WHAT IF THE EARTH WAS MADE OF BLUE­BER­RIES?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q&A -

1. COM­PLETE COL­LAPSE

This ques­tion was ac­tu­ally ad­dressed in a pa­per ear­lier this year by Dr An­ders Sand­berg at Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity’s Fu­ture of Hu­man­ity In­sti­tute. If the Earth were in­stantly re­placed with an equiv­a­lent vol­ume of closely packed blue­ber­ries, they would im­me­di­ately be­gin to col­lapse un­der their own grav­ity. The outer 715km of the planet would plum­met in­wards towards the core.

2. JUICE AND JAM

The col­laps­ing berries would pulp them­selves into juice and then boil into jam from the heat caused by fric­tion and com­pres­sive heat­ing as the planet im­plodes. Berry-quakes and jam-vol­ca­noes would rage across the sur­face. The in­ner core would be a smoothie, com­pressed into a solid ball, with a tem­per­a­ture of sev­eral thou­sand de­grees Cel­sius. The re­duced size of the planet would cause it to ro­tate every 19 hours.

3. NO MOON!

Berries are less dense than rock, so the Earth would have less mass. This wouldn’t leave it with enough grav­ity to hold on to the Moon, which would fly off into space. The air squeezed out from the spa­ces be­tween the berries as the planet col­lapses amounts to more than 200 times the vol­ume of Earth’s at­mos­phere. The lower grav­ity means the at­mos­phere ex­tends out six times fur­ther, caus­ing satel­lites to re-en­ter and burn up.

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