9 "What Ifs..." That Would Change Everything

8. What If The Earth Stopped Spinning?

What if something, somehow, cause the Earth to suddenly put the brakes on? Well, put it this way, you'd notice. To begin with, let's imagine that the Earth comes screaming to a halt all at once. One of the major problems we'd have is that, just because the Earth loses momentum, it doesn't mean that everything else does.

The Earth spins at roughly 1100 mph, meaning that everything on it is also moving at 1100 mph. If the Earth stopped, everything that wasn't nailed down, including you, the top soil, trees, houses and the atmosphere itself, would appear to go flying westwards at phenomenal speeds. Because the atmosphere is also on the move, everything would be swept up in a global hurricane like some kind of doomsday Wizard of Oz remake.

If the Earth slowed gradually, or perhaps just never spun in the first place, then life on Earth would be drastically different. Assuming the Earth still orbits the sun, your days and nights would essentially stretch out over a year, with half spent in darkness and half spent in endless light, with long, drawn out twilight periods in between. How this would affect things like agriculture is anyone's guess, but we probably wouldn't come out of it well.

The good news is that you probably wouldn't be around to suffer this, as the Earth's magnetic field would disappear, leaving us exposed to the sun's dangerous cosmic rays and high-energy particles. This would leave us riddled with cancer, cataracts and could cause the central nervous system to shut down. Not fun.

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