What would happen if you could blow up a planet for real?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of destroying a planet with an enormous amount of energy and what the resulting explosion would look like. It is estimated that to completely destroy a planet like Earth, more energy would be needed than the gravitational binding energy of the planet, which is equivalent to the amount of energy the Sun emits in a week. Theoretical scenarios involving a hypothetical Dyson sphere redirecting all of the Sun's energy to the Earth are considered.
  • #1
sshai45
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Hi.

(Not sure whether this should go in the "science fiction" or "real science" section, since while it's about something often featured in science fiction, I'm asking about real science.)

We've all (well, perhaps not literally _all_, but you get the point) seen those movies where they blow up planets -- Star Wars, etc. But what'd happen if one could do that for real? If one had a way to generate an enormous amount of energy in a beam form and shoot an Earth-like planet with it -- with enough to blow it up? What would the explosion actually look like?
 
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To totally destroy a planet (i.e. not just chip tiny bits off that could fall back down or go into orbit) you need to put in more energy than the gravitational binding energy of that planet. For Earth that is ~2.25e32J which is about the amount of energy the Sun puts out in a week.

If we propose an unobtanium Dyson sphere that reflects all the Sun's output onto the Earth then over the course of a week you would see the Earth heating up and evapourating until nothing is left.
 

1. What materials would be needed to blow up a planet for real?

The amount of energy required to blow up a planet is beyond current technology and understanding. It would require a massive amount of energy, likely more than the entire human race has ever produced. Therefore, the materials needed are currently unknown.

2. Would blowing up a planet have any effect on other planets in the same solar system?

Yes, blowing up a planet would have a significant impact on other planets in the same solar system. The explosion would send debris and shockwaves throughout the system, potentially causing damage to other planets and their orbits.

3. How would blowing up a planet affect life on Earth?

The explosion of a nearby planet could have catastrophic effects on life on Earth. The debris and radiation from the explosion could cause widespread destruction and potentially lead to the extinction of many species. The loss of a neighboring planet could also have a significant impact on the Earth's gravitational pull and disrupt the balance of our planet's ecosystem.

4. Is it possible to survive the explosion of a planet?

No, it is highly unlikely that anyone could survive the explosion of a planet. The force and energy released would be far too great for any living being to withstand. Additionally, the debris and radiation from the explosion would make it impossible for anyone to survive in the surrounding area.

5. How would blowing up a planet affect the rest of the universe?

The explosion of a planet would have a ripple effect throughout the universe. The sudden release of energy and debris could potentially disrupt the orbits of neighboring planets and even affect the balance of the entire galaxy. It could also have a significant impact on any nearby stars and their planetary systems.

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