BBC Earth (Asia) - - Update -

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.

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