# How much energy would it take

to accelerate a macroscopic object to the speeds reached by protons at the LHC? want to accelerate an object the size of the ISS to the speed of subatomic particles in a collider. I would like to know how much energy would be required.

berkeman
Mentor
to accelerate a macroscopic object to the speeds reached by protons at the LHC? want to accelerate an object the size of the ISS to the speed of subatomic particles in a collider. I would like to know how much energy would be required.
Why?

Why?
I'm just curious how difficult it would be to accelerate a macroscopic object to speeds were relativistic effects become significant. The ISS is a big object, so I assume making igo as fast as the 'oh my god' particle would be difficult, to say the least.

The maximum energy that the LHC can give to a proton is 7TeV, the rest energy of a proton is 0.938 GeV, so you need about 7400 times the rest energy to accelerate something to LHC speed.

This means about 7.4 * (10^3) * c^2 times the mass, so 6*10^21 J/kg. That's about 10 times the yearly world energy consumption for each kg. The ISS weighs more than 4*10^5 kg.

Elementary particles can be accelerated easily in a particle accelerator, because their electric charge is so large compared to their weight. This won't work with macroscopic objects, because they consist of both positive and negative charges, and any charge imbalance has to be tiny, or the charge will just fly off.