A couple of years ago I posted a blog post regarding the number of blimps required to hold a certain volume of gas. One of the respondent's was really questioning the reason why I chose the metric and question in general. In his comment, he stated: "Why blimps? Why Helium? Why not calculate the amount of M&M candy's required to reach the Moon from Earth?" It is time to address his question below.
What Are The Dimensions Of M&M Candy's?
To start the analysis, we need to know what the dimension of a single M&M candy is? In the past blog post with calculations, I have chosen 'Google' to find information. Following that format, we can start by typing into Google the question: What are the dimensions of an m&m candy? The answer is shown below:
Wow! The internet has so much information. A single M&M candy is 1.04 centimeter. That is a conversion factor which we can use in dimensional analysis. Conversion factors are displayed as follows:
If we want to know the distance in units of M&M candies, the conversion factor above can be used. In our current problem, we want to know how many M&M candies would be required to form a straight line from Earth to the Moon. In order to figure that number out, we need to know the distance from Earth to the Moon.
Distance Between Earth and Moon?
The distance from Earth to the Moon can be found out by asking Google. Insert the following question: What is the distance between Earth and the Moon in meters? The answer is shown below:
The distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384.4 million meters. Notice how we asked a question specifically calling for the answer to be expressed in units of meters? The answer must be in units of meters because the unit of measurement of an M&M candy is expressed in units of meters.
Our analysis is almost finished. To arrive at a final answer, take the total distance from Earth to the Moon (in meters) and divide by the length of a single M&M candy (in meters) as shown below:
The answer indicates a total of 3.7 billion M&M candies would be needed to form a single line from Earth to the Moon. Our results are summarized below:
With the methodology above, many different types of questions involving dimensional analysis can be asked (and answered too). Analyses like the one above give the reader experience in handling large numbers. Large numbers typically only seen in science research or classes in college. Although, the analysis above mimics questions and answers which are useful in scientific research. See what questions and answers you can come up with using the above methodology. Science is fun. Have fun with it.
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