Edmund Hillary had it easy

Classical Mechanics Level 2

Climbing to the top of Mount Everest is hard, but it's slightly easier than you might think as people weigh less as they climb to the top. Let \(W_E\) be a person's weight on top of Mount Everest and \(W_S\) be their weight at sea level. What is the value of \(1-W_E/W_S\)?

Details and assumptions

  • Assume the earth (other than Everest) is a sphere of mass \(6 \times 10^{24}~\mbox{kg}\) and radius \(6,370~\mbox{km}\).
  • The top of Mount Everest is \(8,848~\mbox{m}\) above the surface of the earth.

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