xkcd Takes a Look at How Tall You Can Build Skyscraper

Billion-Story Building

In the latest edition of What If? by xkcd, the strip seeks to answer a 4.5-year-old’s question about building a billion story skyscraper. Turns out there are all sorts of issues standing in the way of building an extremely tall tower, including money, wind, space junk, the need for elevators and the sheer weight of the building itself.

Have you ever tried to make a tower of peanut butter? It’s easy to make a little tiny one, like a blobby castle on a cracker. It will be strong enough to stay standing. But if you try to build a really big castle, the whole thing smushes flat like a pancake.

We may, however, see a similar solution in the form of a space elevator, a hypothetical cable system designed to transport goods back and forth into space.