If you fold paper 42 times, it will reach the moon: true or false

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel explained the logic of paper folding calculations

There are many amazing facts circulating on the Internet that gullible users are encouraged to take for granted. Special effects experts Jamie Gaineman and Adam Savage have made a career out of fact-checking with their show "Mythbusters". Their fame has been a source of trouble for many, so other Internet fact-checking enthusiasts are continuing their work.

So on the Science Blog platform, astrophysics professor Ethan Siegel decided to check the claim that if you fold paper in half 42 times, you get a stack that will reach the moon. He based his calculations on the obvious fact that the stack becomes twice as thick after it is folded in half.

"I don't know how thick a sheet of paper is, but I know it's quite thin. However, I can estimate how big the 500 sheets are. They're about 2 inches tall, so it's probably about 5 cm. That means one page is about 0.01 cm high," the scientist calculated.

He then compared that length to the distance from Earth to the Moon, which is about 384,000 km. In pages, that comes out to 3.84 pages multiplied by 10 to the 12th power. "So, you expect it's going to take a lot of bending to get there, right? Now, wait a second. When I start with the page unfolded (zero folds) it is one page thick. When I fold the page once, it's two pages thick.But - and this is the main thing - when I fold it twice, it comes out not three, but four pages thick. If I fold it a third time, I see that it is eight pages thick. So if I fold it a fourth time, it will be 16 pages thick, the fifth time it will be 32 pages thick, and so on," Siegel explained the logic of calculation.

According to his data, the paper folded 9 times will already exceed the original stack of 500 sheets. When the folds are 20, the sheet folded in this way will be more than 10 kilometers high, which is already higher than Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.

"41 folds will get me to a place just over halfway to the moon, which means 42 folds is all I need!" the scientist summed up. Consequently, his calculations prove that the curious fact was also true. Moreover, he calculated that 94 folds of paper would be enough to make a stack the size of the entire visible universe.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that physically folding a piece of paper more than 7-8 times would not really work. And this fact was checked at one time by the Mythbusters. They found that even a huge sheet of 51.8 x 67.1 meters can be folded in half without special tools only 8 times. Even thin tracing paper they bent without difficulty 8 times, and with effort - 9 times.

OBOZREVATEL previously told about a rare phenomenon called the "eye of God", which was photographed in the UK.

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