Sorry, Doc Brown, looks like you won't be taking Marty McFly on any crazy adventures to the past (or future) anymore now that, according to an article from Discovery News, Hong Kong physicists might have proven time travel to be impossible.
The team, led by Du Shengwang out of the Hong Kong University of Science, report that they have proven how a photon "obeys Einstein's theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light," which puts the kibosh on typical depictions of time travel.
Einstein's basic premise held that the closer one comes to traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), then time would appear to slow down, compared with someone who wasn't traveling that fast.
According to the article, scientists have been optimistic about fiction becoming reality in the past.
"The possibility of time travel was raised 10 years ago when scientists discovered superluminal -- or faster-than-light -- propagation of optical pulses in some specific medium, the team said. It was later found to be a visual effect, but researchers thought it might still be possible for a single photon to exceed light speed."
Now that this research has come to light, Du told the publication he thinks it will bring the debate to a close.
"By showing that single photons cannot travel faster than the speed of light, our results bring a closure to the debate on the true speed of information carried by a single photon."
While American cinema might not be ready to give up the possibility (or abandon classics like H.G. Wells' The Time Machine), it seems China was light years ahead of accepting this disappointing fact, when they banned fictional depictions of time travel in all of their media a few months ago.