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Q&A

If this earth were cube shaped would it be possible during Magellanic era using a float ship to figure out that the earth is cube shaped?

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If this earth were cubed shape would it be possible for Magellan to prove that the earth is cube-shaped without going to space and looking at earth?

It might seem strange to think that earth might be shaped like a cube. Remember I am not saying perfect cube but rounded cube at the edge. Do you remember Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko where spacecraft Rosetta landed? It was odd shaped. So couldn't earth be odd shaped other than a sphere? If Magellan had to prove what the shape of the earth is like that then would it be possible for him to prove that earth is cube-shaped using his floating ship? I just want to know if it were possible.

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This post was sourced from https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/123482. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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So couldn't earth be odd shaped other than a sphere?

No. Something the size of the earth has significant gravity. There isn't material strong enough over large distances to result in anything more than a slightly wrinkled surface for an earth-sized object. Put another way, the vertexes of the cube would be very high mountains that wouldn't stay that way very long, let alone a mechanism to create such mountains in the first place.

If the earth were scaled to the size of a ping-pong ball, it would be much smoother than a ping-pong ball.

Note that even the significantly smaller moon is still much more rounded than a cube. The comet you are referring to has an odd shape that hasn't collapsed to a ball because it is so small. The adhesion of its material is much stronger relative to the comet's tiny gravity, than piles of rocks are relative to earth's 1 g gravity.

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The shape of the Earth is mostly a result of its gravity pulling its mass into the most efficient shape available. The oceans are also pulled towards the centre of mass, and collect on the lowest parts of the surface - covering a huge area to a depth of only a few miles because the planet is so smooth.

If Earth managed to be sufficiently rigid and hold a cube shape, its gravity would still pull on average towards its centre of mass, which would be the centre of the cube. Any water would pool in the middle of the flat faces of the cube to form roundish oceans.

The ocean(s) would bulge outwards as if trying to form parts of a sphere. The gravity of the corners and vertices of the planet would flatten the bulge a bit, but they'd be a lot deeper (and therefore narrower) than the current oceans. Unless there was far more water available, they would never reach the vertices of the cube so a boat couldn't sail from one face to another.

You could think of it as a spherical planet with several enormous, wide ridges reaching several hundred miles high. As well as the water, the atmosphere would pool in the lower regions (middle of the cube face(s)), so five of the cube's faces are probably inaccessible to humans until they learn to make pressurised vehicles.

Your explorer might be able to determine the shape of the world by other means. Ancient Greek-style geometry could be used to prove that the sea curves and the land doesn't, but confirming that it's a cube rather than, for example, a square-based pyramid would have to wait until someone crossed a vertex.

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Other means: eclipses (2 comments)

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