Mind

An Easier Way to Get Around

Cosmic VarianceBy Julianne DalcantonJan 9, 2009 7:24 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Samuel Arbesman (who may have a tad too much time on his hands) has developed a transit system for the Milky Way:

It's a cute idea, but I have some issues. The biggest is differential rotation. In much of the Milky Way, the tangential velocity is constant (i.e. in km/s). However, this means that the inner parts of the galaxy are rotating faster (in degrees per second), such that the whole transit system will be winding up, making more and more unnecessary trips around the center in the inner regions -- this is the classic "winding problem" of spiral arm theory. If you fight this by making your transit lines fixed, then they'll go out of phase with the spiral arms, leaving a transit system that serves the thinly populated rural regions of the galaxy, with no regular service to the dense urban areas. Finally, there are useful, well-populated regions above and below the plane of the Milky Way disk, so there needs to be a three dimensional component to the transit systems, definitely requiring some sort of bus-rail-submarine link plan. But, we've got a infrastructure-based stimulus package coming up, so maybe we'll get lucky.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.