fasTrak's ``SpaceTime Collider''

Below find the ``live remote'' image of two 1 [kg] round blue-green gliders on a 10 [meter] airtrack, with yellow timing gates separated by 1 [meter] whose traverse is timed by both lab frame (mapTime) and glider (travTime) clocks. Because this airtrack is capable of high speeds, we had to find someplace to put it with a good vacuum. The Milky Way's interstellar medium (not far from sol and good old planet earth, just outside the Oort cloud) seemed like a good bet. Thanks to web-based telepresence, you don't actually have to put on a space suit and go there because you can control the experiment from the comfort of your home computer! You'll note that we avoid the long-distance communications time lag in this process, although how we manage that is a separate subject altogether.

Slide your mouse cursor over the image, and the first glider should collide inelastically with the second, after which both will move quickly past the gates while your view of the model begins to rotate. You can spin and/or zoom in and out on the remote platform, by dragging the mouse and/or shift-dragging the mouse respectively. The glider (also the spinning) can be stopped and restarted with a double-click. When action has been stopped with a double-click, dragging the glider "downstream" from the timing gates (followed by another double-click) repeats the current experiment.

While stopped with a double-click, the magenta kinetic energy selector can also be selected and dragged to new values on its logarithmic scale. This resets the glider, which when restarted at low energies (with another double-click) behaves as one might expect in an everyday lab experiment. At higher energies, mapTime and travTime begin to differ. After you take a bit of data, can you come up with a quantitative hypothesis for predicting the observed behavior? Given that such things do happen in the real world (now that you've seen it with your own eyes), what does it tell us about the nature of our universe?

Other links on flatspace motion at any speed, examined with a collection of co-moving yardsticks and synchronized clocks (i.e. from the vantage point of a reference mapFrame) can be found here. Writeups with references related to this include these notes on anyspeed modeling, modernizing Newton, one-map two-clocks, and anticipation.

Note: This is a prototype platform with provision for totally inelastic collision with a second glider. It is being put together with hopes that it will enable researchers to determine which quantities are conserved in high speed collisions e.g. in order to see if we can come up with an expression for momentum that works at any speed. In context of this work, data from our single-glider platform may also come in handy. Two dimensional computer-simulations of this phenomena, and of related spacetime experiments in ours and/or other universes, can be found here. If instead you'd like to examine a wider range of physical objects in this corner of the universe, you might enjoy playing with the powers of ten explorer inspired by this remote sensing project.

Puzzler: The first three ticks on the magenta energy bar denote one, a thousand, and one million Joules of kinetic energy for our 1 kilogram slider, respectively. What does the fourth represent?
This page is Acknowledgement is due particularly to Martin Kraus for his robust Live3D applet. The galactic panorama is copyright Axel Mellinger, and is adapted here with permission, from his 300MB All-Sky Milky-Way. Although there are many contributors, the person responsible for errors is P. Fraundorf. This site is hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UM-StL. MindQuilts site page requests ~2000/day approaching a million per year. Requests for a "stat-counter linked subset of pages" since 4/7/2005: .