So one of our readers asked us this question the other day: Is it at all possible to create 100% vacuum here on earth. If yes, how?

ANSWER

The short answer is no, we cannot achieve a perfect vacuum. Even the best pumps, like cryopumps, which actually condense gas molecules onto the pump surface, cannot get every single molecule. Even if you could capture all molecules all materials outgas slightly, meaning they emit gas particles. So you will constantly have molecules entering the chamber. Scientists use special cleaning methods, low outgas materials, and even bake hardware to try and reduce this but it still happens. We cannot even create a vacuum equal to that in outer space.

The best we can do right now is about 100 molecules per cubic centimeter. In interstellar space, it reduces to about 10 per cubic centimeter. In extragalactic space, it’s about 1-3 hydrogen atoms per cubic meter. To put that in perspective, 1 g of Hydrogen atoms would be contained in a cube 84,451 km to a side.

Even if we were able to achieve something ‘perfect’, the existence of virtual particles would still pose a problem. Virtual particles are quantum related particles that pop in and out of existence rapidly. They are not controllable in any way, and are present in every part of reality regardless of its content.

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Last Update: June 23, 2016

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