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The time travellers ego…

I was just watching “Back to the Future 3”, and it was at the part where they were discussing the driving their car into the future on track that didn’t yet exist. The explanation was sound at first, sure the track doesn’t exist now but in 100 years it will so we will appear and glide along…

But the earth is rotating, fast, about 1,674.4 km/h it would seem. So maybe you take that into account and travel to the exact same time of day in the future (or past), which the movie might imply by only having a date on the time circuit’s.

But the earth is also moving, fast, about 108,000 km/h through space, orbiting the sun. This means that the earths position in space tomorrow at this same time of day will 2,592,000 km away from where it is now. So only if the orbit of the earth around the sun is perfectly consistent, the best you could do is travel forward by years, so that you appear on the earth as it passes by at the perfect moment and is at the same point in its daily rotation as to pit you at the right spot on the surface.

But there’s more… Just as the earth orbits the sun in our solar system, our solar system orbits in the Milky Way Galaxy. This galactic year, as it’s called, takes anyway from 200 to 250 million earth years. That’s a pretty big margin of error, and even if you got it perfect, you would only be able to travel forward or back in steps of galactic years. That might explain why so many cartoons show people jumping back into the past and landing face to face with a T-Rex.

Now without doing a bunch of research, I would assume based on the various theories of universal expansion and contraction that our galaxy is also moving, either towards, away from, or around some other central point. So this again would mean that the odds of you moving to another moment in time where the train tracks are in the exact same point in the universe are slim to none.

So either ol’ Doc Brown was not only able to move through time but also calculate and reposition the delorean to another point in the universe based on “approximate” measurements at the high end, all while also ensuring that their forward movement was maintained relative to the surface of the earth as it spun and moved through space as though in a huge gyroscope, or… the earth is the center point for all of space time, and so all changes in time would be relative to the earth as a fixed point in space… Talk about thinking you’re the center of the universe.

All that said, it is a great movie.

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