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In Futurama, Farnsworth set-up an idea for all robots to release their exhaust at one location to push Earth away from the Sun thus rendering Earth cooler. As a side-effect the Earth has more days.

But as we know from science, that if the Earth is pushed 1 Degree back, Earth will freeze and if it is pulled 1 Degree forward, Earth will burn due to the Sun.

Why didn't the Earth freeze when all of the robots moved Earth from orbit?

  • Actually, when the Earth is at it's closest to the sun (January), it's a little over 3% closer than when it's at its furthest (July). – Izkata Jun 14 '12 at 12:02
  • @Izkata The change in orbit... not the consistency of orbit. – Blue Jun 14 '12 at 12:22
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    Could you link a source to the 1 Degree forward/back information? – Dylan Yaga Jun 14 '12 at 12:31
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    @DylanYaga There isn't a scientific one. It's a common (and incorrect, see my previous comment) argument from creationists about Earth having been created in the perfect orbit to support life. – Izkata Jun 14 '12 at 12:53
  • @Dylan Yaga I can't really link a source because I got this information from one of my science teachers 10+ years ago – Blue Jun 14 '12 at 17:37
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So long as the movement due to robot exhaust kept them in the habitable zone, they would have been ok.

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Using the effective temperature formula on wikipedia, I worked out that increasing the fractional extra distance from 0% to 10% alters the temperature by 11 degrees Celsius. Not something catastrophic.

  • 11 degrees is quite catastrophic, the ice age was only 4.5 degrees cooler on average than now. Little changes in average temperature cascade into pretty big climate effects. xkcd.com/1379 – John Meacham Sep 23 '14 at 13:58
  • @john each am I have no recollection of writing this. When I next get my hands on excel I'll work out something more reasonable. – AncientSwordRage Sep 23 '14 at 17:25

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