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How much does the Earth weigh?

12/12/2005 8:53 AM

Fun stuff from Scientific American online. Their monthly "Ask The Expert" column poses the question: How do scientists measure or calculate the weight of a planet?

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#1

Earth Weight

12/13/2005 8:13 AM

To all the great minds and those feable ones on the side, and for FYI trivia. There is no possible way to weigh the earth. With out the knowledge of accuratly understanding the true composition of metals and raw moltan oer with in our inner crust of this planet, we cannot give a precise answer to the question. If anyone claims to have an answer, they themselves is the bigger fool for wasting the time for giving an "educated guess". Possibly, if there where an instrument, a spectrum analyser, MRI, any type of tool large enough to measure the density and accuratly give image of the true composition of the inner core, then we can have some thing to work calculations of known weight matter to give ~ answer to the metric tons of weight that consist of earth. But, unfortunatly, there are quite a great amount of varying compositions with in the inner core moving at a great amount of speed. To have a tool, instrument, "super eye", any type of equipment, would be impractical for the amount of energy required to penetrate to the center of the earth.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re:Earth Weight

12/13/2005 8:36 AM

The mass of the earth can be "weighed" in a basement simply by using a Gravitational Torsion Balance, I believe first attempted by Cavendish. I did this experiment in college using lasers over about a month with excellent results.

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#2

What?

12/13/2005 8:30 AM

Isn't weight relative? How can you measure the weight of something when that object itself is the cause of things even having weight, i.e. gravity. You can measure the mass of a celestial body like the Earth but I'm pretty sure that you cannot weigh it. I might be entirely wrong though.

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Participant

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#4
In reply to #2

Re:What?

12/13/2005 1:58 PM

I don't think you can weigh the earth, if you put the earth on Jupiter, it would have far greater weight then if you placed it on Mars. Weight is relative, I would say if you had to say the earth had weight, it would be determined by all the bodies that have a gravitational effect on the earth.

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