OFFBEAT NEWS
August 08, 2012 12:00:00 AM
  Follow @ Twitter

When Bruce Willis used a nuclear bomb to save Earth from a giant asteroid in the movie Armageddon, the scenario had little science and a lot of fiction, physicists said on Tuesday.

Willis' nuke would have had as much impact on the rock as a cheap firecracker and was used so late that the planet would have been doomed anyway, they said.

"Our current level of technology is simply nowhere near sufficient to protect Earth from such an asteroid by this specific means of asteroid defence," according to a paper published by students at the University of Leicester, central England.

In the 1998 close-call blockbuster, Willis plays a deep-core driller sent by NASA to stop a Texas-sized rogue rock on collision course with Earth.

He lands on the asteroid and embeds a nuclear device that once detonated splits the projectile into two pieces that shave past on either side of Earth.

The research team said blowing up an asteroid of that size, about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) in diameter, would require a bomb a billion times stronger than the biggest one ever detonated on Earth -- the Soviets' "Big Ivan" that was exploded at a test site in 1961.

In any case, the asteroid would have to be detected much, much sooner than in the film, the team writes in the university's Journal of Special Physics Topics.

The 18-day headstart in Armageddon "would leave no time for Bruce to travel to the asteroid and drill into its centre, let alone share any meaningful moments with Ben Affleck or Liv Tyler along the way," says the study, entitled "Could Bruce Willis Save the World?"

Tyler plays Willis' onscreen daughter and Affleck her love interest.

In reality, the asteroid would have to be detected and blown up 13 billion kilometres (eight billion miles) from Earth -- thus on the outer reaches of the Solar System -- to give the two halves enough time to alter their course and miss the planet.

It is not all bad news, though.

If the end of the world is pencilled for December 21, 2012 -- the date said to be indicated by the Mayan calendar -- that does give us some months to do something about it.

"One possible alternative method would be moving the asteroid via propulsion methods attached to it," said 22-year-old co-author Ben Hall.

"What is certain is that most methods would require very early detection of such an asteroid and very careful planning in deriving a solution."

AFP

hasee


PREVIOUS STORY
Tunisian break-fast sparks unholy brawl
NEXT STORY
Topless speeder in US fled police in car chase

Bookmark and Share
   




FIJI NEWS
Police question man over hit-and-run incidentA man has been taken in for questioning at the Sigatoka Police Station for his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run incident early this week.
SPORTS
Fiji French-based reps prep for life after rugbyFiji's experienced fly-half Seremaia Bai assembled 32 Fijians currently playing in France to undergo IRB levels one and two coaching courses at Narbonne Rugby Club.
ENTERTAINMENT
Lana Del Rey releases new single West CoastLana Del Rey is set to release her new track West Coast from her forthcoming album Ultraviolence.
CELEBRITY
Farhan, Deepika scoop top awardsLegendary athlete Milkha Singh's biopic 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' was the biggest winner during the 59th Filmfare awards in India this morning.
HEALTH/FITNESS
Clean-up day to curb dengue outbreakFiji's Ministry of Health has declared a clean-up day next Thursday for residents in the central division as it ups the tempo against a dengue fever outbreak currently experienced in the country.
NEWS SPORTS INFOTAINMENT SERVICES MOBILE EXTRA HOT TOPICS