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Bruce BettsSeptember 22, 2009

How would you destroy the Earth?

by Bruce Betts

The Planetary Society is working to prevent bad things from happening to Earth. In particular, we have projects to help prevent near Earth object impacts that can ruin thousands of square kilometers of forest (Tunguska, 1908) or 70% of species on Earth (Chicxulub crater, 65 million years ago). These projects include our Shoemaker NEO Grants and Apophis Mission Design Competition.

The Planetary Society hasn't thought much about total Earth destruction…until now. Fortunately, things that destroy Earth are not probable at all, even over enormous time scales. Personally, I'm not inclined to destroy the Earth. In fact, I'm rather against it. But, scenarios to destroy Earth bring up a bunch of fun and funky science concepts. These are exactly what are considered tonight on the History Channel's The Universe (9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific; repeated later in the week). Do me a favor and read the following sentence to yourself like an announcer advertising a monster truck rally: Ten ways to destroy the Earth, from black holes to Mars sized impacts -- one night only -- be there! OK, in reality it's not just one night only, but there will be cool Earth destruction graphics. And… I was lucky enough to be one of the people interviewed for this episode of The Universe, and it was a fun experience: destruction, beach volleyball, and even some juggling. Check it out. But, also…

Come up with your own humorous or otherwise interesting ways to do away with the Earth and either share them at our Facebook page or compete in this week's Planetary Radio trivia contest . If you win the Planetary Radio contest, you'll win a Blue Ray edition of the entire first season of The Universe.  It's cool, though probably not capable of destroying the Earth.

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Bruce Betts

Director of Science and Technology / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society
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