Big bang theory: Physics students disprove movie doomsday solution

Posted by pt91 at Aug 07, 2012 02:25 PM |
If an asteroid really was on its way, could we take a cue from the disaster movie Armageddon in order to save the planet?
Big bang theory: Physics students disprove movie doomsday solution

Asteroid 243 Ida (not currently heading for Earth). Credit: NASA/JPL

According to science research carried out by University of Leicester physics students though, the answer is definitely “no”.

In the film, a team of engineers drills to the centre of an asteroid and detonate a nuclear weapon, splitting it in half and saving the world. 

Using the measurements and properties of the asteroid as stated in the film, the formula revealed that 800 trillion terajoules of energy would be required to split the asteroid in two with both pieces clearing the planet. They also found that scientists would have to detect the asteroid much earlier if we were to have any chance of splitting the asteroid in time.

Department of Physics and Astronomy students Ben Hall, Gregory Brown, Ashley Back and Stuart Turner found that the device would need to be about a billion times stronger than the biggest bomb ever detonated on Earth – the Soviet Union’s 50 megaton hydrogen bomb “Big Ivan” – in order to save the world from a similar sized asteroid.

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