How Much Does the Earth Weigh?
Scientists estimate that the Earth weighs about 7 sextillion tons! To get an idea of what that number looks like, you’d have to write a seven, followed by twenty one zeros: 7, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 tons. Of course, scientists do not have scales on which to put the Earth.
Instead, the Earth’s mass is measured by means of a delicate laboratory experiment based on the force of gravitation. Due to the daily shower of meteoric material (chiefly dust) falling from the sky, the weight of the Earth increases by about 100,000 pounds each year.
Scientists are now examining the accuracy of measurements of G, the Newtonian constant of gravitation, as “the results we are getting are widely diverse”.
G, which sets the scale of gravity, was first measured at the end of the 18th century to an accuracy of around one per cent. Recent findings from scientists from around the world have differed widely, indicating “we’re not doing our measurements correctly”.