Famous American astronaut Scott Kelly flew to the International Space Station last year in order to understand the effect of space on the growth and aging of humans when compared to that of his slightly older twin brother Mark Kelly. Amazingly, the age gap of the twin brothers increased greatly due to Scott’s time in space.
The discovery is well explained by Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, where it was suggested that “time moves more slowly for objects in motion than it does for a stationary observer.” Furthermore, time also becomes slower as the gravitational mass becomes closer, as reported in Science Alert.
This simply means that time doesn’t have the same rate in different places.
A faster and more accelerated movement will make time slow down. Since Scott Kelly is in orbit from space with the spacecraft moving at the rate of 28,200 km/hr, his brother Mark became five milliseconds older than he actually is. The twins were actually born six seconds apart in 1964. And this more than a year of space separation made them six seconds and five milliseconds apart in age, as initially reported in Gizmodo.
This twist of time is called Time dilation. The twins possess the best qualification for it since they show different in the speed of movement and relative closeness to the gravitational mass.
MinutePhysics created a video to discuss the conundrum known as “The Twin Paradox” showing two people, one an observer on Earth and another riding on a rocket. They show that time will be slower since they both know that the other is performing the relative movement.
This idea has been supported by other firm and proven scientific experiments like the flying atomic clocks above Earth’s space (in the plane, rocket, etc.) and found that the time recorded is different than that shown on the ground.
Aside from seeing time dilation in space, the twins are made the best subjects since they could be greatly compared due to the similarity in terms of assessing the effects of space travel on human bodies.
However, this age gap between the brothers may not be as significant as it is since scientists are still unsure if time in space, in the long run, will cause the body to deteriorate faster, Mark even joked a bit saying, “If 10 years from now, I look like I’m 60 and he looks like he’s 80, you’ll know what happened.”