Digging to the center of the Earth has been a topic of conversation for a long time. No matter how many times we are told by scientists that it is currently impossible, many of us still allow our minds to wander and our imaginations to run wild thinking about what would happen if we actually could dig all the way to the center of our planet. If it was possible, it would certainly be a huge undertaking and it would be full of danger, risk, challenges, and some major obstacles to overcome.
It’s a Long Way Down
A lot of people probably don’t realize how far away the center of the Earth actually is. The Earth’s core is around 1800 miles beneath the surface. That is an incredibly long way to dig so it would take a huge amount of time and effort to make it all the way to the center. Being that far away would also pose difficulty in the logistics of the dig. You would need lots of equipment to dig through the Earth which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem until you got a few miles down.
Imagine digging a hole hundreds of miles deep - how would you get equipment in and out? How would you control the machinery from that distance? What happens if something went wrong but you were hundreds of miles away from where the issue was taking place? The distance needed to be covered to dig to the center of the Earth is an obstacle we are not currently close to overcoming.
New Technology Would Be Needed
Our current technological and mechanical levels are not sufficient to dig to the center of the Earth. The deepest hole we have ever dug is the Kola Superdeep Borehole which is around 7.5 miles deep. Not only is this nowhere near the 1800 miles we would need to go to reach the Earth’s core, but it also took around 20 years to make it that far.
The digging at the Kola Superdeep Borehole had to be stopped partly due to lack of funding but there was also the issue of temperatures reaching 356°F which was over 100°F higher than expected at that depth. With temperatures that hot, it was not possible to continue digging any deeper.
Temperature and Pressure Are Extremely High
At less than 8 miles below the surface of the Earth, temperatures reached 356°F. At the depths of the core, temperatures would be over 10,000°F which is far hotter than we are able to deal with. The pressure at the core would also be immense at around 3.6 million atmospheres.
To put that into perspective, a deep-sea submarine usually experiences no more than 60 atmospheres of pressure at its deepest level so, again, we are currently nowhere near the levels we would need to reach the center of the Earth.
It Would Cost an Unbelievable Amount of Money
Money would be a huge factor in any mission to dig to the center of the Earth. An accurate figure can not be predicted but we can use previous funding for deep digs to see how much of a financial commitment it would be to reach the center of the planet.
It has been estimated that to make it through the thinnest layer of Earth (the crust) would cost around $1 billion. There was a previous mission to dig just 3.7 miles beneath the seafloor which was also thought to cost around $1 billion so the true cost to get to the core would likely exceed any amount of money the entire planet could realistically afford.