Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Earth's Rotation
Name: Jordan
Status: student
Age: 9
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 - 2000

How does Earth maintain its speed of rotation? Why don't it slow down?

This was our 4th grade question of the week. I think it has to do with "relativity" or it will stay in motion until something acts against it.

The earth is actually slowly slowing down every year and due to this the Earth day is getting longer. However the amount is very small and was found when the solar year was compared to the atomic clocks that we have developed.


You're right; it will maintain the same motion until something acts against it. No need to drag relativity into the problem.

We could slow it down, you know. If everybody on Earth would run Eastward, the Earth would slow down just the slightest bit. Of course it would speed back up again as we stopped walking.

Tim Mooney

Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory