Fus Ro Dahs It'd Take to Stop Earth Mid-Orbit

It's no surprise that physicists sometimes like video games too, but three professors published a paper in the "Journal of Physics Special Topics" discussing how much energy Skyrim's famous shout would actually have. Being the trivia-obsessed dude I am, I immediately wanted to know how many shouts it'd take to make the Earth just stop mid-orbit. It's a lot.

The average set of human lungs can hold four liters of air. That amount of air weighs about 4.72 grams. If we take the Mach 32 figure from the physics paper of how fast the air you'd shout would need to be moving to be as powerful as we see in game, and then plug those numbers into the kinetic energy equation of .5*mass*(velocity^2), then we get 279840.34864 joules of energy. Earth, with an orbital velocity of 29.8 kilometers per second and a mass of 5.97219*(10^24) kilograms gives us the whopping 2.6517718038*(10^33) joules. Divide one by the other and you get nine billion billion billion shouts.

You're reading Numbers, a blog on Kotaku that examines games and culture through the lens of math and statistics. To contact the author of this post, write to dancstarkey@gmail.com or find him on Twitter @dcstarkey.