Best place to time travel?

Say you are going back in time on a machine that will remain on the same Earth spot where it started (which cannot be on a flying apparatus).

What places have the better chance of being continually empty and at the same altitude for the longest continuous period of time back in history?

I know there will always be the off chance of some person or animal passing by, but let us exclude that concern.

The Marianas Trench. There wasn’t anything big living there when we went.

I am no rocket scientist but I am pretty sure no place on Earth is ever in the same place twice? Isn’t our solar system orbiting around something?

I think Sapo was trying to address that by stipulating that the time machine remains on the Earth at the same place where it started; i.e., through whatever means, it remains stationary with respect to the earth.

We had a thread about that problem recently. Bottom line, it’s a tricky issue – not least because it’s impossible to say such things as “same place twice” without respect to a particular frame of reference, the choice of which is pretty arbitrary – and depends in great part on exactly how your time machine “works,” so hand-waving that away for the purpose of this particular question seems like a sensible choice. :smiley:

OK, I see what you’re saying. But a stipulation like that renders the whole thing moot, no?? If we can avoid the laws of physics twice then why not just throw the whole thing out the door and do whatever the hell we want?

How is it tricky? (eta: I mean to the instant question-- I have no doubt impossible concepts like time travel will cause more questions to be asked than answered) Since he’s talking about traveling through time, isn’t time going to be our reference point? I guess it just seems too obvious to me and I’m missing something.

Hell, there are so many ways we’re moving, with our own rotation, Earth orbiting the sun, our solar system orbiting in the Milky Way, the Milky Way orbiting around some other thing (is it??), isn’t the OP just an impossible question to factually answer?

And to answer the OP, quite literally, is it safe to say any spot in the atmosphere greater than 30,000 feet has been devoid of anything but air, moisture, and perhaps a bird or two, for a good long time?

I think that the question the OP is getting at is:

What is the most (above sea level) geologically stable point on earth - ie, the point with the least tectonic movement (latitude/longitude) or change in elevation?

To answer that, you will need to look at maps showing continental drift to find the continent with the least amount of drift, and then analyse assumed altitude. I am not a paleogeologist, so I got nothing.


This. Let’s not get hung up on the physics of it. Mark a spot with latitude and longitude and disregard continental drift, celestial mechanics, etc. except changes in ground altitude.

Actually, I was thinking more in a historical timescale than a geologic timescale.

I am guessing that, say the Champs-Élysées, has been empty for most of recorded history, if not long before that until probably the last ice age when it was under ice. Busy place for some of that time, though, so not as good.

Roman catacombs could give you some 2000+ years of empty space. Before that, it is solid rock.

Like that. I would prefer urban spaces (to save on subsequent travel) over desolate wilderness.

Actually, glacial rebound (as well as the earlier glaciers themselves) make that a really poor choice.

Parts of Australia have some really old surface formations. In some places there has been erosion. In others deposits of said erosions. So somewhere in between must be some places where the effects sort of cancel out. (Short term periods of light deposits that then get worn away, replaced, etc.)

I’d definitely look for bare rock or salt flats, somewhere without any vegetation. Believe me, when you’re travelling at some 100000 years per hour, the last thing you want is a fir tree popping up under your ass.

How’s this: Jenolan caves, 340 million years, oldest known open cave system. 175 kilometres west of Sydney though. Watch out for Morlocks.

Are we restricted to land? Because you could probably find some spot of open ocean that beats any land site you can think of.

The Barberton Mountain Land in South Africa has very well preserved rock formations that are 3.6 billion years old.

It’s a hijack from the OP, and thus we shouldn’t spend too much time on it, but the problem is this: what does it mean to stay in the same place? There’s no meaningful absolute conception of being at rest; there’s only relative notions. Person A and Person B can note that they’re getting further apart from each other over time, but they could never tell which, if either of them, is staying still (Person A: “I’m staying still and you’re moving away from me at 50 MPH”, Person B: “No, I’m staying still and you’re moving from me at 50 MPH”, Person C: “No, you’re both moving at 25 MPH in opposite directions”, etc.).

Since there’s no meaningful absolute conception of what it means to stay in the same place, it’s tricky to say “Well, staying in the same place will clearly cause you to be dumped into outer space”.

There are two ways of looking at “fixed” spots on the Earth. The first is identifying a lattitude and longitude and then see how that does relative to continental drift. The other way is to identify a place on Earth (say London) and keep your time travel ship affixed to that place regardless of where it moves with drift.

These are really only big differences if you are talking about geological time. If, however, you limit yourself to historical time, I might suggest putting some pontoons on this ship and having it land in the middle of the Thames or the Seine. If we do not have to worry about people or animals wandering by, why should a ship/boat matter?

Another possibility might be someplace like the New Forest, or the middle of the Coliseum (if you are not going back to any date preceding its construction).

Let us know how the trip turns out. If we do not hear from you, I will assume the choice of landing spot was a bad one.

That’s a good idea. An oceanic time machine sounds like a genius plan.

Yes, but then, how are you identifying latitude and longitude? Did Africa drift away from South America, or did South America drift away from Africa?

A time machine is also necessarily a starship. Do it from orbit.

Ooooo, Morlocks!

Even beter, suspend the time macine in the air with helium/hot air balloons.

Avoiding to drift through space is easy! Just embed a hyper-tachyon marker in the molecular matrix of the ground. Its four-dimensional chemistry will firmly anchor it relative to the Earth, while the reaction extends into earlier and later through time. Then you simply start moving at a right angle from your current position in spacetime. Set the autopilot to follow the tachyon guide, you can’t miss it. Oh, and always remember to reverse the polarity! Something like that.

You forgot to put any mention of Dilithium crystals in there.