You don’t need a DeLorean when you’ve got Twitter–or so researchers at Michigan Technological University thought.
According to the AP, the researchers, “spurred by idle chat during Thursday poker games,” scoured social media in the past–so we're talking Twitter in 2011–for mentions of Pope Francis and Comet ISON. Arguably (“arguably”) if anyone wrote a post about the new pope but did it in the past, he must be a time traveler.
Unfortunately, no beings, human or otherwise, posted anything relevant from the past.
The research, reportedly rejected by three physics journals, was presented on Tuesday at the American Astronomical Society conference in Washington, D.C.; a conveniently timed dunk tank filled with tomato soup hopefully followed.
"This wasn't a major research push," said researcher Robert Nemiroff. "This was typing things into search engines. Billions of dollars are spent on time travel movies and books and stuff like that. This probably costs less than a dollar to check on it."
Billions of dollars are also spent on grants, research, and stuff like that, but as Stephen Colbert noted below, these guys likely won’t be getting any of that in the near future.