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A new study shows that the movie's idea of blowing up the asteroid is way off

If Bruce Willis' ability to destroy life-threatening asteroids put your mind at ease about the end of the world, here's a study to bring you back to reality.

Michael Bay's 1998 hit movie Armageddon depicted Bruce Willis and a team of oil drilling heroes setting off nuclear bombs on an asteroid that was rushing toward Earth, thus saving all of humanity from the end of the world -- aka Armageddon.

A class of physics students from the University of Leicester in the UK decided to look into whether this kind of scenario would ever be possible. The short answer is no, but they provided some evidence as to why.

To debunk this mystery, the class first gathered basic information about the asteroid itself (which were mentioned in the film), such as the total volume of the asteroid pieces, the clearance radius (radius of Earth plus 400 miles), its distance from Earth at detonation, the asteroid's pre-detonation velocity, and the density of the asteroid pieces.

Harry Stamper is not amused

Using this information, they created a formula to find the total amount of kinetic energy needed to blow the asteroid to smithereens. As it turns out, 800 trillion terajoules of energy would be needed to break the asteroid into two pieces, allowing it to bypass planet Earth. This means that any bomb used would have to be a billion times stronger than any bomb ever detonated on Earth.

FYI -- the largest bomb ever detonated on Earth was the Soviet Union's "Big Ivan," which was a 50 megaton hydrogen bomb that only had an energy output of 418,000 terajoules.

From there, issues arose with the time needed to detect the asteroid in order to be able to successfully blow it up. It would need to explode at the point in which it is detected at 8 billion miles.

"A series of assumptions must be made due to limited information in the film," said the class paper titled, 'Could Bruce Willis Save the World?' "First, the asteroid is approximated as a spherical object 1000km in diameter (the asteroid is quoted being the size of Texas) that splits into two equal-sized hemispheres. The asteroid in the film reaches a clearance either side of the Earth of 400 miles (640km) which is the assumed value for our calculation."

Source: Network World

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The whole movie is stupid.
By Belard on 8/10/2012 8:59:04 AM , Rating: 2
First, this is a Michael Bay movie... so from start to finish, you have to remove the brain and set it down in your lap.

Entertaining, yes... Perhaps the LAST Michael Bay movie ever worth watching (The Rock was quite good). But yeah, in the theaters with the twin shuttles docking at the space station MIR (but somehow 3X the modules but with only a single guy on it) to "refuel"?! And they dock at 100 MPH! Watch an actual docking... its very slow.

Then they SPIN it for gravity? "To make it easier"?!

The whole movie was stupid, but it was fun.

Perl Harbor, very bad... his version of James Cameron Titanic... but BAD, super inaccurate and insulting. Watch TORA TORA TORA.

Transformers 1, somewhat entertaining... my Son was 4 when that movie came out... I bought the DVD for him, he watched it 2-3 times. He'll watch the new Star Trek movie or Tron Classic and Legacy anytime... at least 20x each so far.

Glad I didn't spend a dime seeing TF2... it was boring and stupid, a mess of silver and EXPLOSIONS! Couldn't pay me to watch another frame of that crap.

While not M.Bay, but many of the same people... BattleShip was stupid, but easily better than anything M.Bay has made in his life. They even paid actual homage to the stupid board game. Kid liked it... I am surprised I liked it at all.

In reality, something that big requires firing off enough nukes to slow it down slightly or change its trajectory by a fraction is all that would be needed. We'd need many years to prepare for it.

Luckily for us, the solar system is pretty much done with huge rocks... but doesn't mean there is a giant killer out there. A rock the size of Manhattan would kill us all. We've been around for a blink of an eye, compared to the dinosaurs. (Flat-Earth believers, don't respond)

RE: The whole movie is stupid.
By geekman1024 on 8/10/2012 9:55:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Glad I didn't spend a dime seeing TF2...

RE: The whole movie is stupid.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2012 10:30:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah the problem with Armageddon, at least to me, is that it starts off great as a summer action fun movie. The setup works, the characters work, the early tension of the asteroid scenario is great... And then it turns into an "epic" tragedy movie in the second half, with a bit too much Aerosmith for my tastes. The funniness and humor is just gone, replaced with absurd action, characters dying, men crying, daughters crying, Billy Bob Thorton trying to emote....Donnie from Big Liebowski in space with a mingun. Wait, wtf did they bring a mingun in space for exactly?

But yes the Michael Bay'ness is a bit much at times. Shuttles launching into space in a tight formation seconds apart!!?? I guess NASA just knows those ejected rocket boosters won't slam into the other shuttle? Come on.

But God, women just LOVE that movie for some reason. In fact I guaran-damn-tee you my girlfriend will want to watch it this weekend. AGAIN! :(

RE: The whole movie is stupid.
By Belard on 8/10/2012 5:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
because he was willing to die for his GF... and her dad died to save them both... tear tear tear... waaa.

Even the people going crazy and getting killed was fun in its own way... again, stupid movie. I saw it once in the theater, seen it once in full on cable... the rest... here and there when it happens to be on.

Good movies, I'll watch again. I saw Avatar 5 times in the theater, seen Bladerunner at least 4-5 times. Prometheus, twice. Star Trek 3 times. A good sci-fi move to see, a hidden gem... "Pandorum" with Dennis Quaid. A mid-budget movie that made no money. "Sunshine" is an excellent sci-fi movie... no aliens.

"Moon" is an amazing movie... a must see.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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