“Armageddon” (1998): Is the Movie’s Scenario Feasible in Real Life?

“Armageddon” (1998): Is the Movie’s Scenario Feasible in Real Life?
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“Armageddon” is one of the most popular sci-fi movies ever made, even though it was released a quarter of a century ago. Directed by Michael Bay and having names such as Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, and Jason Isaacs in the cast, “Armageddon” proposes a scenario in which the existence of the human race is being threatened by a huge asteroid the size of Texas heading for Earth.

NASA doesn’t know exactly how to deal with such a threat, as the space rock is way too big to handle. Even hitting it with nuclear weapons wouldn’t do much damage. They come to the conclusion that hitting the asteroid from its interior is the key. Therefore, they decide that the fate of the world will lay in the hands of the best oil drillers they can find. That’s how Harry Stamper (played by Bruce Willis), the director of a large oil drill company, gets into the scene. He demands to have his own men for the job of saving the world, as real astronauts don’t know anything about drilling. The only problem is that the oil drillers that will be sent into space to destroy the asteroid don’t know much about being astronauts. Instead, they have a very strong sense of humor and crazy creativity that can surely help them.

An asteroid threatening humanity’s existence as a species: how feasible is that?

First things first, the idea of a large asteroid the size of an American state having our planet’s name written on it is, unfortunately, very probable in the future. It happened before when the dinosaurs went extinct roughly 60 million years ago, as they didn’t have either NASA or Bruce Willis to save them.

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A lot of scientists believe that it’s only a matter of time before another huge asteroid will threaten the existence of life on Earth. Hopefully, humanity will be evolved enough at that point to be able to tackle such a threat with its technology.

Nuking an asteroid from the interior: true or false?

In the “Armageddon” movie, Harry Stamper, along with his crew of wacky oil drillers, land on the asteroid and start to drill a hole in it to stick a nuclear bomb inside. After that, the plan is obviously to leave the asteroid and remotely detonate the bomb to destroy the space rock once and for all.

In reality, no human has ever landed on an asteroid, although humanity was capable of landing uncrewed spacecraft on space rocks. The problem is that asteroids and comets have different characteristics than those on Earth, which means that landing a human crew on an asteroid would be a true challenge. Space missions require serious planning, and figuring out how the human body would react while being at the surface of an asteroid, even with the spacesuit on, can be difficult to predict.

In other words, the scenario of blowing up an asteroid from its interior after physically landing on it is highly unfeasible, although we all have to admit that it sounds great in theory.

Space agencies such as NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency) have launched missions to study asteroids that exist near our planet, such as the OSIRIS-REx mission of NASA to study the Bennu asteroid.

 


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Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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