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How to blow up an asteroid with a nuclear bomb

In the movie Armageddon, Billy Bob Thorton’s character hatches a plan to blow up an asteroid careening toward Earth with a nuclear bomb. Now, real-life scientists have run the numbers to figure out how big a bomb we’d need, reports. After constructing tiny asteroid replicas and blasting them with lasers, the team found that to take out an asteroid 200 meters wide, we’d need to detonate a nuclear bomb 200 times as powerful as “Little Boy,” the one dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. The work, published this week in the Russian edition of the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics, also found that—in keeping with Armageddon’s script—it’d be best to drill into the asteroid and bury the bomb before detonating it.  


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