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Question

Does the earth's mass increase? Even in insignificant quantities?
Asked by: Jorge Luis Mendez

Answer

The Earth gains mass each day as a result of incoming debris from space. You may have even seen evidence of this activity in the form of a 'falling star', or meteor, on a dark night.

While the actual amount of added material depends on which study you look at, an estimated 10 to the 8th power kilograms of in-falling matter accumulates every day. That seemingly large amount, however, IS insignificant compared to the Earth's total mass of almost 10 to the 25th power kilograms.

In other words, Earth adds an estimated one quadrillionth of one percent to its weight each day. I don't know of any counteracting mass LOSS mechanism of any consequence.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor


Science Quote

'The strength and weakness of physicists is that we believe in what we can measure. And if we can't measure it, then we say it probably doesn't exist. And that closes us off to an enormous amount of phenomena that we may not be able to measure because they only happened once. For example, the Big Bang. ... That's one reason why they scoffed at higher dimensions for so many years. Now we realize that there's no alternative... '

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(1947-)


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