Surprising impact: what would happen if a needle collided with the Earth at the speed of light?

Imagine that the speed be the key to an impact of gigantic proportions. This was the conclusion of a virtual experiment carried out by Astro Rural, space enthusiasts who stand out on Instagram for their intriguing content in the field of physics.

The experiment? Simulate the impact of a needle colliding with the Earth while traveling at the maximum speed possible in the universe: the speed of light.

What would be the impact of a needle on Earth?

Image: RomoloTavani/Getty Images/Canva Pro/Reproduction

At first glance, this may seem like a harmless scenario, after all, how harmful could a simple needle be? However, the reality is strikingly different.

The damage caused would not be due to the size or weight of the object, but rather to the energy kinetics accumulated during your trip.

In this theoretical scenario, this tiny needle traveling at the speed of light would carry energy comparable to an object weighing 100 tons and falling from a height of 15 stories.

Translating into more tangible values, this force represents approximately 10^19 joules. Or, in a more dramatic comparison, similar to the energy released by a 1 megaton nuclear bomb.

How would this impact be felt by us?

At the moment of impact, the needle would reach extreme temperatures due to atmospheric resistance, evaporating and resulting in a spectacular explosion, similar to a fireball in the sky. This explosion would have the potential to cause fires across vast areas, in addition to damaging property.

In addition to the initial explosion, a powerful shock wave would propagate, having the ability to damage buildings and other constructions in its path. Even more alarming, those within the range of this wave could suffer serious injuries or even lose their lives.

Fortunately, according to physical Currently, an object with mass, such as a needle, cannot reach the speed of light. Still, the experiment serves as a cautionary reminder of the power of the forces of nature and what is possible in the vast universe around us.

In relation :  Google Earth: An archaeologist discovered ruins more than 7,000 years old