# How Many Folds of Paper to Reach the Moon?

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Have you ever heard the myth that states that it would take 42 folds of paper to reach the moon? This concept has been around for a while, and many people still believe it to be true. But is there any scientific explanation to support this claim? In this article, we will delve into the myth of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon and explore the science behind it.

## The Myth

The myth of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon has been around for decades. It is believed that if you fold a piece of paper in half, then fold it in half again, and continue doing so 42 times, the paper would be thick enough to reach the moon. This myth has been shared widely, and many people have attempted to replicate the feat themselves.

But where did this myth come from? The origins of this myth can be traced back to a story about a young boy who asked his teacher how many times he would have to fold a piece of paper to reach the moon. The teacher allegedly responded with the 42-fold answer, which has since been passed down as a fact. However, this answer is far from the truth.

## The Science

While it may be possible to fold a piece of paper in half several times, there is a limit to how many times it can be done. As you continue to fold the paper, the thickness of the paper doubles with each fold. However, the paper also becomes increasingly difficult to fold as it becomes thicker. By the seventh fold, the paper would be so thick that it would be difficult to fold any further.

The thickness of the paper also plays a significant role in how many times it can be folded. The average piece of paper is approximately 0.1 millimeters thick. To reach the moon, the folded paper would need to be approximately 384,400 kilometers in height. At a thickness of 0.1 millimeters per fold, it would take over 42 million folds to reach this height. This is a far cry from the 42 folds that are commonly believed to be the answer.

## The Science (continued)

To put this into perspective, let’s look at the math. If we assume that a sheet of paper is 0.1 millimeters thick, then we can calculate the height of each fold. After one fold, the paper is 0.2 millimeters thick, after two folds it is 0.4 millimeters thick, and so on. By the 42nd fold, the paper is 439,804,651 kilometers high. This is over 1.1 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, which is approximately 384,400 kilometers.

So, how thick would the paper need to be to actually reach the moon? To reach the moon with just 42 folds, the paper would need to be over 1.5 billion kilometers thick. This is impossible, as the largest paper mills in the world can only produce paper that is a few millimeters thick.

## Real-world Applications

While the myth of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon may not have any real-world applications, the concept of exponential growth does. Exponential growth is a concept that is used in a variety of fields, including finance, biology, and technology.

For example, compound interest in finance is a form of exponential growth. The more money you invest, the more interest you earn, which leads to even more money being invested and more interest being earned. This cycle continues, and over time, your investments can grow exponentially.

In biology, exponential growth is used to model population growth. As a population grows, it reproduces, and the offspring go on to reproduce as well. This cycle continues, and the population grows exponentially until it reaches its carrying capacity.

In technology, exponential growth is used to model the growth of computer processing power. Over time, computer processors have become faster and more powerful, which has led to exponential growth in the capabilities of computers.

Overall, while the myth of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon may not be true, the concept of exponential growth is an important one to understand. It has applications in a variety of fields and can help us to better understand the world around us.

## Related Myths

The myth of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon is not the only myth surrounding paper folding. Another popular myth is the idea that it is impossible to fold a piece of paper in half more than eight times. While this myth may seem plausible, it is not entirely accurate. In fact, a high school student named Britney Gallivan managed to fold a piece of paper in half 12 times, disproving this myth. However, it is worth noting that the paper she used was as large as a football field.

Another related myth is the idea that folding paper can create energy. This myth suggests that if you fold a piece of paper enough times, it will create enough energy to power a light bulb or even a small motor. While it is true that some energy is required to fold the paper, it is not enough to create a significant amount of power.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, the myth of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon is just that – a myth. While it may be possible to fold a piece of paper in half several times, it is not possible to fold it enough times to reach the moon. The actual number of folds required would be in the millions, making it an impossible feat to accomplish.

The myth’s origins remain unclear, but it has been passed down for generations as a fact. However, with the science behind paper folding, it is easy to debunk this myth and understand the physical limitations of folding paper.

In modern times, this myth serves as a reminder to question the validity of information that is presented to us. It is crucial to approach facts with a critical eye and seek out scientific explanations to support them. While the concept of how many folds of paper it would take to reach the moon may seem like a fun and harmless myth, it is important to understand the science behind it and the limitations of paper folding.