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Suppose one fine day several gods and goddesses whom rules over light (apply to all electromagnetic spectrum) such as Hyperion and Apollo decided to ride Zhu Long, a chinese divine dragon whom also governs light all go on strike. My question is can we in the present day still be able to fly or ferry across seas and oceans? If so how can we proceed safely without begging for mercy? In this scenario assume the strike went on for about a week so that the air composition isn't lethal for us, assume all planes and ships either are about to leave ports or already on course when all photons ceased to exist. GPS satellites are still orbiting obediently around Earth but let's forget them they are just demoted to space junks and stars still going through nuclear fusion but don't produce photons any more.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm still expecting optimistic answer anyone or as Bookeater suggested let's pray or it is already too late! $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jun 19 '15 at 5:58
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Everything would die instantly and the Earth would collapse into some sort of degenerate matter because photons are the force carriers for the electromagnetic force (granted, with virtual particles for static EM fields, but in "real life" no fields are static). This is the force which chemistry relies and which, for the most part, prevents the Earth from collapsing under its own gravity.

I would recommend changing this to some sort of sheath in the upper atmosphere, say just below GPS satellite orbital altitude which blocks all external photons. In this case you could still navigate with dead reckoning using precise gyroscopes like ring laser gyros or the LORAN system.

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(apply to all electromagnetic spectrum)

Ouch. No computers, no warmth from the sun, no GPS.... heck even a compass wouldn't work!

I hope the electrons we use in our nervous system are excepted.

I'm going to say no, it's not possible for any plane/ship to cross a sea or ocean with a sudden loss of the electromagnetic spectrum. Especially not safely - visual checks are very common on transport vehicles and these could not be replaced suddenly [though they can be ignored].

If we had time to prepare it might be more possible. Sound and touch can be used to communicate information, engines can be built without electricity, and inertial guidance systems could be developed to assist navigation. Think Steampunk or Submarine for inspiration.

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Other answers already explain why the full statement of your question would lead to dire results. Probably planes and ships wouln't even start due to their on-board electronics.

Hypothesis

I would add a point by taking what I think you meant, namely that we all suddently go blind, but that the rest still work ok. Well, except for GPS (which you specifically mention).

Discussion

I'm pretty sure most of the trips would be cancelled. Not only is that more imprecise, but people cannot really drive to the airports or ports to start with.

Now for the on-going flights and ship fares. Well it would be pretty tough. Nevertheless, the planes are equiped with a lot of sensors which build the autopilot. And the best autopilots systems can even land a plane on their own. Radio-communication with the bases could allow to organise the landings. Problems are more what do do afterward. I don't know to which extend the planes can be radio-directed on the lanes. With a not-so-good autopilot, it might be interesting to try to water-land close to the shore.

Ships are also equiped with quite some electronics. They also have sonars (if they are still allowed to work), and can try to get close to the shores. But it might be interesting to stop, provided there are no storm just where they are.

But even then, skilled pilots can dock a ship, land a plane without seeing outside, relying on the on-board sensors. But I don't know if those sensors could be "read" without seeing. Similar problems for air traffic controllers: can they operate blind-folded?

Conclusion

Most of the people would just stop where they are (home, work, etc.). Planes and ships would stay on the ground or docked. For the ones already travelling, ships would stopped if possible (no storm), or try to get close to the shore. Some planes could land. But I presume that a lot of crashes could happen as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ They don't have sonar (sound) but some might have lidar (laser radar). $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Jun 19 '15 at 12:54
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Armageddon!

With no solar energy going into the atmosphere suddenly I envision a rapid decline in temperature and the collapse of weather systems worldwide.

With this it will be hard to survive, and without means of orientation but for the compass (oops scratch that as well) it will be impossible to travel. Indeed it will be better to pray.

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People would essentially be blind. While a pilot could use the controls from memory he wouldn't probably memorize his route. And pilot's need data from ground control towers. Because all the electro magnetic radiation doesn't work , there will be basically no communication in earth beyond sound. And I think if that were to happen planes would crash down.

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