Animals

What Would Happen If Gravity Stopped?

If gravity stopped, what would happen to everything here on Earth? Turns out, it's very, very bad.

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This episode of DNews is somewhat of a though experiment: What would happen if gravity just stopped? DNews host Crystal has thought it all through, and the answer? It's not pretty. Originally defined by Newton as an attractive force between all matter, Einstein blew everyone away in his Field Equations when he showed that gravity is actually a geometric property of space-time: the more mass an object has, the more it bends it. The weakest of the four fundamental forces that keep the Universe humming along, gravity is the force that we humans have to deal with the most in our day-to-day lives. It's why jogging can be such a pain (and can do damage on your joints): You are sitting or standing where you are right now because the mass of the earth and the mass of your body are attracted to each other.

So back to our original question: What would happen if gravity, for whatever reason, just stopped? It would be a big inconvenience on your day. It would be hard to move because we'd have nothing to push up against: If you hopped up just a tad, you'd keep going and going (unless an equal and opposite force stopped you) because of Newton's third law of motion, the action/reaction one. Humans can live without gravity -- astronauts in space have to deal with it, but what we couldn't live for very long without air or our atmosphere, and gravity is what keeps all that in place. If there was no gravity, even if you strapped yourself to the ground, the atmosphere (including the oxygen we need to breath) would slowly drift away and we'd suffocate.

That is, if we lasted that long: The tidal effects from our moon would probably trigger some earthquakes, and everything would start to slowly drift in the opposite direction from the center of the Earth. Someone watching all this from far away would see the Earth slowly dissociate, along with the other planets in our Solar System, and -- probably most dramatic of all -- our sun would dissociate, sending really hot plasma our way.

Is Gravity the only thing keeping you grounded? Let us know in the comments down below!

Don't forget to follow Crystal on Twitter at @PolycrystalhD.

Learn More:

What If There Were No Gravity? (via Live Science)
"In the interest of not being boring, let's consider an alternative scenario: What if the universe formed with gravity and developed normally up until a certain moment in space-time, and what if then, suddenly, gravity switched off?"

What If There Were No Gravity on Earth? (via HowStuffWorks)
"Gravity is one of those things we take completely for granted. And there are two things about it that we take for granted: the fact that it is always there, and the fact that it never changes. If the Earth's gravity were ever to change significantly, it would have a huge effect on nearly everything."