How Long to Fall Through Earth? Faster Than Thought

Set aside 38 minutes and 11 seconds, says new study
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2015 4:14 PM CDT
How Long to Fall Through Earth? Quicker Than Thought
Thirty-eight minutes and 11 seconds to fall through this.   (AP Photo/NASA)

It's a common hypothetical in physics classrooms: How long would it take to fall through a tunnel from one side of the Earth to the other? The new answer: 38 minutes and 11 seconds, reports Science. The result is courtesy of McGill University graduate student Alexander Klotz, whose calculations take four minutes off the previously accepted answer and appear in the American Journal of Physics. The reason for the shorter time? Unlike previous calculations, Klotz's take into account that the Earth's layers have different densities, and those differences would affect the hypothetical falling man, notes

"The way the Earth is structured, the gravity increases slightly as you go deeper towards the dense core, to about 110% of its surface value, before getting weaker as you move through the core, reaching zero at the center,” says Klotz, as quoted in Forbes. (If it's all a little too hypothetical, try physics-inspired pasta instead.)

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