Chicken Little’s fears

2. HOW MUCH DOES THE SKY WEIGH?

Indian elephant

The sky can be measured in elephants. Lots of elephants

“About the same as 10 million million elephants.”
Stu, West Bromwich

“The sky weighs 14 pounds for every square inch on the earth’s surface. That ends up being more than 11 billion billion pounds.”
Kop, Salt Lake City, Utah, US

“More than you think, kid. The Earth has a surface area of 197 million square miles. Multiply that by four billion to give you the number of square inches. With atmospheric pressure being an average 14.7 lbs (6.6kg) per square inch, this means that the sky weighs roughly 5.2 million billion metric tons. Now go to bed.”
Boris, West Midlands

Expert answer from the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Space Science and Technology Department: “If you want the total weight then it’s about one millionth of the mass of the Earth, which is the equivalent of 570,000,000,000,000 adult Indian elephants.”

from BBC’s Magazine I don’t agree with all answers, in this article on ten tricky questions, but what do you think? Should I invest in a bigger umbrella?

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