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It Would Take Over Half an Hour to Fall Through the Earth

You’ve probably thought about digging a hole through the center of the Earth since you were a kid, but what about jumping through that hole? Forget for a moment that you be vaporized by our planet’s internal heat and that you would be doomed to oscillate around the core for all time — how long would it take to pop out the other side if you took the leap? The excellent and expedient YouTube channel Minute Physics answers that question in their latest video. It’s probably close to your morning commute.

In the video above, physicist Henry Reich blazes though a number a calculations that ultimately show a free fall through the center of the Earth would take around 42 minutes. Of course, that’s making the problem much simpler. First, our planet isn’t perfectly spherical — “oblate spheroid” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Next, there would be air resistance in the hole, realistically making the fall like a very long and boring sky dive. But if you can accept these simplifications, you can imagine a 17,000 mph tour of our world’s inner layers.

What’s really fascinating is that Reich’s answer is exactly the same amount of time that it takes for the International Space Station to fall around half the Earth. In fact, Reich found that it would take 42 minutes to orbit around of fall through any sphere with the same density as the Earth.

But what would you do? Would you trust the math, or would you say “Damn you physics!” and jump in head-first like I would? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: Minute Physics

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