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Would humans be able to cope? What would the effects of the gravity have on our infrastructure, and would animal life be able cope with the increase of gravity?

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closed as too broad by AndreiROM, Xandar The Zenon, The Anathema, JDługosz, Schwern Apr 6 '16 at 17:17

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    $\begingroup$ Hello, Stephanie. I think this question is a little broad, as there are may aspects which would have to be explored. For example, impact on infrastructure and thus civilization, impact on biology and thus society, etc. Maybe you should try asking separate questions, although the short answer is that we would all probably die. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Apr 6 '16 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of If Earth's gravity suddenly became stronger, how would we cope? $\endgroup$ – Schwern Apr 6 '16 at 17:17
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I would expect an increase in gravity by 50% to herald in a round of seismic activity like the world has never seen. Expect basically every coastal city to be wiped out by tsunamis in the first week.

Also, expanding on JDlugosz's comment about infrastructure and Matt's counter, while infrastructure typically has a safety factor, its typically evaluated in a steady state situation. You have the most dynamic environment possible: an instantanious increase in forces. More buildings would collapse than one might expect.

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Infrastructure would not cope. Structures are engineered to be as strong as needed, so would not in general handle it long term.

Plants are only strong enough, so trees would fall, stems would bend over, etc.

Animals likewise: elephants would be crippled; ants would not carry the loads they need to, bugs could not fly, etc.

The atmosphere would be compressed down. Now the air sliding down the mountains can give Los Angeles summer-like weather at Christmas. So compressing all air on Earth by such an amount would turn the surface into an oven, rendering the other points moot.

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I'm confident most infrastructure would be fine. A safety factor of 1.5 is quite low for large structures like buildings or bridges. As for biology, it certainly would have an impact, but all walking animals wouldn't all of a sudden be crippled. Ants can already lift many times their own body weight - cut that in half, and it's still many times their body weight. I think you're also overestimating the thermal effect of increased air pressure by far. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Wang Apr 6 '16 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt but now the things the ants have to lift are also more heavy. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Apr 6 '16 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt I believe you're oversimplifying it. The ants still have to use up energy to keep themselves upright, and the things they're lifting are also heavier. And all it takes is one failure point in a physical structure. Who's to say that you won't find many more occurrences of that happening across the planet? $\endgroup$ – The Anathema Apr 6 '16 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @colmde The buoyant force on a bug is far smaller than g, so a proportional increase in both will affect g more and make it harder to fly. Let's give the buoyant force a number, doesn't matter what it is so long as it's less than g (bugs don't float in air), say b is 4. And g is 9.8. A bug has to overcome g - b or 5.8 m/s^2 to fly. If we increase both by 1.5 it will have a greater effect on g. b is now 6, but g is now 14.7. A bug now has to overcome 8.7 m/s^2 to fly. $\endgroup$ – Schwern Apr 6 '16 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ Safety factor of 1.5: I'm not saying that bridges will fall down promptly. But now the safety factor is gone and weather and other variations will now exceed the strength. It was presumably designed for reasonable (not expensive overkill) excursions from baseline strength. With the change, everyday (or once-per-year) stresses will be too much. I alluded to this "in general, long term" but did not elaborate. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Apr 6 '16 at 17:33

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