What If the World Lost Oxygen for Five Seconds
Imagine if all the earth's oxygen disappeared, not forever, just for, say, five seconds. Would we just hold our breath? What would happen to the atmosphere? What would happen to the environment? This is What If, and here's what would happen if the world lost oxygen for just five seconds.
想像一下，整個地球的氧氣都消失了，不是永遠消失，只是五秒鐘。我們會在那五秒中憋氣嗎？大氣會有怎麼樣的變化？環境會有什麼變化？你現在正在收看 What If，接下來將會告訴你地球短短五秒沒有氧氣會發生什麼事。
Take a nice, deep breath. Feel how satisfying that is? What you're breathing in is oxygen. That takes up roughly 21 percent of our atmosphere, with 78 percent being nitrogen. Although it's not the most abundant gas in our atmosphere, it is the most important. Without oxygen, plants, animals, water, and us humans wouldn't be where we are today.
深深吸一口氣。有感覺那多令人滿足嗎？你吸進去的是氧氣。氧氣約佔大氣的 21%，而大氣的 78% 是氮氣。雖然氧氣並非大氣中比重最重的氣體，但卻是最重要的。沒有了氧氣，植物、動物、水和我們人類也不會存在於此。
Five seconds may not sound like a whole lot of time to be without oxygen. Most of us can go at least 30 seconds without taking a breath, so it would happen too fast for your body to even notice. Your breathing would actually remain normal. But as for everything else? Not so much.
In just five seconds, the earth would look completely different. Without oxygen, you can say goodbye to the Hoover Dam, the Pantheon Dome and anything else made of concrete. These structures would instantly collapse. Oxygen acts as a special binding agent to concrete. Without it, concrete is just dust.
Speaking of buildings, any untreated metal would instantly be fused together. This is because there's a layer of oxidation on metals that prevents them from welding together. Without that layer, metals would instantly bind to each other.
If you happen to be relaxing at the beach at the time, expect a severe sunburn. The ozone layer, our protection against the sun's UV rays, is made of oxygen. Take away the oxygen, and the earth would become extremely dangerous. There would be nothing protecting us from the sun's UV rays.
In addition to a sunburn, our inner ear would explode. Losing oxygen means losing 21 percent of our air pressure. A change in air pressure that drastic is equivalent to being at sea level and dropping down 2,000 meters instantly. Our ears wouldn't have enough time to adapt.
除了曬傷之外，我們的內耳也會爆炸。氧氣消失的意思就是少了 21% 的氣壓。氣壓如此劇變就等於從海平面瞬間往下掉兩千公尺。我們的耳朵會沒有足夠的時間適應氣壓的改變。
Having a good time yet? Well, don't expect it to last long.
Without oxygen, there's no fire. The combustion process in vehicles wouldn't be able to occur. Any mode of transport that isn't electric would automatically fail. Planes will fall from the sky, and millions of cars will be stopped in their tracks.
The sky would be completely dark. Before it hits the earth, light from the sun bounces off multiple particles in the air. Without oxygen in the atmosphere, there are less things to bounce off, and the sky will appear dark.
Oh yeah, and while all this is happening, the earth's crust would completely crumble. That's because Earth's crust is made up of 45-percent oxygen. The crust would crumble and continue to crumble until that's nothing left, sending you and everyone on the planet into a free fall.
Sound like fun? Probably not. But luckily, you can take a deep breath of 21-percent oxygen, knowing this will never happen.
For more things that are fun to speculate on, keep checking back with What If.
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