By Scott Sullivan
Time to devote space to space and time. Now we all have ytterbium clocks as discussed last week, let’s take a spin in Caroline Mallary’s time machine.
Mallary cites Einstein and Stephen Hawking in her Classical and Quantum Gravity journal article, but overlooks seminal work done by Mr. Peabody.
The bespectacled dog, with his pet boy Sherman, traveled 50-plus years ago in their WABAC machine to fill time between Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and other cartoon dissertations.
Forgoing the WABAC design of a door framed by something that looks like a slot machine, instrument panel and red beaker shaped like an esophagus, Mallary came up with something simpler.
In it, two super-long cars, both with positive mass, are parked parallel. One moves forward at light speed, the other stays, which creates a time loop — warping time so much it folds back on itself — between them.
Before trying this in your driveway, know the center of each car must contain objects with infinite density, temperature and pressure. These cannot be built nor do they exist in nature.
There’s still hope, however. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft keeps exploring the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune as we speak. Onboard cameras are sending back pictures of Ultima Thule, one billion miles past Pluto.
“Ultima Thule,” named for the farthermost region charted by ancient Greeks and Romans, is in this case the most-distant object ever explored by humanity. Like Uma Thurman, if I can reach her.
Technically, humanity’s not exploring it. Still, thanks to space robots we seeing images of the deep-frozen remnants of our solar system’s early history.
That’s when my research on robots and time machines started too. On “The Jetsons,” Rosie the Maid wore a frilly apron, had one leg mounted on caster wheels and rolled around pushing a vacuum cleaner.
School robotics teams no longer build them the way they used to. Space robots can survive long cruises, extreme radiation and temperatures, and be reprogrammed as new exploration needs are available.
But can they clean instruments, like Rosie, with a feather duster?
As we probe space and time we might ask, “Who devises devices like these?” Robots, time machines, Ultima Thule and such are great but mean little compared to mysteries of humanity.
Take the woman banned from a Texas Walmart last week for driving an electric scooter around its parking lot for three hours while drinking wine from a can of Pringles. Which of us hasn’t done that?
Without Walmart as an option, she can be President Trump’s drinks consultant the next time he serves Clemson’s football team Wendy’s and McDonald’s. Who needs fine dining at Carabba’s when the big guy can dish up that?
Want to really explore the unknown? Have Rosie pilot the WABAC machine through a time loop to the Walmart lot when the woman started her joyride Jan. 11 at 6 a.m.
“Why are you up so early?” Rosie would ask.
“Cheers!” the woman would say, handing the robot a Pringles can filled with Boone’s Farm.
“You’re going to be banned from here,” Rosie would warn her, “unless you am-scray.”
“How do you know?”
“I read it in next week’s Commercial Record.”
“Will I get jailed?”
“Good. I’d hate missing my gig as Trump’s sommelier. I have another with him too.”
“He and the ‘Little Rocket Man’ are planning a second summit.”
“You mean North Korean dictator Kim Jung?”
“Yup. The President wants Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.”
“What’s in it for Kim?”
“This.” She would hold up a Pringles can filled with Mad Dog. “Maybe Trump will bring Dennis Rodman too.”
Why warp time when warped minds can take you anywhere? “Help, Jane!” as George Jetson cried to his wife in the long-ago future while walking Astro on a treadmill that spins out of control when the dog sees a cat. “Stop this crazy thing!”