What would happen if a small object travelling at light speed hit Earth?

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  • smoothpete 27 Nov 2012 09:22:34 32,281 posts
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    Let's say a lump of steel the size of a football travelling at light speed hit earth, or entered earth's atmosphere. Would it completely obliterate the planet? Or blow right through it like it wasn't there?

    Does the fact that it is travelling at light speed mean that it is infinitely heavy? Or am I misunderstanding my relativities? If it is infinitely heavy, would it create some kind of singularity thereby destroying the earth with its mass?
  • Cadence 27 Nov 2012 09:24:26 1,763 posts
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    Wouldn't it need an infinite amount of energy to reach lightspeed in the first place?
  • nickthegun 27 Nov 2012 09:25:27 64,243 posts
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    It would pass through the planet.
  • smoothpete 27 Nov 2012 09:26:32 32,281 posts
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    Cadence wrote:
    Wouldn't it need an infinite amount of energy to reach lightspeed in the first place?
    Let's say Deckard threw it from the moon
  • Nasty 27 Nov 2012 09:26:52 4,759 posts
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    Boink
  • RyanDS 27 Nov 2012 09:27:21 10,663 posts
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    Cadence wrote:
    Wouldn't it need an infinite amount of energy to reach lightspeed in the first place?
    This.

    It could never reach lightspeed.

    At a reasonable percentage of lightspeed though we turn to wiki:

    A 1 kg mass traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have a kinetic energy of 5.471017 joules. In explosive terms, it would be equal to 132 megatons of TNT or approximately 32 megatons more than the theoretical max yield of the tsar bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. 1 kg of mass-energy is 8.991016 joules or about 21.5 megatons of TNT.
  • RunningMan 27 Nov 2012 09:27:44 2,534 posts
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    It would require infinite energy to be travelling at the speed of light.
  • sirtacos 27 Nov 2012 09:27:53 7,473 posts
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    Quick google

    10m2 asteroid x speed of light -- Earth = force released equivalent to a supernova

    It's yahoo answers but it seems legit, so extend that logic to a dense football-sized object and we'd still all be fucked.

    This is coming from a humanities student though, so take my response with a pinch of I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about.

    Edited by sirtacos at 09:30:35 27-11-2012
  • nickthegun 27 Nov 2012 09:29:10 64,243 posts
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    Wheres that CERN guy? Hes our Brian Cox.
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 27 Nov 2012 09:29:15 42,358 posts
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    Nah, the closer something is to travelling at light speed, the closer it is to actually being light. That's why we think it's impossible to travel at light speed, because to move at the speed of light an object would need to have the mass of light.

    /could be getting this wrong.
  • Blerk Moderator 27 Nov 2012 09:29:49 48,224 posts
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    Bruce Willis would save us before it got here.
  • smoothpete 27 Nov 2012 09:30:49 32,281 posts
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    For fucks sake people! THEORETICALLY let's use our IMAGINATIONS to HYPOTHESIZE that a steel object the size of a football hit earth at light speed.
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 27 Nov 2012 09:31:40 42,358 posts
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    Why E=MCsquared is incomplete and why it's not possible to travel at the speed of light.

  • sirtacos 27 Nov 2012 09:32:08 7,473 posts
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    Marshmallow would also fuck us up.
  • mrpon 27 Nov 2012 09:34:18 30,578 posts
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    1p dropped off the Empire State can kill, apparently.
  • nickthegun 27 Nov 2012 09:34:33 64,243 posts
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    If a steel object passed by a treadmill at lightspeed, would every plane in the universe take off?
  • smoothpete 27 Nov 2012 09:35:15 32,281 posts
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    mrpon wrote:
    1p dropped off the Empire State can kill, apparently.
    Didn't Mythbusters bust the shit out of that?


    Ok steel ball weighing 50 kilos, 99.9% of light speed. Someone do some maths.

    Edited by smoothpete at 09:35:49 27-11-2012
  • Whizzo 27 Nov 2012 09:35:29 43,949 posts
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    smoothpete wrote:
    For fucks sake people! THEORETICALLY let's use our IMAGINATIONS to HYPOTHESIZE that a steel object the size of a football hit earth at light speed.
    It'd turn the Earth into a giant cake with pink frosting saying "this couldn't happen."
  • mrpon 27 Nov 2012 09:36:35 30,578 posts
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    smoothpete wrote:
    mrpon wrote:
    1p dropped off the Empire State can kill, apparently.
    Didn't Mythbusters bust the shit out of that?
    Yes, it's horseshit.

    ED: Dropped from the Empire State.

    Edited by mrpon at 09:37:09 27-11-2012
  • sport 27 Nov 2012 09:37:09 13,065 posts
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    Who would we have in goals?
  • sirtacos 27 Nov 2012 09:37:15 7,473 posts
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    What if this all takes place inside a zorb?

  • Murbs 27 Nov 2012 09:38:18 22,975 posts
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    Deckard1 wrote:
    I can throw a turd in a sock around 4 miles an hour.
  • grey_matters 27 Nov 2012 09:39:15 3,931 posts
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    RyanDS wrote:
    Cadence wrote:
    Wouldn't it need an infinite amount of energy to reach lightspeed in the first place?
    This.

    It could never reach lightspeed.

    At a reasonable percentage of lightspeed though we turn to wiki:

    A 1 kg mass traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have a kinetic energy of 5.471017 joules. In explosive terms, it would be equal to 132 megatons of TNT or approximately 32 megatons more than the theoretical max yield of the tsar bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. 1 kg of mass-energy is 8.991016 joules or about 21.5 megatons of TNT.
    And a football made of steel would weigh over 100kg so more than 100 of the biggest nuclear bombs ever made going off in the same place.
  • MMMarmite 27 Nov 2012 09:39:20 1,220 posts
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    mrpon wrote:
    1p dropped off the Empire State can kill, apparently.
    Mythbusters busted that, apparently the only way it would kill is if you were looking up and it hit you in the eye

    Tuesday morning slowness :(

    Edited by MMMarmite at 09:40:16 27-11-2012
  • hypernova 27 Nov 2012 09:40:36 1,967 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    As this has not happened we can conclude that nowhere in the universe is there anything with mass travelling at light speed.
    Hmm, I always thought photons had mass (so you could weigh a light beam for example). Google proves me wrong. I blame Equinox and Horizon.
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