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Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Science |

Study: “Can Bruce Willis save the world?”

(CC) Malpass93

While no one could take the movie Armageddon (1998) as an example of hard science fiction , a team of students of at the University of Leicester in England carried out a publication called “Can Bruce Willis save the world?” where they conclude that “Our current level of technology is not nearly enough to protect the Earth from an asteroid similar to the method of making a bomb.”

The film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (who has made his career on destroying the world), a team of oil drillers are sent by NASA to stop a meteor “about the size of Texas’ to collide with the Earth by digging a hole within the rock and exploding a nuclear bomb.

Calculations that students speak to blow up an asteroid that size of 1000 km in diameter, we would need an atomic bomb 1,000,000,000 times more potent than ‘ Tsar bomb ‘, the largest nuclear bomb has been detonated . It was built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and as a reference, the diameter of the fireball when it exploded was 4.6 kilometers when launched by the Americans in Nagasaki ‘only’ had a diameter of 200 meters.

The paper concludes that in any case “there are more plausible methods” to divert a giant meteor. Perhaps most effective would be a gravitational tug , a spacecraft that would not come into direct contact with a hypothetical asteroid on Earth, but would use its own gravity to deflect the object. Quite useful considering that not all asteroids are made of rock, 5% of are solid metal (ie, they could not drill a hole).

The work was published in “Journal of Physics Special Topics”, University of Leicester, which publishes original short papers and final year students of Physics. One of the professors responsible for the publication said that “to be a physics researcher, whether in private industry and in academia, you need to show imagination, you can think differently.”

If you have more interest in ways to stop a colliding with Earth, we can not recommend this TED talk astronomer and science writer Phil Plait about it.

Link: Bruce Willis Would Have a bigger bomb needed to stop asteroid, Scientists Say (The Telegraph)

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