A flea is able to jump about 0.5 m. It has been said that if a flea were as big as a human, it would be able to jump over a 100-story building! When an animal jumps, it converts work done in contracting muscles into gravitational potential energy (with some steps in between). The maximum force exerted by a muscle is proportional to its cross-sectional area, and the work done by the muscle is this force times the length of contraction. If we magnified a flea by a factor of 1 000, the cross section of its muscle would increase by 1 0002 and the length of contraction would increase by 1 000. How high would this “superflea” be able to jump? (Don’t forget that the mass of the “superflea” increases as well.)
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