know of your existence?

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I love science fiction in general and I love tall tales about time travel in particular. As I’ve mentioned on previous occasions, some of my favorite stories of this genre are The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, By His Bootstraps by Robert Heinlein, A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, and Millennium by John Varley. Although I don’t like to boast, I’m a bit of a time traveler myself. In fact, I’m traveling into the future as I pen these words, but I’m currently taking the scenic path at a relaxed pace of one day every 24 hours (give or take).
Some prehistoric cave paintings have survived 40,000+ years (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: pixabay.com)
I also spend an inordinate amount of time pondering what trade goods I should take with me if I ever get my time machine working and decide to take a few days of vacation in the past. Obviously, I wouldn’t want anything of a technological nature that would get me burnt at the stake as a witch or anything of a culinary nature that would get me flogged as a Frenchman. If I were to go back to Roman times, say the year 65 in the middle of the reign of Titus Flavius Vespasianus, for example, then I think boxes of safety matches, stainless steel sewing needles, and small vanity mirrors would go a long way to making friends. Having said this, to be honest, I’ve never really pondered the situation posed in a recent post to the Science and Math Geeks community of Quora.com, which read as follows: “You’ve traveled back in time 65 M years with no way to return. What evidence can you leave to ensure future humans will know of your existence?” I wouldn’t have even known where to start until I read the detailed response by Dyjamerson Freire Campos. I find it hard to fault any of Dyjamerson’s reasoning, although the thought of having to chop off my little finger brings a tear to my eye. How about you? Do you have any thoughts you’d care to share on any of this?

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Doug Gibbs

I highly recommend “How to Invent Everything” by Ryan North.
My kids ate it up. It is the guide for the stranded time traveler. It has all you need to know.

Charles Pfeil
  1. Before I depart to go back 65 M years, I would send an email to all the archaeologists on the planet describing in detail that I am going back in time and letting them know as much as possible about it.
  2. If I have a time machine that truly works for this purpose, I expect calculating exactly where on Earth I am going to be located would be simple in comparison to building the machine.
Charles Pfeil

Max, I am including you with all the archaeologists. By the time you read this, I will have left already. My location is now 31.7054° N, 35.2024° E but I only went back to 4BC.

Charles Pfeil

I am back now. WOW. You wouldn’t believe what happened. Maybe I should write a book about it.

Charles Pfeil

You are just doing that because you are so competitive. I already returned to 1611 and published it then. For your reference, I did quote you a few times, so let’s stop this madness!

Charles Pfeil

“For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Pfeil
Charles Pfeil

I have had never had seen that one. Great!

Charles Pfeil

I also travel into the future every day, but unfortunately I cannot control the speed. Last August and September went by so fast that I don’t even remember what happened. I have tried to find the accelerator pedal and the brake, but to no avail.

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Pfeil

This remind me of an incident in Timeline (Micheal Crichton) where the professor travels to the past, gets in trouble and sends a message back.


I don’t remember reading “Sound of Thunder” and I’m sure I haven’t read “Millennium” but I agree that the other two created a much greater impression than “Timeline”.

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