What would that look like? Would everything else be big along with it? Would humans be giants? How different would your life be?
It all comes down to gravity. It’s the natural phenomenon that pulls all things with mass towards one another. It’s why the planets orbit the sun, why the moon orbits the earth, why we stay right where we are. When doubling the size of our planet, we’ll assume its density remains constant.
This means that everything on Earth would increase in size proportionately to the space it currently takes up. Put simply: shift-click-drag Pretty cool, eh? Unfortunately, bigger isn’t always better… If you were expecting a bigger house or a bigger car when the world doubled in size, well, let’s just say the reality will be a huge let down – literally.
With the Earth twice its original size, it will have eight times as much mass, and gravity will be twice as strong. Your scale will read double of what you expected; since your weight is determined by how much gravity is pulling on you. Try as you might to lose weight, you can now, truly, blame the world for your problems.
Aside from experiencing a sudden decrease in stamina, your vision would also be impaired. An increase in pressure on your skull would morph your eyeballs and impede their functionality. Your life expectancy would almost certainly decline, since the extra gravitational force would pull on your internal organs and vital fluids.
Your heart, for example, would have to work twice as hard just to circulate blood to your upper body – including your brain. Trees and plants would collapse under their own weight, including the food crops we rely on. Not good, since we’d suddenly have to eat twice as much to match our increased energy consumption.
Many would die in the ensuing food crisis, and only the strongest people would actually be able to walk. In fact, much of the animal kingdom would suffer the same fate. Larger creatures would be coping with severe energy deficiencies – they would lose their speed advantage over smaller prey, and would have difficulty covering long distances during migration.
Over time nature could evolve to cope with these changes. Humans and animals alike would grow bigger bones to support the extra weight, but our bodies would shrink under the increased pressure. Vegetation would evolve too, it would shrink to reducing the amount of energy needed to circulate water and vital nutrients.
A potential bonus is that the world would be a whole lot warmer if it doubled in size. The Earth would have a bigger core and more unstable elements in its crust – allowing more heat to reach the surface. The biggest problem here would be the sharp increase in volcanic activity, which is fine, if you don’t mind living in Mordor…
Luckily, it’s a small world after all. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t dream big.