Scrolling through my various newsfeeds today and this headline from InfoWars grabbed my attention:
At first I couldn’t help but wonder: Do they know something I don’t? Is a giant hand going to emerge from the depths of deep space to bring our planet’s rotation to a standstill? Or maybe the Chinese have some sort of anti-rotation ray gun?
Looking at the article itself, which InfroWars had picked up from Russian “news” outlet Sputnik, I found no corroboration for either of these theories. Sputnik was just doing a “thought experiment” to see what would go down if this impossible thing were to actually happen. Sort of like the movie The Core, one of the world’s dumbest action/disaster movies, in which a rag-tag group of scientists and NASA pilots and I forget who else had to use a nuclear warhead to get the earth’s core spinning again after it mysteriously stopped.
Let’s just set aside the fact that the earth CAN’T ACUALLY JUST STOP SPINNING and see what they have to say.
It takes the earth 23 hours and 56 minutes to complete its rotation, with our beautiful planet moving at about 1,100 mph, or 460 meters per second.
Well, at the Equator anyway. At either of the poles you just rotate slowly.
But what would happen if one day it suddenly stopped spinning? Spoiler alert: nothing good.
To visualise the unthinkable consequences of this scenario, which some scientists believe may occur in 18.5 billion years,
You are aware that the planet will be long gone before then, as our sun is expected to go “ker-blooey” in roughly 5.5 billion years?
… one has to sit in a car, get it up to 100 miles per hour and then crash it into another vehicle without wearing a seatbelt (don’t do this). You’ve probably seen this in action movies and news – the car stops the person in it continues to move or rather flies.
Oh my god can’t you guys even do a thought experiment properly? First off, the earth is never going to suddenly stop spinning, either this evening or in 18.5 billion years. Because that’s not how physics works. — and I say this as someone who took physicas in high school. Objects in motion in the vacuum of space remain in motion unless a giant hand pops out from some nearby galaxy to stop them. It’s called “conservation of the earth spinning around with no giant hand to stop it.” Or something like that.
Also, if you’re trying to see what would really happen, your imaginary car would have to be traveling at 1000 miles an hour, not 100.
This is exactly what would happen to every living being on Earth when it stops spinning. US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson predicted anything not bolted to the Earth would fly due east at 1,100 miles per hour. (The phrase “when pigs fly” would no longer be used as a figure of speech).
“When pigs fly” would no longer be a figure of speech because we’d all be too COMPLETELY DEAD to say anything.
But wait, there’s more!
According to a “thought experiment”, conducted by James Zimbelman, a senior geologist emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, the sudden stop would also affect our atmosphere, creating incredibly strong winds, which would be followed by massive tsunamis.
The sudden stop would also flatten out the bulge at the equator, which would cause oceans and seas to migrate to the poles, where gravity is the strongest.
Isn’t that gravity thing something that only would happen on a spinning planet? (Someone tell me I’m right; I’m reaching the end of what I learned from high school physics.)
Oh, who cares, this isn’t going to happen.
As a result, our planet would have two super oceans – one in the North and one in the South – with a giant continent in the middle.
No, this wouldn’t happen.
The full day would last an entire year with earthlings seeing Sun for six straight months and living another half of the year in darkness.
You forgot the fact that the side facing the sun would get so hot that our oceans would boil over. Meanwhile, the side away from the sun would be, well, let’s just say bone-freezingly chilly.
Magnetic field would deliver the coup de grace. It would slowly fade away and leave our planet without a protection against solar wind, deadly cosmic rays and radiation, which would kill all life on our planet.
I’m pretty sure most of the life on the planet would be long dead before anyone would need to worry about the solar wind.
The good news is: scientists doubt that such a scenario will happen, well, at least not in our lifetime …
Or in anyone else’s lifetime.
Here are some other spacey scenarios I think Sputnik and InfoWars should cover:
What if the sun was a giant baby like in TeleTubbies?
What if the moon could talk?
What if Mars and Venus just switched places for a week?
What if all the water on earth turned into delicious soup?
I’ve got a million of them.
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