Relative motion

Observer: Shuttle set to dock its £1bn lab at 17,500 mph

NO IT'S NOT! The space shuttle and the International Space Station are set to dock at a relative speed of a few centimetres per second.

When the orange-tanned flight attendant pours you a measly portion of apple juice half-way over the Atlantic, the juice is not going into your plastic cup at several hundred miles per hour. It's all about relative motion within the aircraft's cabin. When the space shuttle catches up with the ISS, their relative speed is minuscule—that's the whole idea!

I'm not sure if Einstein got it right, though: if space and time are relatives, how come they never send me a birthday card?

By Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. if space and time are relatives, how come they never send me a birthday card?............Well, space doesn't have time, and time doesn't have the space (that last bit doesn't make much sense does it? )

  2. Who was it who held the record for the world's longest golf put...on Concord?

  3. .. but since the surface of the earth is moving at 1000 mph at the equator just from rotation, and something like 65,000 mph round the sun, even on earth your put might well be 100 miles.  It also means, that I can quite legitimately claim to have driven my car at 65,000 mph on Sunday.  Lucky I didn't get caught really.

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