What kind of tolerances would a vehicle need to reach the earth's core?

Watching The Core got me curious about the technical challenges in getting to the center of the earth. Is there anything about Virgil that was even remotely accurate?

No.

Something tells me that the tolerances wouldn’t have to be any tighter than they are for the typical family sedan, probably +/-.0005" or so for the more critical measurements. Someone may be along with the actual, practically impossible, requirements.

(‘Tolerances’ are basically the acceptable margin of error around a measurement in machine work.)

The pressure at the surface of the inner core is about a million atmospheres, and the temperature is about 7000 degrees fahrenheit. To contrast, the pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench is a mere 1200 atmospheres. Or, in other units, the Marianas Trench has a pressure of 8 tons per square inch, while (if I did my math right) the surface of the inner core has a pressure of about 7000 tons per square inch. Needless to say, we’re nowhere near being capable of building something that could withstand that pressure. Oh, and by the way, 7000 degrees Fahrenheit is approaching the temperature of the surface of the sun.

The primary requirement for a vehicle to tunnel to the earth’s core is suspension of disbelief.

You would also need some form of ray-gun to zap all the flying saucers inside.

I liked how they named the material the ship was made out of “unobtainium.” A pretty funny engineering in-joke, I think, that indicates the lack of seriousness with which the movie says you’re supposed to regard the story.

Any glimpses of Pellucidar down there in this movie? We never did find von Horst.

Another difficulty would be that the Earth’s mantle isn’t solid rock…the mantle, as I understand it, is molten rock…magma.

So it’d have to be more of a weird-ass “submarine” than a “mechanical mole.”

And it would probably have to be the size of Manhattan, just to keep a crew alive in a cabin the size of a Learjet.

No problem. Ray-guns of sufficient death causing power have been available since the 1920’s.

And you wouldn’t believe how much the shock absorbers cost for that son of a bitch.

Incubus, our good friend Phil Plait has details of the bad science in The Core that you might find interesting.