Since the dawn of humanity, people have dreamed of reaching to the skies. Whether it be manned flight, conquering mountaintops, and building ever-taller skyscrapers, humankind has always worked to find ways to to overcome the omnipresent force of gravity.
Advancements in aviation and engineering would not have been possible without the development of lightweight materials such as aluminum and titanium.
More recently, scientists have engineered ultra-light carbon nanomaterials — metals which are in some cases one hundred times lighter than styrofoam. Just as humans first learned to chisel rocks and later to shape metals, ingenuities that gave us anything from the pyramids to the Golden Gate Bridge, developments in materials science will likely lead to innovations yet to be imagined. (We have NASA to thank for some — these are 30 NASA inventions we still use today.)
To identify the planet’s most lightweight, low-density objects, 24/7 Tempo considered first the lightest objects of their type. With the help of Guinness World Records and a range of internet sources, we found various notable lightweight objects, including the world’s lightest robot, car, bicycle, coin, cell phone, laptop, and more.
But this list would be incomplete without also considering the lightest objects in absolute terms. Atoms are often called the building blocks of matter, but a single atom of Uranium, for example, is far heavier than a single atom of hydrogen. Such absolutely lightest objects in the universe and on Earth are also included here.
Particles even smaller than atoms, such as electrons, quarks, and neutrinos, are even lighter than single atoms. Photons, the elementary particles of light, have no mass at all yet can still exert force on atoms.