The Professor (and by extension the writers!) invented the very first time travel machine that convincingly avoids paradoxes by design (S07E07) -- limited to the fictional universes I know of.

It does this by only travelling forward in time in what appears almost as quickly as you want. It is implied that the universe happens to inevitably always repeat its history after it eventually collapses. Thus, if you want to travel "back in time", you simply wait for the next iteration of an universe (leaving your original iteration for good) and stop at the desired point in time.

Beautiful paradox resolving: There are no paradoxes to begin with.

Anyhow, in Bender's Big Score the time spheres (which appear to be limited in time-travel going backwards in time) have the feature to be paradox-resolving, too.
So, I was wondering if there is a relation between these technologies, although they seem to have different effects;

The Professor's ship makes you actually disappear from your time line, so the people in your original universe, will never see you again (unless you travel into a future where they are still alive) while the spheres appear to warp you into the past of your very own time line. Nonetheless, what we see on screen, may be from the perspective of the time-traveller (i.e. mostly Bender and Fry). From their perspective, the Professor's machine is functionally indistinguishable from the time spheres, if you pre-program the machine to jump at maximum speed to a predetermined point in the past.

Is there a flaw in this theory? Can somebody confirm this?

2 Answers 2


To answer the question, they do not function on the same principles.

The reason being that the time spheres fix their paradoxes by dooming them. If Fry, Bender, and the Professor use the forward-traveling time machine to "go back in time", they would be the paradoxes and would be doomed to destruction themselves.

The argument against this may be that they solved the paradox and are therefore safe. This is incorrect because the doom "radiation" would still exist on the paradox had it obeyed the function of the time traveling sphere. For example, if Lars killed Fry in Bender's Big Score, it would make no difference that the original version was wiped out, Lars would still be doomed.

  • Good point, didn't remember the dooming thing.
    – bitmask
    Jul 10, 2012 at 20:03

Actually no. Both time-traveling devices are different. Since the time machine only travels forwards in time, usage of the device won't cause a paradox(if you are in your universe). Only going back in time will cause a paradox.

The Time Sphere prevented that by making every copy doomed. Whereas the Forwards Time Machine does not. The only way for a paradox to manifest due to the Forwards Time Machine is if you go so far into the future you end up in another universe(kind of...). You see this is a real paradox because the Professor said that the paradox was resolved after he noticed that the 2nd Fry, Professor, and Bender were dead.

Tech-wise the Time Sphere is the "code" of the universe. While the the time machine was created artificially.

It seems in Futurama, Time Sphere were only used to go back in time, while the Forwards Time Machine was meant only to go forwards in time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.