Exactly what the question says. What if a spaceship the size and mass of a space shuttle with a full fuel, that has an Alcubierre Drive on it crashed into the Earth at 8 km/s? ( And no, I'm not talking about the orange tank )

Would anything special happen? Or would it explode normally?

And no, the Drive is turned off.

And no, I'm not interested in aerodynamics, just the explosion itself.

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    $\begingroup$ Since it is traveling at just 8 km/s, what makes the impact so different from any other? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 12 '18 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ Note that Alcubierre Drives are not devices we have real designs for, nor do we know the power requirements or how that power would have to be delivered. So there are a lot of unknowns with exactly what potentially exotic or extreme devices could be involved in such a crash. "Would it explode normally" is essentially unanswerable, IMO. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Aug 12 '18 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ I really disagree with all the VTRers. This question is specific, clear, and remarkably easy to answer. The OP specified the drive is turned off. If the ship survived the fires of reentry, it would hit the ground like any other meteor, with a boom and a dent like any other meteor. With the drive turned off, it's just another chunk of mass hitting the earth. Nothing new, nothing special. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 12 '18 at 22:19

Very little of it would probably make it to the ground, if it was at a crash angle most of it will vapourise in the upper atmosphere. Some of the heavy solid components composed of tough ceramics, composites, and high temperature alloys might make it to the ground, parts like the engines and reactor for example might hit the ground relatively intact. The crash of Skylab might give some insights into what would actually make it to the ground.

  • $\begingroup$ What about the artificial black hole, or the trillion tons of antimatter, or the space time wormhole leading to the center of a exploding supernova, or the negative quadrillion tons of negative mass matter, or whatever the power source of the Alcubierre Drive is? What happens when that exotic power source crashes into the atmosphere or the surface? $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Aug 13 '18 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ @M.A.Golding The OP has given no information on which to base any speculation as to the nature of the drive's fuel, which could potentially do a lot of damage in it's own right, so I'm left with what happens when a spaceship hits atmosphere on a crash course. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 13 '18 at 9:06

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