Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 1 decade ago

Rotation of the earth?

We know the earth rotates in one direction only...counter clock wise..

If we lined up all the wheeled vehicals on the planet...and at the sound of a trumpet the all started moving at 35 mph...

going clock wise..

could we change the roatation of the earth??

7 Answers

  • Gary H
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Know what? The answer is "yes", we could and would change the rotation of Earth. If every wheeled vehicle simultaneously accelerated eastward, Earth's rotation would slow a bit, and if they accelerated westward, it would speed up. You can calculate the amount, it's actually a pretty simple physics application, starting with say 1 billion 3000-pound vehicles, say all of them spread out along the equator, all accelerate at 1 G, and given the mass of Earth, which is easily look-up-able. Of course, we're probably talking a change of only picoseconds or maybe only femtoseconds per day, but it is a true and calculatable, even theoretically testable change. Also note that friction, both during the mass-acceleration and especially once everybody hits the brakes, will impart the opposite force, resulting in a zero net gain. In other words, a temporary, but no permanent change in rotational speed is possible under this scheme, unless somehow the vehicles, while accelerating, attain a speed sufficient to launch them into space at escape velocity. Then their effect on Earth's rotation can remain behind as permanent.

    Interesting thought, huh?

    [Below added after reading the 2 posts below]

    Okay, I took a crack at the math, thank you wikipedia for the definitions and equations:

    1 billion cars of average of 1000 kilograms each, lined up along the equator accelerate simultaneously from a dead stop at a rate of 1G (32ft/sec^2). Their combined net torque looks to be a force of 10^12 kg, approximately equal to 10^13 Newtons. If I understand wiki correctly, the change in the speed of the rotation of Earth (in radians per second) will be the previously-calculated torque divided by the moment of inertia of Earth, which should be:


    so the change in speed will be:

    10^13/[(2/5)(6*10^24)(13*10^6)] radians per second =

    0.3*10^ -18 radians per second that the cars accelerate at 1G. If they can do that for just 10 seconds, the change in Earth's rotation would total 3*10^ -18 radians per second, or .26*10^ -12 radians per day. Earth's rotation is about 24*10^12 times faster, so I think altogether that works out to a net change of 3.6*10^ -9, or 3.6 picoseconds change per day in Earth's rotation? Tho I pretty sure I've made at least a couple of mistakes along the way, I gotta love how that agrees with my original guesstimate above.

    Jeeez, it's 2 in the morn - I really DO need to get a life...

  • 4 years ago

    The rotation of the earth has no longer something to do with the orbital velocity of the earth, the only situation the rotational velocity does it to make the days longer or shorter, and could exchange the axes of the earth. If the earth strikes out extra from the sunlight the earth might start to relax somewhat, the further the earth strikes away the cooler it relatively is going to grow to be, and the cooler the earth will become the fewer rain we are able to have, however the snow might improve each and every wintry climate. any opposite direction you will initiate getting warmer. do no longer difficulty, in the event that they're good approximately Dec 21/2012 we will not have something to agonize approximately ever back, if we are the fortunate ones that are wiped out first.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I doubt it - the Earth's mass is huge compared to anything people dan do, so while we might affect it a tiny bit (maybe by slowing the rotation down by a second or 2 per year), we would probably just create a huge wind.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is no known force that can achieve such a task, that is impossible, besides if the earth stops for a second there will be a catastrophe..☺

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes it would, slightly. By about a millionth of a second a day. But as soon as all the cars stopped it would return to normal.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I like to keep open minded... but this one well i don't think so...rotation of the earth is going to stay like this.

  • 1 decade ago

    i like the way you think. we could probably do this without the vehicles. if everyone on earth focused on love, peace and light for one minute i wonder what direction the world would turn?

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