What’s that? Singapore’s latest orb-shaped nightclub perhaps?
I’m afraid not. It’s an entity comprising all of the man-made objects on the Earth, including everything from houses and factories to smartphones and CDs. The concept was originally conceived by US researcher Peter Haff.
So how big is it?
Well, according to a new study carried out at the University of Leicester, the technosphere now weighs 30 trillion tonnes. That’s 50kg for every 1m2 of Earth’s surface.
Wow. Tell me more…
The concept is based around the idea of the Anthropocene – the current geological age, viewed as the period in which human activity has been the dominant force on the climate and environment – and provides a measure of how much humans have changed the Earth.
So it’s here to stay, then?
Yep. The team says items such as ballpoint pens or USB sticks could become preserved in layers of the Earth as ‘technofossils’, to be found in the distant future by geologists and used to help characterise and date the Anthropocene era.