July 2, 2024 at 11:45 pm

The Earth Is Moving At Over 66,500 MPH, So Why Are We Standing Still?

by Melissa Triebwasser

Source: Unsplash/NASA

No, the Earth is not flat.

Doesn’t feel like we should have to point that out to folks still, but here we are.

Apparently, some people are also confused as to why the Earth can be careening through space at 66,500 miles per hour while we can feel like we are standing still.

The answer comes to us through centuries of observing the planets and the stars, and observing their motion relative to our planet.

It can also be found on an clear night by standing outside and observing the phenomenon of parallax, or the simply the changing position of the stars.

A recent post shared to the Facebook Group Fraudulent Astronomy Wall of Shame shows just how confused some people remain about things like physics.

Source: Unsplash/Ahmad Odeh

Just because we can’t “feel” the movement of the planet doesn’t mean it’s not moving. It comes down to lacking an absolute frame of reference in the universe.

When you’re not actively accelerating or decelerating, you are at rest, whether on planet Earth, on a spaceship heading away from Earth, or slowly orbiting the solar system like something out of Interstellar.

The basic laws of physics tell us that a body at rest remains at rest, while a body in motion remains in motion until another force acts upon it, otherwise known as inertia.

That’s true for those of us on planet Earth, which is a relatively smooth ride (outside of the occasional earthquake or other contributing factor).

Even if the motion was a little more jerky, we still wouldn’t feel the constant velocity, though we might pick up on more changes in acceleration or deceleration.

Source: Unsplash/Vincentiu Solomon

A stationary Earth would explain why the rocks in the meme do not fall over, but it would not explain many of the other things (such as the aforementioned parallax of the stars) that have been observed for centuries.

It would also not be able to make predictions about the movement of the bodies in the universe – which is another reason why we abandoned that model centuries before the meme was made.

It might be time for some people to go back to high school science class!

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.