If there's an asteroid that could obliterate all life on Earth hurtling straight toward our planet, don't bet on Bruce Willis — or anyone else, for that matter — blowing it up to save us. According to student researchers from the University of Leicester, there isn't a bomb big enough in existence to blow up an asteroid as big as Texas.
The students' research papers, amusingly entitled "Could Bruce Willis Save the World?" (PDF) and "Could Bruce Willis Predict the End of the World," (PDF) detail the need for a bomb much bigger than Big Ivan — the biggest bomb detonated on Earth. Using measurements from the movie "Armageddon," the students came to the conclusion that 800 trillion terajoules of energy is needed to split an asteroid that big, and Big Ivan only had total energy output of 418,000 terajoules.
Should we then worry about suddenly going extinct by way of asteroid impact? Not really. As the students point out, scientists would figure out if a huge celestial body is going to kill us all much, much earlier than 18 days to impact like what happened in the movie. Besides, as Bad Astronomer said, "Armageddon" is one of the most scientifically inaccurate movies ever. There is no known asteroid as big as Texas, and even if there is, you would smack it to veer it off course instead of blowing it up.
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