Repost of a Quora answer found here.
To give a good overview of the effects lets first discuss gravity.
Every single thing emits a gravitational pull on every single other thing in the entire universe. Big or small you and everything around you is by some degree being pulled together.
It’s quite poetic to think that things beyond our comprehension are by some degree being touched by our existence. However the reality is beyond the very close the impact is so remotely small so as to be inconsequential.
The force is calculated by this equation;
Where F is our force, G is the gravitational constant, m is the mass of object 1 and 2 and r is the distance between them.
Basically the farther things are the force between gets exponentially smaller.
So to answer the question then let’s break this situation down into a few different scales of size keeping in mind how gravity and it’s impact works.
- The Really Big. Every galaxy is held together by a supermassive black hole at its center. This provides the gravitational force supporting the galaxies structure. If our home suddenly warped somewhere else this would not be affected except by some minute amount. For scale The Milky Ways supermassive black hole is known as Saggitarius A (seen below). It has the mass of 4 million of our suns. The sun is about 330,000 Earth masses and the Earth is a not paltry 5.972 × 10^24 kg. Unbelieveably there are bigger structures in the universe but for our purposes these things would not be effected. Probably. Maybe the very small deviation would cause something incredible to happen. The force change to them would be small is all.
- The Pretty Big. The sun and other cosmic structures around us would not be effected significantly. My research hasn’t yielded much. Logic says the other planets would deviate somewhat by the change in force but they’d probably settle pretty quickly into a very similar but new orbit. There are some asteroids or comets that may get new trajectories but it’s tough to say which ones or to where. There is however one exception.
- The Moon. Whichever direction the moon was travelling the second the Earth disappeared it would continue on in. If that was towards the sun, it would impact and disappear. If it was towards another planet, there would be a pretty substantial collision which would definitely effect that planets orbit. Use your imagination for the possibilities but it’s probably likely it would just sail to nowhere. As Josh Worth shows in “ ” the solar system has quite a bit of open space.
- Our Scale. Assuming everything ON Earth went to wherever we went, what does that leave? A cloud of space junk and satellites which would sort of just drift away. Perhaps that day there were some suborbital flights happening but for their sake lets assume those pilots came with us. Then the ISS… It would drift away same as the moon. But the moons big, it might get caught by something. The ISS isn’t. Like a very slow asteroid it would drift the cosmos and either impact the sun or get lost in the Kuiper belt. The solar system can seem dense when it’s layers are described but it’s not. The ISS would likely not see anything for a very long time. Or it might get caught in the orbit of the moon depending where they were relative to each other when this all went down. No matter what happened, the astronauts inside would agree it probably wouldn’t be great for their health.
Now that’s an interesting thought. But what about us? Where this gets REALLY interesting is when we think about our destination. Where are we going? Did we land in a dimension like ours? Are we in the middle of nowhere or near another sun? Can it support life (hopefully yes)? I’m going to assume by dimension it’s a different universe within the multiverse. A higher (or lower?) dimension would do something to us I don’t understand. Can matter like us even exist in the fourth dimension or beyond. I’m not really sure, so I’ll go ahead and make that assumption.
So let’s explore a few options to us. Since we don’t know what other universes could be like I’ll assume they have different variables for similar parameters. This is gonna get pretty ethereal so use your imagination.
- Nowhere. Earth appears in the middle of nowhere. Could be nowhere but in somewhere with different rules or nowhere here in our universe. Either way the end is swift. Hopefully we hit the cosmic powerball and appear somewhere familiar.
- Somewhere Familiar. We appear near a familiar sun in a dimension with similar enough variables to support life. We don’t appear near enough to anything to force a cataclysmic collision. We’re in the goldilocks zone and get a stable rotation. Without a moon we’d have no tilt, our tides would function differently and the seasons would change. So we still might not be set. But as far as humanity having the best shot of survival this appears to be the case.
- Near Someone Benevolent. Maybe other universes have other lifeforms that are more advanced than us. Maybe it’s a birthday party out somewhere in the cosmos and we accidentally crash it with our sudden appearance and all. Like a ship lost at sea they feel for us and help us survive. What a party! Humanity is given a small place to stay and survive and we confusedly begin our new lives. Life continues but is weird. They could also be malovelent and enslave us but if they’re advanced enough to help I’m not sure what use we’d be.
- Somewhere Really Weird. Perhaps we land somewhere where everything is different. Then one of two things happen. We rapidly expire collectively in one poetic moment of mass confusion, or we don’t. If we don’t, why? Things are different. Now we need to know what’s different. No one is near us, so we can’t “ask”. So we start testing and hope. It’s possible we’re being slowly poisoned or something but we’re not sure. We’d still have air, water and food. Assuming our ozone was a sufficient radiation shield we could keep going. But we wouldn’t know. Life would worriedly continue.
- Inside Of Something. Is this possible or within the rules? Would our matter mix with theirs? How would our atoms react? I’m not sure if it’s even possible to test this today. What if it’s really big like a black hole? Or a little bit of our Earth is inside of an asteroid? Would that create some weird gravitational anomaly if the matter combined in mass? Who knows. Again, given the scale of space this isn’t particularly likely.
Space is really vast. I think it’s common to not really get what that means.
Imagine a 10m cube. It’s an attractive box. Nice edges, finely crafted. This box is our universe. Inside of it is everything inside of ours. Imagine you’re looking at the box as you would look at a real 10m box . What would you see?
It’s interesting. You wouldn’t see “anything”. You would only see the absence of things. It would be empty. Not empty, full of gas. Literally empty. This is what’s called “dark matter”. It’s almost all of the universe. Matter would be so small it would be indistinguishable. Invisible. Without a much closer inspection the universe would appear to be empty.
But we’re in there. All of humanity is. These supermassive black holes are in there. Although they don’t seem so massive anymore.
The Universe is Mostly Empty
So if the Earth suddenly appeared somewhere in our universe. We would almost definitely appear in the middle of nowhere. Have no idea of where we are and be powerless to do anything about it.
Although it may not seem it, humanity is very fragile and very short lived. That’s why expansion is so vital. We need to ensure the continuity of intelligence and expansion is the best method we know of today. It may seem like a long endless process and on the scale of our lifetimes it is. But on a larger scale it’s really not.
Humanity is 40,000 years old. In 1873 the engine was invented and then by only 1969 we got to THE MOON. That’s an insane speed of progress and we’re getting faster. That’s awesome and something essential humanity unites behind. Progress is possible and it’s only limited by our ability to unite resources and belief.
And there’s no better time to start than today – right now.
TL;DR Space is virtually empty. If we suddenly moved somewhere random. It would be catastrophic for the people left behind and those who moved. We’re fragile so let’s start building redundancies today.
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