I have learnt that if we are travelling in space we have no way to tell if we are moving towards something or if it is the something that is moving towards us; to either object they judge that they are still and the thing is just coming at them.
Did I learn it wrong, or is this really how physics go?
If it is, how is it that we cannot just ‘probe’ ourselves to promptly find out our ‘absolute motion’?
For example if we have a known amount of fuel that can be burnt to go from zero to one length per time, or ‘increase our kinetic energy by one’, and we see a planet ahead that from our frame of reference seems to be moving towards us at ‘one length per time’ as we are still; and for good measure let us also suppose we have another mass identical to us near us that is also still in relation to us. Then as we burn that fuel the planet should change from one to two lengths per time while the other mass formerly in our still frame should become negative one length by going backwards in relation to us. But would not that only happen if we were truly still? By doing so we would know that we cannot now possible be ‘still’ and further that the fuel spent cannot possible correspond to that acceleration of the planet that is an increase in kinetic energy many orders above that fuel energy; we know that it is us who accelerated from zero to one, that the planet indeed has that one length per time towards us and that the mass left behind is truly still because we can attribute it only to ourselves – if the planet seems to accelerate by merely around zero dot forty two and the companion go backwards with that same magnitude then we know that the planet was still all along and that both masses were moving towards the still planet at one length per time, and that now we are moving at the velocity of the root of two as that is the only valid conclusion that matches our observation of the total kinetic energy after that perturbation with us having now two total kinetic energy as one unit was added to our motion so that the proportion of the change in velocity by burning some fuel to the total kinetic energy of the system tell us the magnitude of the motion of every body in it as one giant coherent frame no matter from which point it is so analysed giving a single ‘true’ result without the need to ‘translate’ every ‘possible frame’, which are actually impossible and wrong interpretations since they disagree on the total kinetic energy of the system, to any other.
Where does this thought experiment fail?
And if it does not fail then is it not impossible to hold any ‘still frame’ as ‘valid’ and that since we can probe for the exact relation of the magnitude of motion of every body then would we not also be aware of our motion and thus measure light in relation to us as any other moving body of non-constant speed, merely as much faster or slower as the sum of ours velocity and its?
Thanks for your time in reading through all of that; and for simplicity you can answer just where exactly the thought experiment falls apart.