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Weight of the earth after energy conversion

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posted on May, 14 2006 @ 10:46 PM
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Has all the oil (along with other materials, coal for example) that has been extracted and converted to energy, significantly decreased the weight of the earth?
Why or why not?




posted on May, 15 2006 @ 12:32 AM
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No, because none of these products have left our planets atmosphere.
Sure, count the hundred or so tonnes the SRBs use, but that doesn't count for much compared to the millions of tonnes of CO2 we release every year. It's like the water-wasting issue. If you leave the tap on, you're wasting water! Ahh, no, you're not. The water will merely enter the next stage of its cycle, which is usually to be sent back down into the ocean. Not one drop of it leaves our planet.

So the planet's weight has only changed marginally thanks to the Apollo programs and such, but you also must factor in the 1, 000 or so tonnes of space dust we get every year.

If you burn a log, about 2-3 (I think) per cent of its total mass is left in ashes. The rest of it, quite literally, goes up in smoke. Smoke which never leaves Earth.



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 12:52 AM
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I've wondered about this before, but never really looked into it.


Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
If you burn a log, about 2-3 (I think) per cent of its total mass is left in ashes. The rest of it, quite literally, goes up in smoke. Smoke which never leaves Earth.


But doesn't the smoke weigh less than the wood?

And once oil/coal/etc. is burned, wouldn't its remains weigh significantly less?



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 03:14 AM
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You cannot weigh the earth, you can deduct it's mass and then infer it's weight at 1 G but I don't really know how on target that would procude so It's much easier to talk about Mass. The Earths total mass wouldn't drop at all, and if you say froze the whole earth into a ball, so that even the atmosphere was frozen, you'll find that it will weigh more then when we first started tapping it due to falling debris.



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 08:34 AM
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Thanks for the posts so far! My husband was not including atmosphere in this question, just what's under one's feet. I'll read these responses to him and write back with any responses/questions.



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by Truman Burbank

But doesn't the smoke weigh less than the wood?

And once oil/coal/etc. is burned, wouldn't its remains weigh significantly less?


Just answer this: what is heavier: 1kg of wood or 1 kg of CO2? ...



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 08:55 AM
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Lillo got it. If I put a 6 kg piece of wood in my fire, I'll have about 180 grams of ash left, and exactly 5, 820 grams of smoke will go through my chimney.

desert, you cannot consider our planets' weight without involving the atmospheric element. i.e. if Shell is going to burn 100 tonnes of oil, then yes, the solid mass of our earth will lose 100 tonnes of mass (n/ including spacedust). But that exact amount is released into the atmoshphere because of the burning.



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 11:42 AM
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Watch_the_rocks is correct -- while we've created chambers under the Earth (which we then had to fill with water because some of them collapsed and caused problems), the conversion of a set of hydrocarbons into other compounds (and some energy) didn't cause any significant number of atoms to leave the Earth.



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 02:12 PM
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Yes, what they said above. The mass of the earth has not changed. If I burn coal, or oil, or wood, or anything like that, it changes from one form of mass into another. The energy that is released is not a conversion from mass to energy (although this is possible in some esoteric reactions like in nuclear physics) but is usually the breakage of chemical bonds that store energy. So, for example, when gasoline is burned in your car, if you had ten kilograms of gas, your car would turn it into ten kilograms of C02, H2O, CO (if combustion is not occuring well), and stuff like that. The energy stored in the chemical bonds of the large gasoline molecules is what is released in combustion and runs the engine. That chemical bond energy eventually turns into heat, once your car is finished using it. Some heat comes directly from the reaction, some from the friction of your car tires (interestingly, without friction, your car wouldn't move).

The only changes in the Earth's mass in the last several billion years would be due to incoming meteors or stuff from outer space, any satellites or space probes we have shipped off, and the tiny, tiny amounts of mass lost during mass to energy reactions done in a few top research physics labs, as per Einsteins' E=mc^2. I know that this amount has to be very tiny, because so much energy is released in this kind of process, that any more than the tiniest bit of mass converted into energy would have catastrophic consequences.

Oh, and I guess all the UFOs that landed have increased the world's mass too
Fortunately, that has been counterbalanced by all their abductions of people and cows...



posted on May, 15 2006 @ 08:04 PM
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Thanks to all your posts, Husband seeing answer. Gasoline, for example, in car converts to gasses entering atmosphere. And he is starting to see atmosphere as part of weight/mass of Earth. New questions, how much gasses leave the atmosphere?
Would there be a possibility of lost mass affecting orbit?



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 01:05 AM
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Not unless an extremely large piece of the earth were removed somehow (or an enormously massive object were added). Because of the sizes of the earth and sun, I don't think that anything we will ever be able to do would change the earth's orbit.

I don't know how much gas leaves the atmosphere, but I strongly suspect that it is virtually nothing, except for maybe bits that are carried by space probes or something like that, or possibly stray molecules picked up by the moon's gravity or that sort of thing.



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 02:17 AM
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Hell, if the majority of Exhaust floated up away into space, not as many people would be against combustion. >>



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 02:47 AM
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I agree with everything that has been written so far, except (in part) the effect of a meteor and massive projection of materials. But everyone is right in the Conservation of matter/energy.

The problem I have with the idea of a meteor causing a massive projection of Earthly matter into space, therefore decresing the Earth's "weight" is that while that matter is going up, it may not necissarily have the energy to escape the Earth's gravity field. I mean sure the Moon could scoop some of it up, but we're talking maybe a few hundred particles per million, not a lot of matter when you are talking planets, right?

Where are we drawing the line on "Earth"? Like the original poster said, their husband had only considered the ground underfoot, not the atmosphere. If we wanted to get technical and include all Terrestrial matter, we may have to include the Moon, right? In which case you can say that all the matter has stayed within "Earth" except for probes like the twin Voyagers.

Something else, desert was asking about the oil impact. I was wondering if this couldn't be broadened to all human interaction with the land (although I know the answers everyone have given still are correct).

If there would be a way to decrease the Earth's weight, what do you think we could do other than strapping large rockets to giant pieces of rocks? I mean we could start working on better nukes, or even antimatter, but that would be the only way we could do it, right?



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 03:56 AM
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I agree with everything that has been written so far, except (in part) the effect of a meteor and massive projection of materials.


Actually, that's not what I meant
What I was referring to is that when the meteor lands, the earth has essentially gotten more massive, with the additional material that has landed from outer space.



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne

I agree with everything that has been written so far, except (in part) the effect of a meteor and massive projection of materials.


Actually, that's not what I meant
What I was referring to is that when the meteor lands, the earth has essentially gotten more massive, with the additional material that has landed from outer space.


*slaps forehead* I completely forgot about that. I was stuck on the Earth losing weight, not gaining
Sorry!

Yeah, an meteor would make the Earth gain weight. Add to this the amount of space particles that come to earth every year, and the Earth gains weight in the extreme long run, right?

Sorry once again!



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 04:17 PM
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OK, the bombardment of Earth by meteors is a separate and significant factor, but it's not in the original question. So let's assume for a second nothing is falling down from the sky.

There energy conversion processes we use all generate heat, which in turn causes infrared radiation. That energy MUST leave Earth, otherwise its temperature would rise indefinitely. I leave it up to you to do some calculations on the back of the envelope (e=mc2) to estimate how much weight our planet is losing due to radiative loss. Wait, let me help:

World energy expenditure per year: 4*10^17 BTU = 4*10^20 Joules.
m=e/c2=4*10^20/9*10^16~=4000 kg

Lo and behold, for verily I speak unto you: Earth is losing 4 metric tons each ear due to its infrared emissions.

[edit on 16-5-2006 by Aelita]



posted on May, 16 2006 @ 06:11 PM
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Hey, that's cool, I never thought of that, Aelita. Of course, the earth is a lot more massive than 4 tons, so compared to the mass of the earth, it is virtually nothing. Still, it is an interesting fact.



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