Scientists Believe Nuclear Weapons Could Stop Apocalyptic Asteroid

by Courtney Blackann

Following the satirical commentary on how our soundbite-absorbing world would deal with catastrophe à la “Don’t Look Up,” scientists are actually looking into ways we’d be able to survive an Earth-destroying asteroid. The key to the solution? Our most lethal weapons.

Following the release of Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up,”( which, if you haven’t seen it, you must!) scientists are studying ways we’d be able to combat such an asteroid. You know, should something like that ever occur.

In the film, Jennifer Lawrence plays a Ph.D. candidate who discovers that a massive, 10-kilometer asteroid is heading straight for Earth. After calculating some numbers, her research team, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, learns that civilization as we know it will be completely in ruins in six months’ time. The show plays out with Lawrence and DiCaprio trying to persuade the world that we’re in major trouble. This is something people don’t want to hear, to say the least.

The scientists endure mocking by the media and discrediting by the United States’ presidency. Further, the event turns into a polarizing political scandal. This leaves pop stars (Ariana Grande) adopting a stance on the matter. And further, convincing thousands of ignorant followers to do the same. It’s a very allegorical tale which hilariously unfolds in about 120 minutes. Go watch it.

Scientists Explain How Breaking Up Asteroid Could Save Earth

Now that you know the back story, we’ll explain what scientists actually say about something like this happening. According to the New York Post, a study concludes that if a 10-kilometer asteroid were heading straight for Earth, we’d be able to combat it by sending nuclear weapons to break up the monster of a rock.

“Our reason for writing the paper was to ask: ‘Could one prevent a catastrophe of this nature’,” lead author Philip Lubin, a professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara says per the Post (originally to The Sun).

“It’s a serious attempt to look at whether humanity has reached a point where we could prevent what happened to the dinosaurs 65million years ago.”

And aided by massive nuclear weapons, scientists believe it’s possible.

“What we point out is that we easily possess enough nuclear devices to take apart a large object like the one in ‘Don’t Look Up’,” Prof. Lubin told The Sun.

“Our nuclear arsenals are designed to essentially threaten other nations – but those same devices could be used to protect us.”

The Unknowns in the Future

The study suggests that if we used nuclear weapons shaped in the form of a javelin and hit the asteroid at several points, it would break up the object. But then there’s the fallout to deal with. Researchers say that’s a risk we’d have to take in a life-threatening situation like this one.

“You can say ‘but, I’m really worried about the radiation [created by a nuclear defence strategy]’, but also just die,” Lubin says.

He also cautions us that something like this is a potential threat:

“There are big things out there that, if they did hit us, it would be catastrophic. On the other hand, there are a lot of smaller things out there, some of which are of similar size to the Chelyabinsk meteor, which are not existential threats, but they could potentially kill a lot of people.”