HomeArticlesWHAT IF THE EARTH STOPPED SPINNING? – Space Science
WHAT IF THE EARTH STOPPED SPINNING? – Space Science
December 10, 2019
An everyday phenomena that people rarely notice
is that the Earth is spinning. The earth spins because during the formation of the solar
system particles were attracted by gravity but were rarely traveling in exactly opposite
directions and speed. Conservation of momentum caused particles to bounce around each other,
ultimately causing planets to form. Inertia is what now keeps the earth spinning.
Now that we know why the earth spins, the question is why can’t we feel it? Relativity.
Velocity is relative, meaning the reference point in space is arbitrary and the motion
of objects are perceived differently from different perspectives. Essentially, when
velocity is constant, acceleration is zero and therefore you can’t feel it. Velocity
if the change in position divided by time. Acceleration is the change in velocity over
time. Acceleration is felt because if you remember Force=Mass * Acceleration. When
Acceleration equals zero, so does force. Earth spins at a constant rate around its
axis and as it spins, gravity holds on to the atmosphere and inhabitants and since everyone
was born with the same inertia as the earth, we all continue to spin along with it. It’s
just like an airplane, when all the windows are shut, besides the vibrations and sound,
there is no noticeable movement. This is the exact same thing.
Now, why would people go flying if the earth suddenly stopped? Everything would continue
to travel at approximately 463 meters per second. if you were on top of mount everest
at the moment the earth stopped you would continue traveling 463 meters per second horizontally
for about 42 seconds before you had fallen the full 8848 meters vertically down to earth.
In that time you would have traveled about 28 kilometers east, landing at a speed of
about 14,000 mph . This doesn’t take into account air resistance which would be far
too complicated to predict but since terminal velocity of a human is about 56 meters per
second, it would take about 2.5 minutes to fall with an unknown horizontal distance.
This air resistance would be so massive, you’d likely be torn limb from limb.
Something not taken into account is the time it takes for the earth to fully stop. Instant
isn’t really possible for something like this. The faster it stops though, the more
force that’s incurred on you. Since the body can safely survive from 9 G forces or
a change in acceleration of about 88 meters per second squared there is technically a
slowdown rate that humans could survive. Basically anything more than a 5.5 seconds for the earth
to stop would be perfectly survivable for a lot of people. Anything less than 2 seconds
would effectively splatter you across your support wall. Thought buildings, trees, cars,
and really any free object would be traveling about the speed of a bullet and not stopping
until something makes them. Another issue is that the atmosphere would also maintain
momentum causing a wall of air tearing up the surface and all of it’s inhabitants
and structures. Anyways guys, that’s generally what you
have to look out for if the world stopped. Be sure to leave a comment right below the
like button and pick up a shirt from the link in the description. Anyways guys… thanks