Would it be possible for a single motorcycle to harm a world so much that it would cause significant change?


  • Unlimited Amount Of Time
  • The Planet Is Not Earth (No other cars, factory or any other kind of pollution inducing thing)

Reason: In One of my stories the MC plan's on giving a primordial dragon an old school cruiser bike to ride. The planet doesn't have any unnatural pollution, so that's really why i was wondering.

  • $\begingroup$ How would you get fuel for the thing? $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Jun 1 '17 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ The MC is omnipotent and will create the cruiser along with the needed fuel. $\endgroup$ – Deuxz Jun 1 '17 at 2:02
  • $\begingroup$ The trick here is to compare a motorcycle for a thousand years with a volcano for 10 mins. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 1 '17 at 7:10
  • $\begingroup$ With unlimited amount of time you can cause unlimited amount of harm - if there is enough fuel. I hope you are talking about fuel here, right? Or just a bike lying around on the ground being evil or something? $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 1 '17 at 8:18

It depends

On the one hand, Yes, provided said planet had no organisms (trees, bacteria, etc.) to absorb the pollutants being produced. It would take a hell of a long time, but it's possible. But it wouldn't matter - the planet wouldn't be able to support life prior to having the motorcycle start up.

On the other hand, No. Most worlds where life can survive would have sufficient numbers of microorganisms, plants, etc., that the pollution from even a permanently running motorcycle would be absorbed & recycled faster than it could be produced.

The reason out Earth is polluted is because we produce the stuff too quickly for natural organisms to deal with it.

Even a cruiser big enough for a dragon wouldn't produce enough to be a problem.

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    $\begingroup$ If the world doesn't have any organisms, does it even count as pollution? Its not like anything is getting harmed. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Jun 1 '17 at 3:53
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion - with infinity time, it would eventually burn through all oxygen in the atmosphere (without which the motorcycle could not run), which would count as significant change. True, nothing would get harmed by this, but it's still pollution by way of unnaturally altering the state of a planet. $\endgroup$ – Tim Jun 1 '17 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks man, good to know the MC doesn't have to deal with a dying planet due to him giving a gigantic dragon a gigantic motorcycle. $\endgroup$ – Deuxz Jun 1 '17 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Tim With time, oxygen would oxydize everything that can be oxydized (and that's pretty much about every chemical compound in the universe). That's why presence of oxygen is considered a proof of life in a planet: without a process actively producing oxygen it tends to disappear quickly from the atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Jun 1 '17 at 8:10

When the first autos where sold, there was no concern about the pollution they could cause, as "their exhaust will dilute in the air quickly, with no visible effect".

A single motorcycle does no much more arm than a bunch of cows, exhaling CO2 from it nose and CH4 from its back.

So, no, a single motorcycle cannot really pollute an entire planet.

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