What happens when a needle hits the Earth at the speed of light?

With classical physics, you would expect nothing to happen.

The mass of an average needle is around 1 gram, or around 0.001 kg.

The mass of our planet is an immense 5.9 x 10^24 kg.

The needle is moving at the speed of light, or around 300,000,000 m/s.

The Earth is moving at a much lower speed, 30,000 m/s.

And if you use conservation of momentum, you will find that there is literally no reaction between the two. Although the needle is moving at such a high speed, the mass of the Earth is so comparatively immense.


ADVERTISEMENT


However, with relativity, as an object approaches the speed of light, its momentum approaches infinity.

Because of this, it doesn’t matter what the mass or velocity of the object the particle at the speed of light is striking, since it has infinite momentum, the collision will result in a massive loss of kinetic energy.

And such a wave of kinetic energy, combined with the impact of the collision, will probably destroy our planet and all life on it.

So let’s hope that a harmless needle doesn’t suddenly get a grudge against our planet and decide to attack it.


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Can you imagine a single needle to be so dangerous?

#Science #Quora

ADVERTISEMENT

What are your thoughts on this subject?
41 Comments
Allison Aspden
Seems an impossible event.
0
Nov 3, 2023 1:24AM
Krishna Chandra Singh Sanger
It is impossible for a common sewing needle to travel at the speed of light although it may strive towards reaching it.
1
Nov 21, 2022 9:25AM
Julie Domaille
I'm no scientist but if meteors can hit us causing massive craters, how can a needle do so much damage?
0
Apr 25, 2022 5:37AM
Scott
Interesting, I would've thought that there would be no disturbance to the Earth.
1
Mar 30, 2022 11:27PM
Clive Reed
As the needle entered the atmosphere it would burn up, but in doing so the Kinetic energy released in the process would be what would destroy the planet. Think of it like a Tsunami, a ball of energy that would become big enough to envelope the whole planet.
2
Mar 13, 2022 6:57PM
Clive Reed
Axel Brosi, Yes, as the needle entered the atmosphere it would burn up, but in doing so the Kinetic energy released in the process would be what would destroy the planet. Think of it like a Tsunami, a ball of energy that would become big enough to envelope the whole planet.
0
Mar 13, 2022 6:41PM
landdhill
Chas Kirtz, It would, if the meteorite struck the earth at the speed of light (which is actually 286,000 miles per second). Fortunately, meteors do not travel that fast or anything even remotely approaching it. That is why most of them burn to a crisp in the atmosphere.
0
Mar 7, 2022 5:10PM
David Fitch
So the needle wouldn’t burn up as it entered our atmosphere?
2
Jan 1, 2022 6:01PM
Jeff Hughes
sekrob, no mass
0
Dec 14, 2021 7:51PM
Jeff Hughes
Axel Brosi, it would not be in the atmosphere long enough. Also, even with such great mass, it would probably just pass through the earth in a few nanoseconds.
0
Dec 14, 2021 7:51PM
Jeff Hughes
Richard Rubright, it would also be infinite.
0
Dec 14, 2021 7:49PM
mailgenie
Chas Kirtz, Speed of light?
1
Oct 28, 2021 4:53PM
Elsy O. Stromberg
I'll go with classical physics.
1
Oct 28, 2021 2:06PM
vasily tchaikovsky
for crazy imaginations for genious Albert smile
0
Aug 1, 2021 6:33PM
Shelley Durocher
Richard Rubright, Superman gone rogue! 😁
1
Jul 28, 2021 9:33AM

ADVERTISEMENT

People also liked

Interesting Facts

7 amazing facts about regular household objects 6/21/2021

Our appliances and furniture may seem like not the most interesting things in our life, but once you read these 7 cool facts you'll change your opinion about some of them.

Read more

#Science #History #Society

Surprising facts about the human heart 6/9/2021

Before humans knew anything about biology we knew the heart was essential to the human experience. Here are six facts about this amazing organ.

Read more

#Science #health

You never knew these 8 facts were actually true! 8/7/2021

Get ready for a set of big surprises, as you definitely never expected these 8 facts to be true...

Read more

#Science #Society #Nature

7 amazing facts EVERYBODY should know! 7/22/2021

Keep reading to learn the least expected facts about a volcano that erupts blue lava, koalas and grasshoppers.

Read more

#Science #Nature

ADVERTISEMENT