The weight of the Earth is 1,000 trillion metric tons. The Earth is made up of several elements, but its main component is rock. Other elements include silicon, magnesium, aluminum, potassium, iron, calcium among many others.
This 4.6 billion-year-old planet that we call home was made from debris that occurred when a collision involving another massive astronomical rocks, produced dust and gas, which was pulled together by gravity and the result was the formation of planet Earth.
To this day, asteroids and other forms of space elements, still discharge dust, which is pulled by gravity and settles on Earth, becoming part of her mass. This causes the Earth to increase its weight, but new figures show that is not the case entirely. It is not all gain; in fact, Earth is losing weight.
Weight gain and loss
Space dust contributes around 40,000 tons of weight to planet Earth, and this becomes a part of the globe. On the other hand, Earth loses 50,000 tons as well due to various reasons according to Dr. Chris Smith and Cambridge University physicist Dave Ansel.
NASA believes that due to the increase in global temperatures, the Earth gains an extra 160 tons each year. Mass increases when energy is added. But some things do not affect the weight of the Earth; for example, the explosion of the world’s population has no effect on the weight of the Earth. Neither do the buildings and various constructions we add.
A misconception of mass loss
This is because these additional weights are part and parcel of the Earth’s original weight, and are already covered. These activities do not, therefore, increase the weight of the Earth. They just transform it. Launching rockets and satellites into orbit also do not affect the Earth’s weight in any tangible manner because, in the long run, they do come back.
The real loss comes from the energy that the Earth burns which translates to less energy, less mass. 160 tons of energy are lost every year, but compared to the power that is available, this should not be a cause for alarm.
Earth losing weight: Hydrogen and helium
The energy that Earth loses is in the form of Hydrogen and Helium to the tune of 95,000 and 1,600 tons respectively, annually. The reason why the planet loses these gasses, is that they are so light, gravity cannot hold them down, so they disappear into space. Mathematically, the 50,000 tons lost is equivalent to 0.00000000000001% of the Earth’s mass. This is a negligible loss by any standards.
The Earth’s Hydrogen stocks cannot be depleted easily. It would take trillions of years to achieve that, the rate at which we lose it notwithstanding.
As for Helium, it represents 0.00052% of Earth’s atmosphere and apart from the amount the Earth loses each year, it is a gas that is harvested in large quantities through a process known as fractional distillation. It is then used as a coolant for our engines and machines. This is the gas we should be worried about.