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Doomsday asks: What would happen if the Earth was pulled out of orbit?

The Planet's orbits in the Solar System
What would happen if the Earth was pulled out of orbit? Could we survive the upheaval? Credit: Nasa

This episode of Doomsday asks what would happen if the Earth was somehow pulled out of its orbit, could we survive?

We tend not to think much about the fact we are all living our lives on a huge chunk of rock and iron that is hurtling through space at around 18.5 miles/second as it orbits the Sun at a distance of some 93 million miles.

But what would happen if this stable orbit was disrupted and the Earth’s predictable path through the Solar System was changed. Would we become frozen like Mars or perhaps we’d end up like our hellishly hot twin Venus. Could we even join the mysterious planet 9 on some far flung orbit taking the Earth far from the Sun for hundreds of years?

If our orbit actually stopped then we would not have much time before we’d fall right into the Sun, since our orbit is really just a fall around the star (just like the ISS orbits Earth). After about a month we’d be toast as temperatures soared and shortly after the Sun’s gravity would tear the planet apart.

You might also wonder what would happen if the planet stopped spinning. This would not actually be as bad since the force the Moon exerts would actually start us up again!

Collage of the planets and other objects in our solar system
A collage of the Earth and other planets together with some other object in the solar system (not to scale). Credit: NASA

Doomsday looks at the possible impact and finds out if we could survive such a seemingly catastrophic change.

Catch Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End – Earth Out of Orbit at 10 PM on History.


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