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What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Rotating?

379 words 2 page(s)

The Earth’s rotation is what helps to make life hospitable. This is because its revolutions around the sun allow for temperatures to moderate and remain comfortable enough for plants and animals to thrive. These shifts are more extreme on the barren planets that are known for their heat and inability to sustain life. The most notable include: Venus and Mercury. This means that it takes longer for them to go around the sun. The result is that temperatures are unusually hot or cold. This makes it impossible for life to exist under these conditions. As a result, many wonder what would happen if the Earth stopped rotating. To fully understand this, requires looking at the escape velocity and the impact it will have on the climate. These elements will offer insights about what the Earth would look like under this kind of scenario. (“Why is the Earth Rotating”)

The escape velocity is focusing on the speed that is necessary to leave a planet’s gravity. This is relevant to the Earth’s rotation, as it brings objects closer to the center. If it were to stop moving, there would be dramatic shifts in the gravitational pull. This means that everything is lighter and the concept of weight will not exist. (“Escape Velocity”) Moreover, there would be a sideways versus downward trajectory. This changes the concept of gravity as we know it.

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At the same time, there will be no seasons or days. This means that half of the Earth would be scorched, by nonstop sunlight and extreme temperatures for 365 days. While the other parts, experience excessive darkness and unusually cold temperatures. When this happens, there is no balance to ensure that life can exist. The result is that the planet will become inhospitable. (Cain)

Clearly, the rotation of the Earth is what sustains the right conditions for life to exist. This prevents extreme temperatures from engulfing the planet. It also maintains the gravitational pull and precludes everything from moving sideways. This is the key for ensuring that the Earth is habitable by creating a balance between these different forces.

  • “Escape Velocity.” Hyper Textbook, 2011. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.
  • “Why is the Earth Rotating.” NASA, 2013. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.
  • Cain, Fisher. “What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Rotating.” Universe Today, 2013. Web. 14 Aug. 2014