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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.

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

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
31 Comments
Joyce Bigham
amazing we as humans can a view drop a needle a could destroy us all and the out blanket for love for man kind come as little as a sewing needle if we survive the speed of light yet to make a square we all should be prayed up if GOD COME FOR US HE S OUR ONLY HOPE.
0
May 12, 2021 2:57AM
Richard Rubright
What force would accelerate the needle to the speed of light as it approaches infinite mass?
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Mar 15, 2021 6:26PM
Vikram Mangaldas Ahiwale
its a good example to understand i.e e=mc^2 which explains that kinetic energy affects its course on the object with speed taken into account. So just imagine an asteroid or a meteorite hitting planet earth.
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Dec 5, 2020 3:12AM
Robert McKenzie
Because a meteorite doesn’t achieve anywhere near the speed of light.Chas Kirtz,
0
Nov 15, 2020 4:56PM
Olaf Krause
This is a very nice example applying the theory of realtivity! In contrast to a photon, the needle has a mass greater than zero. So let's hope, it never hit the earth at the speed of light.
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Oct 6, 2020 4:44PM
Claude E Lett III
Chas Kirtz, meteorites do not travel at the speed of light. If they did, the same result of the needle would occur.
2
Sep 16, 2020 9:32PM
Chas Kirtz
If this is true, why wouldn’t a meteorite striking the earth do the same thing ?
0
Sep 4, 2020 6:08PM
Axel Brosi
needle would burn up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere
1
Aug 7, 2020 7:23AM
sekrob
Light hits the earth at the speed of light and light can behave both as particle (photons) and wave, then?
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Jul 10, 2020 3:22PM
Richard Perkins
The needle would burn up when it hit Earth's atmosphere.
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Jul 6, 2020 10:21AM
damon l clements
HOW DOES AN OBJECT DE-CELLERATE FROM LIGHT SPEED ? DOES IT’S MASS CHANGE TO ENERGY ? WHAT ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FALCON OR STARSHIP ENTERPRISE ,SLOWING TO A STOP, BEFORE REACHING A PLANET, OR AVOIDING AN IMPACT AT ANY SPACE DEBRIS? A NEEDLE MUST HAVE A VERY SMALL MASS, WHY SO MUCH ENERGY ?
0
Jul 5, 2020 7:08PM
Jo Farrell
Having read the article and some of the comments, I think it would make a great story line for a film. 😄
2
May 23, 2020 4:39PM
Wyla Reedy
I have a little trouble believing this. How could you get a needle to go that fast? How big would it have to be? What would it be made of? Etc.
1
May 6, 2020 2:56PM
Prakash George
The Theory of Relativity put forth by Einstein's equation of mass-energy equivalence says that mass and energy are inter-convertible. It is postulated that any mass attaining the speed of light is converted to energy. A 'needle mass' converted to energy need not cause any such damage.
0
May 5, 2020 4:07PM
melodyzsong
arnoldburke, Who said it was outside the atmosphere?
1
May 1, 2020 7:37AM

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