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The Hollow Earth Theory: Pseudoscience Gone Retro!
Rare Documentary Footage of the Inner Earth
Stories of a populated subterranean world have been around for about as long as human beings have been recording stories. Mythologies from Hellenic to Buddhist to Native American to early Judeo-Christian have included rich descriptions of these underground places, sometimes depicted as fearsome places of punishment and other times depicted as idyllic ancestral lands deep beneath the Earth's surface.
These stories persisted through the Renaissance and into the Age of Enlightenment, during which seemingly educated people such as astronomer Edmund Halley, mathematician Leonhard Euler, and decorated U.S. military officer John Cleves Symmes, Jr. put forth rather bizarre hypotheses of the Earth being a hollow shell with an inner atmosphere and concentric inner spheres, accessible via giant entrances located at the North and South Pole. Symmes even tried to organize a federally-funded expedition to the North Pole hole, but was stopped by President Andrew Jackson.
Although scientific advances of the 19th and 20th Centuries have determined that the Earth is in fact a solid rocky planet with a liquid outer core and solid iron inner core, and that the idea of a hollow planet goes against every conceivable model of planet formation, Hollow Earth proponents remained unconvinced. A tenacious group of Hollow Earth enthusiasts persisted through these ages of scientific advancement, concocting a rich Hollow Earth mythology about interior suns and UFOs and prehistoric creatures inhabiting cities on the planet's concave inner surface.
While it is tempting to imagine these subterranean speculative stories as just another passing fad of genre fiction, like steampunk and teen paranormal romance, the Hollow Earth hypothesis is still very much alive in the pseudoscientific circles of the Internet. Impervious to fact and reason, this belief in a Hollow Earth accessible via polar holes is tied up in a massive conspiracy theory which, quite conveniently, explains away why there's no evidence for any aspect of their hypothesis.
Indisputable Evidence of the Nazi-Hollow Earth Connection
It's A Conspiracy!
Among the specific bizarre claims made by current proponents of the Hollow Earth hypothesis (it does not deserve to be called a theory) are the following:
- The ground below our feet is actually only a shell 400-800 miles (643-1287 km) thick, with holes at each pole that are 1,400 miles (2,253km) in diameter.
- The land beyond the polar holes, known as Agartha, is lush and green and populated by some sort of reptile people who ride flying saucers.
- The reptile people of Agartha and the Nazis were connected for some reason. Perhaps because all fascist dictators love air-filled globes .
- At the center of the whole mess is a tiny star approximately 600 miles (965km) in diameter. Light from this mini-star escaping from the polar holes is responsible for the aurorae borealis and australis.
- The reason there is no evidence for any of the above is that it is all being covered up , of course. This is indeed the kicker that makes the entire hypothesis impervious to criticism and/or contradicting evidence.
There's A Hole In The Planet, Dear Liza, Dear Liza
One would think that a hole 1,400 miles in diameter would be difficult to miss, given the dozens of Earth-observation satellites from the United States, Russia, Europe, China, India, and Japan that pass over the poles several times per day. Yet the Hollow Earthers insist that they exist.
Nobody has seen these holes at the poles, they claim, because they are Photoshopped out of all satellite imagery, and nobody can fly over the poles because the entire region around both poles has been designated a no-fly zone.
Hmm. Well, that's certainly an idea. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that a team of graphic artists at NOAA, NASA, Roskosmos, ESA, JAXA, and other space agencies are painstakingly digitally removing all evidence of this hole in the planet in every one of the satellite photos taken every day and replacing it with imagery of holes in the polar ice caps. All those researchers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station are obviously in on the conspiracy. And the part about the polar no-fly zone- that's certainly plausible.
Of course, this no-fly zone may come as a bit of a shock to the Air Force pilots who fly the daily resupply missions to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, not to mention the researchers who live there. And it'd be equally shocking to the daily passengers on Singapore Airlines Flight 22, which flies a polar route nonstop from Singapore to Newark and routinely flies within 70 miles of the North Pole. Or the passengers on Emirates Air Flight 226 which routinely passes within a few miles of 90 degrees North. Or the Federal Aviation Administration, which has permitted commercial airlines to fly polar routes since 2000.
T = 2π √ a3 / μ
Where T = the orbital period of a small body in an elliptical orbit around a central body
a = the semi-major axis, and
μ = the standard gravitational parameter G (gravitational constant) times M (mass of the central body)
Nuke It From Orbit
There are a great number of methods we can use to demonstrate that the Earth is not hollow. One is to use the orbital mechanics of known satellites to determine the Earth's mass. This is quite easy to do, as satellite data is readily available online. Data on the International Space Station, for example, is regularly updated on the NASA Human Spaceflight web site.
Now, there are some doubters who believe that NASA frequently lies and obfuscates and otherwise provides false information to the public. Perhaps this is true. However, the orbital data they provide seems to be quite accurate, as it allows astrophotographers like Thierry Legault to capture amazing photos from the ground of the ISS in orbit. This would not be possible if the orbital parameters were just being made up.
NASA provides us with copious amounts of orbital data on the station, but to calculate the Earth's mass using it we only need two numbers: the semi-major axis of the station's orbit and the satellite's orbital period. Using the formula T = 2π √ a3 / μ, we can derive the Earth's mass. Using orbit 3,545, for example, by plugging in the Space Station's semi-major axis of 6,763,330.03 meters and its orbital period of 5,542.24 seconds (derived by dividing the Mean Motion figure of 15.58933883 revolutions per day into 86,400, the total number of seconds in a day), we get a mass of 5.9722 × 1024 kg.
Any change in the Earth's mass changes the orbit period and/or semi-major axis. If you don't want to work out the figures yourself, you can use an online gravity simulator to do the work for you. So, for example, if you were to reduce the Earth's mass by around 80% by, say, scooping out all of its insides leaving just a shell 800 miles thick, it would change the orbital period at the same altitude from the current 92 minutes to almost three and a half hours. An Earth-shell 400 miles thick would take even longer.
Thus, if the Earth were hollow, the International Space Station could not be orbiting at its current speed.
Might As Well Be Walking On The Sun
Critical to the Hollow Earth hypothesis is a central mini-sun at the center of the world-bubble, providing heat and light to the reptilian subterranean flying saucer enthusiasts and other assorted mole men who occupy the concave. Without this central sun, the legends of the lush green subterranean pastures and idyllic underground cities simply cannot exist.
The problem with this part of the hypothesis is that it violates every accepted model of stellar formation. The lowest mass limit possible to achieve hydrogen fusion is 0.07 solar masses - somewhere between 75 to 80 times the mass of Jupiter. Since the mass of Jupiter is 317.8 times the mass of Earth, this central star would have to have - at a minimum - a mass 23,835 times the mass of the Earth.
Granted, hydrogen is not the only atom that can fuse. Lower-mass brown dwarves have been found that can fuse lithium and deuterium. The lower limits for these are still pretty massive in Earth terms, however. Lithium fusion begins at around 65 Jupiter masses - 20,657 times the Earth's mass, and deuterium fusion begins at around 13 Jupiter masses - 4,134.4 times Earth's mass and .012 Solar masses.
All this does not exclude the possibility of such an object existing. White dwarf stars can pack a mass up to 1.4 times that of the Sun into a space the size of the Earth, so it might be possible for a smaller-mass object to be less than a thousand kilometers across. However, white dwarves are currently known to be produced only as a remnant of a supernova, not a product of nebular collapse. Were one to be located at the center of a hollow planet, its immense gravity would be much greater than that of the rocky shell, and it would pull material - both rocky and reptilian - from the inside surface into the star, potentially accreting enough additional mass that it would explode as a type 1a supernova.
It's lucky for us, then, that there is no star at the center of our planet.
Ten Somersets He'll Undertake On Solid Ground
So there you have it. With a bit of math, some research, and a teensy dose of snark, we have demonstrated that the Earth cannot possibly be hollow. And we haven't even gone into the use of seismology to determine the depth and density of the mantle and inner and outer core. But these proofs alone should be enough to convince the logic-enabled that this "theory" is nothing of the sort.
Will this stop people from believing in a Hollow Earth? Certainly not - these ridiculous fantasies will live on for as long as the reptilians allow us to keep using their top secret invention, the Internet.
Or have I said too much?
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