There hasn’t been much in the way of good news lately when it comes to the bushfires that are ravaging our country. But we got a rare glimmer of wholesomeness when the NSW government announced “Operation Rock Wallaby.”
The operation goal is simple: the bushfires has made it difficult for the surviving wildlife to find food so the NSW government is going to help animals – particularly the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallabies – get fed by airdropping thousands of kgs of sweet potatoes and carrots over burned areas.
Supplying food to our struggling wildlife is fantastic but I couldn’t help but wonder if Operation Rock Wallaby was the safest thing to do. Raining carrots and sweet potatoes seems a bit… dangerous, particularly for smaller animals.
So in an attempt to assuage my fears over wallabies getting knocked the f**k out by a sweet potato, I decided to do some rough math on just how fast those carrots and sweet potatoes are hurtling to the ground from helicopters.
Let’s assume that an average carrot weighs 100 grams and an average sweet potato weighs on 300 grams. Given the severity of the bushfires and smoke, let’s also assume that the vegetables are being dropped from helicopters at an altitude of about 1km for simplicity’s sake.
Given how sweet potatoes and carrots are generally long, bumpy cylinders in shape, let’s assume an air resistance coefficient of 0.42. With all those rough assumptions and the help of an online freefall calculator, the velocity of those tonnes of carrots and sweet potatoes being dropped out of helicopters is:
- A 100g carrot will fall at a velocity of 5.5km/h
- A 300g sweet potato will fall at a velocity of 9.5km/h
That’s not exactly slow but it’s also surprisingly not as fast as I was expecting. Having said that though, it’s not nothing either as getting smacked in the face with a sweet potato coming down from the sky at 10km/h won’t kill you but it’ll definitely hurt quite a bit.
Taking into account how the animals in the bushfire-ravaged areas are much smaller than the average human being, there’s definitely a possibility that a poor wallaby may have gotten knocked the f**k out by a sweet potato from the sky.
Extrapolating further, there’s also a possibility of a carrot accidentally poking some poor animal’s eye out or a sweet potato knocking a poor bird or koala from its tree.
It must be said that these numbers should all be taken with a grain of salt as they’re no way rooted in anything scientific or even mathematically correct and was purely done because I was curious more than anything else.
But jokes aside, it is genuinely heartwarming to see Operation Rock Wallaby in full flow given how the bushfires have devastated our wildlife. If anything, I hope all these dumb calculations entertained people at the very least because we could all use a bit of levity during these tough times.
Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.