Could The Flash Launch a Rocket Out of Earth's Atmosphere?

Monday, 05 September 2016 - 2:20PM
Physics
Monday, 05 September 2016 - 2:20PM
Could The Flash Launch a Rocket Out of Earth's Atmosphere?
Ridiculously nerdy question of the day: if The Flash acted as rocket fuel by literally running out the back of a rocket, could he escape Earth's gravitational pull? In the latest episode of Because Science, Nerdist's Kyle Hill explores whether Barry Allen could theoretically "become a one-man SpaceX" and launch a rocket into space single-handedly.


In the above video, Hill explains that the escape velocity, or the velocity at which you need to be traveling to escape Earth's atmosphere, is 11.2 km/s. And since rockets launch based on equal and opposite reactions, and Barry only weighs approximately 88kg, he would need to run out of the back of the rocket at 1620 km/s, or four million miles per hour. To put that in perspective, that's .5 percent the speed of light. And realistically, it would need to be even faster than this as a result of air resistance, but this is the bare minimum velocity that he would need to have. 

But since The Flash is sci-fi, aside from the fact that humans obviously don't make the best rocket fuel, it's theoretically possible. In the comics, he has run so fast that he can change the color of his suit by blue shifting, which would likely be faster than four million miles per hour. So it's canonically possible for Barry to act as rocket fuel—if he wouldn't get burned to a crisp.
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