Elon Musk has NOT commented on mysterious gravity related to Sri Lanka!  - Factcrescendo Sri Lanka - English

Elon Musk has NOT commented on mysterious gravity related to Sri Lanka! – Factcrescendo Sri Lanka – English

Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, is no stranger to making international headlines with his controversial statements and actions. However, some media users are using this business tycoon’s popularity to insinuate bizarre and false claims on Elon Musk’s behalf in order to garner more attention.

The Factcrescendo Sri Lanka team came across a misleading viral video about low gravity in Sri Lanka attributed to Elon Musk. However, our team discovered that this was another hoax.

Social Media Posts

A video titled “Elon Musk explained the mysterious gravity of Sri Lanka“claimed that it would cost around $190,000 less for SpaceX to launch a mission from Sri Lanka than from Florida, USA. The video claims that the lower operating costs are due to the low gravitational forces in Sri Lanka. The full video can be seen below.


And we noticed that some users share YouTube link of the same video via Facebook. facebook| Archived. The YouTube video with the same claim can be seen below.


fact check

First we watched the entire video. Although the video title attributed the claim to Elon Musk, there was no voice cut or video clip referring to Elon Musk throughout the three and a half minute footage.

The video creator uses a photo of Elon Musk as the video thumbnail. This implies that the claims of a spacecraft using less fuel due to the lower gravitational forces in Sri Lanka were made by business magnate and SpaceX owner Elon Musk.

We checked if there are international media reports about Elon Mask explaining the topic “mysterious gravity and Sri Lanka”. However, we could not find any such statements.

Origins of the low gravity claim on Sri Lanka

We have determined that the source of this content dates back to a 2019 Medium article written by a Sri Lankan writer, Indrajith Samarajiva. Full article here. Archived.

In his article, Samarajiva explains the reasons for the dark blue region, which coincides directly with Sri Lanka due to the water-rich material overlying the dehydrated remnants of long-subducted tectonic plates.

However, since the article did not mention the above image as a snapshot of Earth’s global surface mass anomalies, many associated with Sri Lanka have misinterpreted this data. Based on this map, claims went viral a few years ago that Sri Lanka, more specifically Ruwanweli Maha Stupa, is the most powerful place in the entire universe as claimed by NASA. Read our Sinhala fact check on these claims below.

FACT CHECK: විශ්වයේ බලසම්පන්නම රුවන්වැලි බව නාසා නාසා ආයතනය ද ද?

Reasons for changing low gravity areas

Below is an excerpt from an article explaining the above map and related theories.

“Scientists have found a new explanation for several low-gravity sites discovered around the world. They blame giant “slab cemeteries” for the anomalies buried deep near the planet’s core.

When these slabs of rock were buried long ago, they released water that reduced the density of the overlying rock, Caltech geophysicist Michael Gurnis and his colleagues reported online May 9 in Nature Geoscience. Rocks with low density have less mass and therefore less gravity Pullover.”

Wired | archived

The above finding is consistent with the universal gravitational equation. The pull of gravity is directly related to the mass of both objects and is inversely proportional to the square of the distance separating their centers. Newton’s conclusion about the magnitude of the gravitational forces is summarized symbolically below.

In this scenario, two masses affect an object in space. One is that of the object, the other is the mass of the earth directly below. As the Earth’s mass changes due to internal currents, the gravitational pull also changes and the acceleration of gravity changes accordingly. The mass of the earth is directly proportional to the acceleration due to gravity. More details can be found here. Archived.

Clarification from NASA

For further clarification, we inquired about this claim from NASA. In an email response, NASA’s Office of Communications confirmed that the widely shared map shown above belonged to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) mission, which it had only two months on Data presented since 2010. In addition, NASA clarified that the data in this image is constantly updated with changes in Earth’s gravity and water flow.

All of this information from the satellites is used to create monthly maps of Earth’s average gravitational field, which provide details of how mass, in most cases water, moves around the planet. Understanding the subtle variations in the Earth’s gravitational field is necessary to provide clues as to how the ice in Greenland and Antarctica is changing, how the amount of water in river basins and oceans is changing, what is causing sea level rise, and even the effects of large ones We have earthquakes on our planet.”, Added NASA in email reply.

NASA’s communications office further explained that the latest map from here could be taken from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE-FO) project. We noticed that the current August 2022 map is quite different from that of viral social media posts. The satellite image of the recent gravity map can also be reached from here.

The global surface mass anomalies observed by the GRACE-FO satellites for August 2022 are indicated on the map above. It does NOT show dark blue (low gravity area) corresponding to Sri Lanka.

We also checked ESA’s website for the map of viral social media posts. And were able to find out the 2010 article related to the viral social media card. The article can be read here. Archived.

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According to our investigation, Elon Musk had said nothing related to Sri Lanka’s lower gravity and the possibility of launching SpaceX space missions from the island nation compared to the US.

These claims were based on a map highlighted in an article published in 2019. However, NASA confirms that the map represents global surface mass anomalies observed by the GRACE-FO satellites for two months in 2010 and that the data is constantly changing. We have noted that the most recent data also does not show a significant area of ​​low gravity associated with Sri Lanka, as mass, in most cases internal water, is constantly moving around the planet; the gravity of a given point is not permanent and changes dynamically. This is not a mysterious phenomenon and can be explained by scientific theories.


Title:Elon Musk has NOT commented on mysterious gravity related to Sri Lanka!

Fact check by: Kalana Krishantha

Result: Misleading

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