Is it possible to drill a hole straight through a planet?


Share post:

It is the mission of children on beaches around the world: to dig through the centre of the planet and come out the other side. But such an endeavour is far from simple. Earth isn’t just sand and rocks all the way through – it holds a sea of molten iron, and the temperature and pressure near the middle would be enough to melt any ambitious digger, along with any tools they might use to make their hole.

In the second episode of the Dead Planets Society podcast, our intrepid hosts Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte dig into the question of what might happen if we were to bore a hole through a planet. Gas giants are probably a no-go, because the temperatures and pressures below their clouds are too intense for any material humans have ever made to stay intact, let alone for actual humans to survive.

For an indestructible vessel, though, the journey would be interesting, with strange gravitational effects and phases of matter we have never seen before. Maybe on a smaller world, like Pluto, you wouldn’t need an indestructible vessel – in fact, Pluto’s surface is so cold that a person’s body heat would be enough to start a borehole. Planetary scientists Konstantin Batygin and Baptiste Journaux join our hosts this week to talk about the logistics of drilling through an entire world, and what would happen if we could actually pull that off.

Dead Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish ideas about how to tinker with the cosmos – from unifying the asteroid belt to destroying the sun – and subjects them to the laws of physics to see how they fare.

To listen, subscribe to New Scientist Weekly or visit our podcast page here.


Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

Google’s Pixel 8 brings new camera tricks, better display and a thermometer

When it comes to hardware releases, Google zigs where the competition zags. Leaks are a virtual inevitability...

Google’s Pixel Watch 2 brings new sensors for improved health tracking

After years of rumors and reports, Google finally released its first smartwatch last year. It was a...

Pixel 8 Pro’s upgraded camera system offers dream specs for mobile photographers

Google made its Pixel 8 smartphone lineup official today, including the Pixel 8 Pro. This year, the...

Lemurian Labs is building a new compute paradigm to reduce cost of running AI models

It’s fair to say that Nvidia has found itself in the right place at the right time...