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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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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.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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