What if everyone on Earth jumped at the same time?

What do you think would happen to us, the planet, our orbit..?

Well, the science says.. nothing. We (humans) simply just don’t weigh enough to cause any significant change in the weight of the world.. but there’s a few scenarios here. Not everyone is exact clones of one another, so while I may jump up an average of one foot (unmeasured), someone else may be able to jump 1.5 feet, while an Olympic High Jumper can jump 4 feet. So the first scenario is to assume that everyone jumped at the exact same moment, the height of each persons’ jump is different, which would mean that everyone would land at different intervals causing a “rumble” so to speak, instead of one massive force at the same time. Compare it to a punch to the shoulder versus a gradual push to the shoulder, where the person being assaulted is the Earth, while both may have the same force, two completely different outcomes would happen.

But what if we had a way of timing it so that everyone jumped at the exact same moment, at a uniform height and landed at the exact same moment? Surely that would cause some sort of seismic trauma to the Earth, say, an Earthquake, no? Every single human on Earth at the same moment? Would the Earth buckle from all this sudden pressure?

No. Again you ask me why this is the case. Again, we just don’t weigh enough to do any significant change. The reasoning is simple, and explained with what everyone loves, MATH! Let’s take every single Human being on Earth as of this moment, and put them shoulder to shoulder. How much space do you think they would take up? All of Canada? All of North America? The truth is, not that much, not even close. Grouping every single person on Earth today together would equal the space of about the city of Los Angeles, California. Crazy right? Every single human shoulder to shoulder on the entire EARTH, and they only take up just over 1 million square kilometers. Average out the weight of everyone to 180lbs, and it equals a total weight of 1,255,272,917,940 pounds. The total weight of the Earth is approximate 13,199,999,999,999,999,563,792,384 pounds. Yes, that’s a real number. We would need about 900 times the amount of people to cause the Earth to shift out of orbit permanently, but even if we had that many people, it would only shift about 1 to 2 inches from it’s current trajectory, which is so insignificant, we wouldn’t even notice the change in temperature, it would be micro degrees in difference (0.0000x hotter or colder). We would also need to group them all together shoulder to shoulder, make them jump at an exact specified height and land them all at the same time, but now we have to factor in the curvature of the Earth, the slight but significant differences in Gravity based on their geolocation in this mass group of people, and many other things. So, to explain it simply, we will never be able to jump the Earth away from the Sun, or cause it to explode, or give it an Earthquake. It’s statistically possible, but highly improbable.

Our sun has a habitable zone of roughly 1 Astronomical Unit, which is about 150 million kilometers. One to two inches in the grand scheme of things is nothing compared to our “life zone”, which is between 145 million to 160 million kilometers. Earth can move an additional 5 million kilometers closer to the Sun or stray 10 million kilometers away before life can no longer exist in its current form. If Earth were to move more than 7.5 million kilometers closer to the Sun, we would reach temperatures of up to 200+ degrees Celsius during the day. Our oceans would evaporate instantly, and the atmosphere of our planet would burn up, killing everything and everyone with seconds. All oxygen on the earth would disappear, and all the volcanoes would erupt across the globe simultaneously. If we were to move 30 million kilometers farther away, we would reach 1 kelvin during the day, absolute zero, or about -273 degrees. Our oceans would freeze solid in a matter of seconds, and humans would explode instantly as they flash froze, regardless of where they were on the surface. Only those living deep underground closer to the Earth’s core would survive, so long as they remained there.

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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2 Responses

  1. sam says:

    awesome blog dude i love it

    • Jeff Wilton says:

      Thanks Sam!

      I ran into some health problems that are all but passed me now, so that’s why there’s been little updates in a year.

      I’ll be jumping back into things soon!

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