Challenge Team Interim Report
Team Number: 045
School Name: Las Cruces High School
Area of Science: Earth and Space Sciences
The Las Cruces High School Supercomputing Team is pleased to
present Earth, a time series simulation. While cataclysmic theories of
destruction are popular among the media, imperceptible minuscule particles
of space debris descend upon the Earth daily, drawing us closer to our
extinction. We propose to simulate the effects of accumulated mass on
Earth, specifically addressing rotation, orbit and consequently global
warming. As a result of research, however, we have discovered
inaccuracies in our initial hypotheses, shifting the focus of Earth away
from destruction due to space hazards and more towards internal dangers.
Originally, we posited the orbit of the Earth around the Sun would decrease significantly due to the accumulation of space debris, eventually causing Earth to fall into the Sun. Through investigation we have since modified this idea, concluding the orbital radius will increase in length in accordance with the natural tendency of the universe to expand. In fact, a source revealed the radius increases at a rate of 20 meters per year. Because the additional mass should not affect the orbital radius, we have come to conclude it would be highly unlikely for the Earth and the Sun to collide due to space debris. The probability we will freeze to extinction as we drift away from the Sun is more likely. On the other hand, our studies in rotation have offered new pathways for us to travel. We now believe the space debris will not affect the rotational speed of Earth as much as the friction caused by the atmosphere, although it's moment of inertia will have some impact. The new direction we have undertaken for Earth focuses primarily on the effects of the variation in rotation on Earth's environment. Because this alteration of rotational speed, the period will increase, the number of hours per day will increase, and the gravity constant should be affected. This extended day lengthens the amount of time each hemisphere is in direct sunlight, and thus is a catalyst for more extreme temperature fluctuations.
After much deliberation and research, we have modified our original hypothesis. We now realize space debris does not affect the orbital radius, but does affect the rotational velocity, and thus, various internal conditions on Earth.