Destroying the Earth

Don’t worry, the Earth isn’t going anywhere. But there are a few things you can learn from trying to destroy the Earth. First of all you need to know the Earth’s radius, which varies, depending on how you measure it, but never by more than about 45 km. This deviation is considerable (.7%), but let’s use the mean radius of 6,371km Actually, if the Earth were the size of a pool ball (aka billiard ball), the Earth would be smoother. You also need to know the Earth’s mass. That’s easier, but 18-36 METRIC TONS of material are added to the Earth EVERY DAY. But on the scale we’re dealing with, 20-40 tons is negligible. That’s because the Earth weighs around 6*10^21 metric tons. Now, using the gravitational binding energy formula (U=3Gm^2/5r, m is mass, r is radius, U is the gravitational binding energy, or energy needed to destroy the Earth, and G is the universal gravitational constant), we can figure out the minimum amount of energy needed to destroy the Earth. After running the numbers through the Wolfram|Alpha program, we get a value of about 2*10^32 joules. To put that in perspective, the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated was the Tsar Bomba, with a yield of about 2*10^17 joules. You would need to give one MILLION Tsar Bombas to EVERY person on the planet (given that there are around 7 billion people alive right now) in order to generate enough energy to destroy the planet. Have fun with that.

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