Deep frying a turkey can often times be incredibly dangerous. So why don’t we try a different cooking method? Let’s send our turkey up into space, and have it come for Earth while moving at the speed of light. Do you think this would be any safer?
How fast is the speed of light? Could a turkey moving this fast damage the Earth? And what would happen once it reaches our atmosphere?
The speed of light is nearly 300,000 km per sec(186,282 mi per sec).If an object were going this fast, it could circle the Earth 7.5 time in just a single second. So what would happen if we made a turkey move this fast, and then hurled it toward our planet?
Before we go any further, we should let you know that it’s impossible for an object to move at the speed of light. That’s because the faster an object moves, the more its mass increases and it’s length contracts. In other words, when our turkey is moving at the speed of light, it would have an infinite mass and a length of zero, which is impossible.
But we won’t let our fun stop there. Instead, we’re going to have our turkey move at 99.99% of the speed of light. Heh, suck on that, Einstein. And now, moving at this speed in space, the turkey is coming for Earth. But before it even hits our planet, we’d notice some of the effects long before it impacts.
As the turkey is moving through the Earth’s atmosphere, it would start to slam into atmospheric particles. Since it’s moving at such a
high speed, the turkey would begin to get ripped apart. If you wanted to look up to the sky, you’d see bright explosions in our atmosphere. But the volume of the explosions would probably make you instinctively run for cover and hide.
This might not sound all that terrible, but it would still cause massive destruction on Earth’s surface. The closest modern equivalent to something like this would be the Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013.That meteor exploded at a height of 23.3 km (76,000 ft). And when that happened, it resulted in 1,000 people getting injured and huge amounts of property damage.
Our turkey, moving at the speed of light, would be equal to 40,000 of those meteors hitting Earth. And these explosions wouldn’t happen all at once but sporadically as it moves through the atmosphere. As they happened, their shockwaves would cause buildings and windows to be completely destroyed.
And if this were to happen, it would be the Earth’s best-case scenario. That’s because this turkey hasn’t even hit the planet yet. But if it did come right for us, then the results would be even worse. Due to all the energy behind it, if the turkey hit New York City at 99.99% of the speed of light, it would be like dropping 400 nuclear bombs.
This would completely destroy the city, not to mention parts of the planet itself. The impact from this massive explosion could destroy the Earth’s crust, causing magma to spew up and fill the streets. Massive fires would start, and millions of people would die. But ground zero, wouldn’t be the only place heavily affected.
An impact to Earth like this could cause earthquakes and fires all across North America. The entire half of the world would be completely destroyed, just from a harmless turkey. So the speed of light can be pretty dangerous. But what might happen if you rode your bike at this speed?
- “How Fast Does Light Travel? | The Speed Of Light“. Redd, Nola. 2018.Space.Com.
- “Tsar Bomba“. 2020. Tsarbomba.Org.
- “Largest Fireball Since Chelyabinsk Falls Over Atlantic | Earthsky.Org“. Imster, Eleanor. 2020.Earthsky.Org.
- “How Powerful Was The Beirut Blast?“. 2020. Reuters.
- “What Would Happen If An 800-Kiloton Nuclear Warhead Detonated Above Midtown Manhattan? – Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists“. 2015. Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists
- “Diamond“. 2020.