HomeNews & LifestyleCan You Really Fold A Paper 42 Times To Reach The Moon?

Can You Really Fold A Paper 42 Times To Reach The Moon?

If You Fold A Paper 42 Times, Will You Reach The Moon?

In short, yes. If you fold a paper 42 times it would stretch all the way up to the moon.

Only thing I’m thinking is: 42 times doesn’t sound like a lot of folds. How the heck will it possibly reach the moon? And how many times can you even fold a piece of paper anyways?

That’s where the power of exponential function comes in. What’s exponential function, you ask?

Let’s explore that, as it relates to folding paper and reaching the moon.

How The Mind-Bending Mathematical Theory Works

fold a paper 42 times
Image: @foldedsideproject on Instagram

The power of exponential function comes into play in this absolutely mind-blowing theory. The exponential function originated from the notion of exponentiation (repeated multiplication), and helps to explain how 42 folds of a paper can take you to the moon. If you could climb up paper, that is.

Doubling the thickness of paper with each fold can add up pretty darn quick. The exponential increase doesn’t really mean much in the beginning, but after awhile, the numbers stack up.

fold paper 42 times
Image: Science.com

This, my friends, is the power of exponential function. It’s so powerful it will literally take you to the moon.

How Many Times Can You Actually Fold A Piece Of Paper

fold a paper 42 times
Image: @origamifreak247 on Instagram

Another argument in this whole paper-folding theory is that you can’t really fold paper that much. After you hit around 4, 5, or maybe 6 folds, the paper becomes more and more impossible to fold.

As you can imagine, many people have played with the concept. Once you fold a piece of paper a third time, it’s eight sheets thick. So, if you fold it a fourth time, it will be 16 pages thick. A fifth fold will create a 32-page-thick paper, and so on.

Right around here is where you’ll start running into some problems. Feel free to try it yourself. It becomes so thick that you can’t create a crease, and of course a crumpled ball of paper doesn’t count… nor will it ever reach the moon.

A group of students put the theory to the test, and used a 13,000 foot-long roll of toilet paper. Smart right? It’s nice and thin, so you’d think it could fold easily.

They managed to achieve an incredible 13 folds, which is impressive because it made a world record… but it doesn’t sound that magnificent. If they’d been able to fold it 29 times more, they could have made it to the moon!

Bring In The Hydraulic Press!

fold paper 42 times
Image: @societyofbookbinders on Instagram

When it comes to folding regular paper, it’s hard to tell the true limits with just your hands. Because of this, some people attempted to fold a piece of paper more than seven times with a hydraulic press.

To be honest, the result is really strange. You can go here to check it out for yourself. What happens appears to completely defy logic.

I think when it comes down to it, paper doesn’t want to be folded more than seven times. Toilet paper is a bit more flexible. But we won’t be reaching the moon anytime soon via paper.


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