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Ask Ethan: Why Can’t We Feel Earth Flying Through Space?

9 Feb 2019, 15:01 UTC
Ask Ethan: Why Can’t We Feel Earth Flying Through Space?
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The Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft captured several stunning images of Earth during a gravity assist swingby of its home planet on Aug. 2, 2005. Several hundred images, taken with the wide-angle camera in MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), were sequenced into a movie documenting the view from MESSENGER as it departed Earth. (NASA / MESSENGER MISSION)Our motion through space is undeniable. So why can’t we feel it?Our planet isn’t the stationary place we feel it to be beneath our feet, but rather moves in an incredibly complex fashion through the Universe. We rotate on our axis once every 24 hours, revolve around the Sun once per year, while the entire Solar System orbits at 220 km/s around the Milky Way, which accelerates towards Andromeda in the Local Group, which itself moves relative to the radiation left over from the Big Bang. That’s a lot of cosmic motion! And yet, we cannot feel it at all. This troubles many, including reader Annie Bennett, who asks:I desperately need your help! Please help me explain to my husband why you can’t feel earth flying through space!There’s a simple reason why we cannot feel it in our bodies, but it won’t be intuitive to ...

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