Earth — the blue marble — is our spherical home. But what if Earth were flat? After all, some people truly believe in this retrograde idea. How would everyday life function? Would it function at all? We explore how much of an oddball, or “oddslice” Earth would be if it were flat and whether there are any advantages to living on a strange disk with the sun and moon rotating overhead like a cosmic carousel.
Say goodbye to gravity (at least as we know it)
On spherical Earth, gravity tugs equally on objects no matter where in the world they are. For Earth to take the shape of a flat disk in the first place, gravity — as we know it — must be having no effect. If it did, it would soon pull the planet back into a spheroid.
Maybe a flat-Earth would have no gravity at all, as a solid disk-like Earth would not be possible under actual gravity conditions, according to calculations in the 1850s by mathematician and physicist James Clerk Maxwell.