Just for Fun

Could a 25-Hour Day Be in Our Future?

Joseph Patterson | January 4, 2019

Scientists say yes, but maybe don’t wait up

If you’ve ever wished for more time in a day, have we got some good news for you. The days are actually getting longer, and they have been for millions of years … by two-thousandths of a second each day. According to scientists with the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), around 200 million years ago, there were just 23 hours in a day. Can you imagine? Today, of course, we have 24-hour days. But — and maybe don’t hold your breath for this one — 200 million years from now, the length of a day will be 25 hours. That’s one more hour to get done all those future chores like intergalactic grocery shopping and zero-gravity dog walking. Our descendants will wonder how we ever got anything done in just 24 hours. How archaic. 

What causes days to get longer?

This is going to come out a little apocalyptic, but remember that it’s been happening for hundreds of millions of years: Our planet is turning slower and slower every day. For that, you can thank the moon — our ever-present little sister, hovering close to our side since the dawn of time. Like any good little sister, the moon wouldn’t be doing her job if she didn’t drag us back just a smidge. To quote the Washington Post:
As the Earth turns, the moon’s gravitation pulls on the Earth’s oceans and some of the crust below. As the planet rotates, this tidal interaction with the moon acts like the rubber damper on a carnival wheel that slowly brings the rotating wheel to a halt. This accounts for the bulk of the roughly two-millisecond slowdown of Earth’s rotation for each century’s worth of this tidal drag.
But the moon isn’t all to blame for our space-time conundrum. Scientists say that even events on Earth can affect how fast the planet turns on its axis. “Any process that redistributes lots of mass upward or downward will slow or speed the rotation, much as a spinning ice skater slows or quickens her rotation by drawing in or extending her arms,” writes the Washington Post. 

What does that mean for today’s workers?

Most likely, nothing. Sure, you could try to set off some Day After Tomorrow-type events that could potentially slow Earth’s motion by an additional millisecond or two, but it’s unlikely your efforts would give you all the time needed to finish up that mile-long to-do list. In addition, and not to burst your company’s 200 million-year growth plans, but the year will also be shorter. So while you’ll have more time in a day, you’ll have fewer days in the year to meet whatever sales goals you’re hoping to achieve. Here’s how that works: Two-hundred million years ago, years were about 385 days long. Now, they’re 365. In another 200 million years, they’ll be 335 days long. Assuming people still age at the same rate they do today, the U.S. will have to up the drinking age to 22. Hovercar rentals won’t be available to anyone under age 26. And the average person will live to be 66 ... unless we’re all living to be 200, thanks to cryogenics. Keep that in mind as you build your projections, and don’t forget to make the most of your extra time. That’s two-thousandths of a second back in your day!

However many seconds are in a day or days are in a year, you can be sure TSheets has your back. Enjoy accurate down-to-the-second employee time tracking with Earth’s top-rated time tracking app.

A little about Joseph Patterson

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