Well, clocks sure are amazing things, they have taught us how to stay scheduled, how to manage our time, become more and more productive, conduct better experiments and evolve better as human beings with a better understanding of the universe. When humanity was still a bit young we used to mark time by the rising and setting of the sun. And a month by the waxing and waning of the moon but we evolved and so did clocks with us
But there are many curiosities that rise with clocks, one of them is ” Do Clocks Work In Space”, well here in this article we decided to answer that very question in great depth. So without further ado, lets get right into it.
Well, taking regular clocks into consideration and the fact that time slows down with speed. The time would pass more fastly for the clock in space as it won’t be revolving at the speed of 1000 miles per hour around 67000 miles around the sun. These are extreme pressures to be relieved of as a clock. So if the clock far enough to be not hampered by the gravity of the earth and other stars and rock in space. The time of a clock would appear to have been ahead by a significant difference
To elaborate on this, here is an example. Let’s say the clock that was to go to space had an exact same twin with date and time showing. And its twin stayed on earth. The clock that went to outer space and stayed there for a year far enough to not be hampered by the gravity of earth would show completely a significant amount of difference after they are put together after a year as the clock outside would have been motionless in space while the clock in earth would be traveling at the speed of 67000 miles per hour and revolving at a speed of 1000 miles per hour. This means that the clock in space would seem to have accelerated time when compared to the clock that was revolving around with the earth
This was a phenomena proved by Einstien as he proved that time is relevant to motion. This concept is also refered as “Time dialation” Down below is an attached video to better elaborate the concept for those
How Much Are Clocks Affected By Space?
Well, the level by which to be affected by space would depend on what kind of a clock it is. For instance, if it is a battery-powered clock in space than the time on it would seem to accelerate. And if we were to check on it after a whole year, the time and date shown would be significantly ahead of what we would have on Earth. Whereas if it is a gravity clock then it would probably stop working until unless there is an interruption from gravitational forces elsewhere
Why Pendulum Clocks Are Not Suitable For Spaceships?
There are two major types of pendulum clocks. Firstly, the older mechanical type and secondly, the more commonly used battery-powered pendulum clocks.
Mechanical Pendulum clocks won’t function properly in space, on the other hand, battery-powered clocks can work properly in space.
Let’s talk about mechanical pendulum clocks and see how they function and why they won’t be able to work in outer space.
Mechanical Pendulum Clocks
Mechanical pendulum clocks are quite obsolete now, as a result, they are hardly seen anywhere. The reason why this type of pendulum clock doesn’t work in outer space is how it functions, let’s talk about it.
This type of clock works on the principle of conservation of energy. This means that the energy supplied to the system remains constant but it changes form. Mechanical pendulum clocks require them to be wound which results in the storage of energy which can be used to function the clock.
The main components of a mechanical pendulum clock
- A dial and a set of hands to display the time.
- Weights for storing potential energy.
- A set of power gears.
- A set of timekeeping gears.
- A pendulum and an escapement.
Why are Mechanical Pendulum Clocks Not Suitable For Space?
So to give you a clear answer, mechanical pendulum clocks do not work properly in space, due to two reasons. Firstly, the temperature in space is very low, about -270 degrees celsius. This results in the material of the pendulum to contract by a lot. If the clock is calibrated for showing time on Earth, then the readings will be off by a lot. This happens because for different lengths of a pendulum the time-period is different. Due to this, the time measured will also be different. Another main reason is the fact that there is very low gravity in outer space. Mechanical Pendulum Clocks mainly operate with the help of potential energy. If the gravity is nearly zero, less or no energy will be transferred to the clock mechanism. Thus, the energy will not be able to convert in order to power the clock system.
Why are Battery-Powered Pendulum Clocks Suitable For Space?
Battery-powered pendulum clocks work very differently when compared to Mechanical type. Due to the fact that battery-powered pendulum clocks do not work on mechanical parts for timekeeping, they can work properly. This type does not need power from potential energy to work, that’s why gravity has no effect on it.
So, to conclude, mechanical pendulum clocks can’t work properly in space, due to two reasons:
- Contraction of material
On the other hand, electrical pendulum clocks can work properly. Because they do not depend on potential energy and do not work out time mechanically.
Hopefully, this article was helpful in answering your questions about clocks and space. If you have any clock-related questions, feel free to use the comment section below. And if you want to know why clocks don’t appear in dreams, we have a great article on just that so do give it a click if you are interested “Why don’t clocks appear in dreams? Clocks and dreams!“. Here is also a link about the history of clocks if you want to give that a look “History of timekeeping devices“
And stay tuned to ohmyclock for more interesting articles about clocks