The following is an excerpt from DAN KOIS | August 1, 2018 | Slate.com |
The question is so intuitive it’s frankly unbelievable it’s never been asked before: What would happen to Earth if its entire mass were instantaneously replaced by blueberries? That’s the subject of an entertaining paper titled “Blueberry Earth” by University of Oxford researcher Anders Sandberg, which he posted online this week. (I found it thanks to a since-deleted tweet by the Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang.) The result: an Earth that would be, if possible, even more imperiled than the Earth we know, with “a steam atmosphere covering an ocean of jam on top of warm blueberry granita.” I spoke to the cheerful Sandberg over Skype to ask him about jam geysers, runaway moons, and why this kind of hypothetical isn’t as frivolous as it may seem.
Dan Kois: OK, let’s start with the simplest question: How long would a human being survive on Blueberry Earth?
Anders Sandberg: I think it wouldn’t be very long. So if you start from the uncompressed state, of course, you would just get this free fall as the planet is imploding. I would expect that within half an hour you would be very uncomfortable.
You describe it as feeling like the worst earthquake you’ve ever felt.
Of course the entire surface layer is literally falling for 700 kilometers. Now gravity is low, but that is still a long free fall.
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