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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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By JediJeb on 8/13/2012 1:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Basically these events which should have been channeled through political parties. When there are no political parties to give voice to people's conflicts over policy, people turn to violence.

Well the Civil War happened after we had political parties, so maybe they don't do that much for us after all. Without political parties you deal with small groups who disagree, with them you deal with large groups who disagree and through their bonding together even when they do not completely agree on ideas but simply to support their party they cause gridlock within the system.

Without political parties you would have something similar to what Europe has with their multiple parties where on certain topics you would see temporary alliances form around the topic with people of similar ideas (though truthfully it should be representatives who constituent's ideas are similar) to work together until that topic is settled, then the disband. When another topic comes up more alliances form representing the public's ideas and the situation repeats. Permanent alliances such as we have now with the two party system leads to the public's voice not being heard clearly since the representatives feel they should support the beliefs of their party more than the beliefs of their constituents if the people they represent do not feel the same as their party does. In the current Democratic Republic we currently have when the elected representatives strictly follow party lines instead of the will of their constituents then they have failed in their duty to represent the people who have sent them for that purpose. Being free of a political party frees the representative to truly represent the will of the people.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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