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At 18,000 feet, atmospheric pressure is about half of what it is at sea level. Thus, I would suspect that at 36,000 feet atmospheric pressure would be zero. However, this isn’t the case. Atmospheric pressure doesn’t reach zero until infinity; in other words, an infinite number of feet above sea level. That’s a lot farther than 36,000. How is this possible?

In this chapter, we discussed the atmosphere in terms of pressure, density, temperature, composition, and the various layers. I’m confused about a couple things. Please explain them to me:

  • At 18,000 feet, atmospheric pressure is about half of what it is at sea level. Thus, I would suspect that at 36,000 feet atmospheric pressure would be zero. However, this isn’t the case. Atmospheric pressure doesn’t reach zero until infinity; in other words, an infinite number of feet above sea level. That’s a lot farther than 36,000. How is this possible?

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