Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Infinity Miles per Hour

Sign in to follow this  


Can you travel at infinity miles per hour? Well, infinity isn't really a number so, probably not. But how fast could, we'll say a person, travel? I would say the speed of light is the fastest possibility, but let's start out a bit more realistic. Usain Bolt can run at 28 mph, but this is physics, so 12.5 m/s. Not a bad start. How about something faster, the fastest train is the Maglev, at 120 m/s. The fastest land vehicle - Thrust SSC at 341 m/s. The fastest speed by a manned vehicle was the Apollo 10 at 11082 m/s, but that's still only about 0.0037% the speed of light. But wait, we're on the Earth, aren't we, and that's moving fast, about 30000 m/s. And now that we've considered that, how fast is the milky way galaxy moving? 581152 m/s! That's 0.19% the speed of light. I don't think that it is reasonable that people will get close to traveling faster than our galaxy, at least any time soon, so guess it's time to give up. 

But, let's consider something, could we already be traveling at the speed of light? Here's the idea: there is a person at point A standing still, and a car moving at 16 m/s, and there is a point in the car, point B, where relative to that point, the car is not moving (kind of like how relative to us, the Earth is not moving, but relative to the Sun, it is moving quite fast). So, from that point B in the car (if you can imagine) the person standing at point A is moving, relative to you being still, at 16 m/s.

So, considering this example of relativity, can we say that relative to a photon, we are moving at the speed of light? Yes. Wait! No, no, no that can't be, we did not consider something, I said there was a relative point B where the car was not moving, so there would have to be a point where, relatively, a photon is standing still, and that is not possible in any reference frame. (Also technically there is no reference frame where anything but a photon can be moving at the speed of light) - but we still went through with this thought procedure in light of that... get it?

Sign in to follow this  


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...