MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Does loss of mass, factor in to earth's gravitational dynamics? (orbit, etc.)

Date: Mon Sep 15 07:30:49 2003
Posted By: Eder Molina, Researcher PhD, Dept. of Geophysics, Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics - USP
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1061922193.Ph

No, as far as we can quantify the effects. The loss of mass due the fossil 
fuel consumed over the years is too small in comparison with the total 
mass of the planet. And remember that every day 5 thousand to 500 thousand 
kg of extraterrestrial dust is arriving our planet (See Thompson, Tim: 
Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth for more details about that), that 
can counteract this loss of mass.

Best regards

Eder C. Molina
Dept. of Geophysics
Institute of Geophysics, Astronomy and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Sao Paulo

Moderator Note: Also, the mass of the fossil fuels extracted
and burned is not gone;  it's still present (as carbon dioxide and
carbonate minerals and water). And the difference in distance from the
earth's center doesn't throw things off either, because (a) it's too
small and (b) it averages out. -- Daniel J. Berger, MadSci Moderator.

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