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Feb4-05, 07:17 AM
Astronuc's Avatar
P: 21,827
Quote Quote by hitssquad
It was opined by many experts when the movie came out that trying to nuke an asteroid wouldn't work if it was made up of loose gravel.
That is still the case. And it could make things worse, e.g. if a small loosely packed comet type dispersed over a wider area on earth, i.e. the difference between a slug and a shot gun blast.

Quote Quote by hitssquad
In the movie, they split the asteroid in half so the two halves would pass on either side of the earth. The diameter of the asteroid was ~750 miles ("the size of Texas"; and half the diameter of the planet Pluto), and the nuke was small enough to fit in a shuttle cargo bay along with drilling tools (they had to drill down a long way to properly place the nuke) and a large electric rover vehicle.

The size of the asteroid in the movie was, I think, overkill for a "global killer," and the idea that something that large could be split in half with a nuke small enough to fit in a shuttle cargo bay I do not find realistic.
Afterall, it's science fiction.

Ceres, the largest known asteroid has a reported diameter of 930-970 km (584-602 miles).