The other day we were driving home and a thought popped into my head. That thought began a threat of thoughts that ended with a surprising realization: time movies have a very very big flaw.
When one thinks of time travel, they think of Back to the Future where you enter a date and time into a computer and then the biggest problem is not to run into yourself again. But there’s a bigger problem that no one thinks about: speed of Earth.
Earth is not stationary, it is spinning and it is moving. We are moving at 67,000 mph around the Sun. That’s 1116 miles per min and 18.6 miles per second. Now this may not matter to us because we are moving with the earth but to a time traveler this matters a lot. Why? Because as far as I know, you don’t continue to travel with the speed of the earth when you go forward or back in time.
This means that let’s say that it is Christmas morning and you are reading a book a book about Jesus. You think about it and you realize that you have this new time machine your mom just gave you. You think about and say, why don’t I go to Easter time and save Jesus. You set the time to lets say to early April in 37 AD. You flip the switch and you would think the problem would be that you just arrived in 37 AD, into a teepee and there is no intercontinental travel. But that’s not the problem. Because you actually arrived in the middle of outer space. The earth has moved in its orbit millions of miles to its position in April.
But that’s not the end of it, adding to that, the universe is also traveling 43,000 mph. So even if you are gone for one hour, you are now 63,000 miles away from where the earth was an hour ago and 43,000mph from where the solar system was an hour ago. Add to that the 76 billion hours since the 17.5 million hours since Jesus’s birth and you are a long way from home.
Now let’s say you appear in outer space and you are like all those lucky movie astronauts where your blood doesn’t boil away or freeze into crystals, but you are so quick thinking that you press the button to appear back on earth again going back to the very time that you left.
Well, here we have a serious question: when you traveled through time, did your speed stay or did you stop. If you are still traveling at the same speed, you might be lucky to appear in the same spot. If you slowed down, even by a few miles, you are hit by the earth at the difference between the speeds. If you slowed down by a mile it’s like getting hit by the earth at 1 mph, but if you slowed down by the 67,000 mph, you will return and become a splat.
I don’t know if this is better or worse, but let’s say you put the time to come back one second earlier. Well, the earth was 18.6 miles from the point of where you left. It means you actually end up 18.6 miles above the ground with the earth moving very quickly towards you and in one second you are again splattered by the hard crust. However, let’s say your watch in your time machine is off by two seconds and you return two seconds later. You reappear now literally inside the earth, you instantly cook inside the magma.
As you can see, it appears that time travel has a lot more risks than dealing with your father’s bullies and outlaws from wild west. The biggest dangers are the laws of physics and the fast speeds of the bodes that float in space.
So if you get a time machine for Christmas or Birthday, I recommend you leave that thing alone. Or at least send someone else first, perhaps a young Michael J. Fox.