Goodbye Oxygen, Hello.. mass destruction?

Don’t worry.. take a deep breath.. if you can.. All the Oxygen on this planet and in it’s atmosphere is about to disappear.. for 5 seconds. What would happen? Why is it mass destruction?A lot of people don’t really understand just how important Oxygen is to life. Yes, sure, we breathe it to survive and so does a lot (all?) of the life on our planet as well. Let’s say Kahn or Lex Luthor or <insert villain name here> set off a type of device that instantly removed all the Oxygen, but it was a poorly put together device and that Oxygen returned just as it was, 5 seconds later, just how bad could things really be? We’re going to assume that everyone is holding their breath so they’ll survive without the cumbersome worry of breathing..

First, if you’re outside, you’re about to get burned up pretty bad. Ozone, the stuff that surrounds our planet, is molecular oxygen – which means that it’s what is protecting us from the crazy amounts of ultraviolet light the Sun is throwing at us every second. We’re not talking about getting a bit of colour at the beach, we’re talking about getting first and second degree burns within seconds or less. Along with Ozone being our planets body armor, it also serves another very important, yet commonly overlooked feature; Oxygen scatters light all over the place. Instantly, the femtosecond that the device went off, our sky would go nearly black, almost as dark as night time, but not quite since the Sun is still up and shining direct light onto us. If you’re on the dark side of the planet when this happened, good luck, you’re instantly dark, like someone put a garbage can over your head. Depending on your position on Earth on the light side, it would be more blue, or even total blackness, but could also just be a “cloudy day” level of light (equatorial cities).

How about those people on their way to work? Well, insta-traffic jam, as every single combustion engine would stall. If you’re driving in a traffic free zone, you’ll just coast to a stop, but if you’re on the highway, you’ll probably not survive. Where I live, the second a drop of water hits the pavement, everyone instantly and seemingly forgets how to operate a vehicle. Speaking of pavement, well, not only do you have to worry about your stalled car, you also have to worry about the concrete buildings around you instantly crumbling into dust, with the roads and crust of the Earth also instantly dropping way down into the abyss. Since Earth’s crust (that’s the stuff below your feet) is made up of almost half Oxygen, well, the Earth suddenly just got a whole lot smaller. All the stuff on top of the crust, which is every building and mountain on Earth, is now in a free-fall towards the center of our liposuctioned planet.

Things get so much worse too, as you’re free falling into the center of our planet, all those cars you were in are now instantly bonding and welding themselves to each other. The amount of heat this is producing means that you’re baking inside your car as you crash and fly all over the place, as giant rocks and cars smash into you, and fuse with each other. Don’t worry though, you can’t hear anything, as your ear drums rely on air pressure that is now significantly less, so they’ve exploded. You also don’t need to worry either, because you died the second the Oxygen was ripped from the Hydrogen in your body. You went “poof” the instant the Oxygen disappeared in a haze of hydrogen gas, along with the Hydrogen oceans currently floating away and evaporating into space.

Jeff Wilton

Jeff is the founder and owner of Everyday Science Stuff. ESS is a one man operation, with the core belief that all education should be served without crippling debt tuition, without revenue generating ads and without any restrictions of any kind such as paywalls, forced login and account creations, geographical restrictions, and so on.

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