What If Earth Turned into a Giant Pile of Blueberries?

What If Earth Turned into a Giant Pile of Blueberries?

If our planet all of the sudden turned into an Earth-size pile of blueberries, issues would begin exploding. This is science.

Specifically, it’s the conclusion of a juicy paper submitted to the preprint server arXiv on July 27. (Papers on arXiv haven’t but handed by means of the peer-review course of or been printed in journals.) The writer, Anders Sandberg, a computational neuroscientist with a broad research portfolio on the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, addresses the issue—originally posed on the web site Stack Exchange—in thorough, blueberry-bursting vogue.

Sandberg’s paper goals to reply the query, “What if the entire Earth was instantaneously replaced with an equal volume of closely packed, but uncompressed blueberries?” In doing so, Sandberg makes a key assumption: The Earth turns into “big, thick-skinned highbush blueberries” and never “wild, thin-skinned blueberries.”

That seems to be a huge deal: The greater, thick-skinned blueberries would have a lot more room between them when Earth spontaneously reworked into the evenly spaced blueberry pile. And, in Sandberg’s mannequin, that house could be full of air—air that might begin doing a little very fascinating issues in a short time. [What If Earth Was 50% Bigger?]

“To a particular person standing on the floor of the Earth when it turns into blueberries, the primary impact could be a drastic reduction of gravity,” Sandberg wrote.

Perched on a mushy floor of free-rolling blueberries, you may discover a sensation in your intestine like an elevator dropping as your weight dropped by 87 p.c, Sandberg wrote. If you weigh 150 lbs. (68 kilograms) on regular Earth, you’d weigh about 20 lbs. (9 kg) on the far-less-dense blueberry planet, Sandberg stated within the paper.

That smooth, messy, low-gravity blueberry floor is likely to be a enjoyable place to hang around if it lasted. But, Sandberg stated, issues would begin to change—quick.

All that air trapped between the blueberries would rush to the floor because the blueberry pile began to break down into itself below its personal gravitational stress. Huge bubbles would burst from the floor, flinging matter into space whilst the inside of the planet coalesced into a thick blueberry jam.

The impact of the geysers of bubbles mixed with the collapsing planetary core could be “the worst earthquake ever,” Sandberg wrote. “And it keeps on going until everything has fallen [towards the center of the planet] 715 km [444 miles]. While this is going on, everything heats up drastically [by about 143 degrees along the Celsius scale or 258 degrees along the Fahrenheit scale, thanks to the gravitational energy release] until the entire environment is boiling jam and steam. The result is a world that has a steam atmosphere covering an ocean of jam on top of warm blueberry granita.” [What If? 22 Crazy Hypothetical Questions (and their Answers)]

That “granita” could be a scorching core of blueberry ice, compressed into a stable by the intense stress on the planet’s middle.

The sky, Sandberg wrote, would still be bluish, with white water-vapor clouds. Any survivors may nonetheless be capable of spot a dramatic sight: the moon, all of the sudden launched from Earth’s gravitational leash, hurtling into house.

There are nonetheless a quantity of open questions but to discover about blueberry Earth, Sandberg wrote, many of which relate to its chemistry. All that scorching blueberry sugar may, below regular circumstances, ferment into alcohol, however there’s some probability that all those antioxidants would disrupt the method. [What If Earth Started Spinning Backward?]

Further, he wrote, “Will the moist and deep ambiance warmth up additional, or may cloud layer maintain the albedo [the level of reflectivity of incoming light] excessive sufficient to keep away from a runaway greenhouse effect? Will [solar radiation that can destroy water molecules dry out the planet]? Could extremophile micro organism survive and bootstrap an ecosystem?”

As for the worth of the paper itself, Sandberg concluded, “One might wonder if this kind of exploration is worthwhile. I believe it is: This is both a pedagogical and amusing way of applying standard planetary science modelling to a system. Given how exotic exoplanets have turned out, the physics of blueberry Earth is actually fairly normal compared to much that is out there.”

You can learn Sandberg’s paper, which is written in pretty accessible language, in full here.

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