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Scenario : A group of insanely evil people decides to completely wipe out our home planet. All humanity's knowledge and resources are at their disposal and they have access to all kinds of weapons currently present in the whole world. How could they achieve this ? Does humanity currently have the means to do this relatively quickly? For example are all the nukes in the world sufficient for this ?

The result can only be considered as "successful" if and only if there is a nice big absolute nothing left where our lovely little blue planet used to be.

Ideally this group of people would eventually set up / prepare everything needed to completely destroy Earth, then evacuate to the Moon from where they would initiate the destruction (big explosion ? other ?) with a simple button push or something.

Side questions :

  1. Assuming this is possible, in what cases would the Moon and this group of people would be left intact/unharmed ?

  2. What happens to the Moon after that ? Would it drift through space and eventually orbit another planet in the solar system ?

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    $\begingroup$ 1 question per post, please. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '19 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome, null. This has got to be one of the most popular questions on this site. I linked the one with the most answer in my vote to close but my first search using term "all life" hit about 10 others. $\endgroup$ – Willk Dec 10 '19 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ The requirement to demolish the planet and move to the moon seems novel. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Dec 10 '19 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk no, my question is more on wiping out the planet itself, not the life forms it hosts. $\endgroup$ – nullPointer Dec 10 '19 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Renan These two questions are not duplicates. The difference is that this question wants to obliterate the Earth, a much more monumental task than simply rendering it unfit for life, as that question wants to do. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 10 '19 at 19:10
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How could they achieve this ?

The gravitational binding energy of the Earth is about 2.9 x 1031 joules. You pump that amount of energy into the Earth somehow, you'll reduce it to a ring of gravel orbitting the sun. To blow the bits out of the Solar System entirely, you'll need about 10 times more energy again. That's a lot of energy... about 7 x 1015 megatonnes TNT equivalent.

Does humanity currently have the means to do this relatively quickly? For example are all the nukes in the world sufficient for this ?

Haha, no. This is so many orders of magnitude more power than all the worlds nuclear weapons ever it isn't even worth thinking about. It is more power than was delivered by the Chixulub impact. You're asking for more energy than the Theia impact hypothesis that would have resurfaced the entire earth and formed the moon. Let me just repeat that last bit for you: crashing a small planet into the Earth wouldn't be enough energy to do what you want. Complete annihilation of 161 trillion tonnes of antimatter with an equal volume of matter would release enough energy, but you'd have to do it in the very centre of the Earth in order to ensure there was no wastage.

All humanity's knowledge and resources are at their disposal and they have access to all kinds of weapons currently present in the whole world

They'd know well enough that they couldn't do it. At all. Not even close.

Assuming this is possible, in what cases would the Moon and this group of people would be left intact/unharmed ?

If you blew up the Earth, the Moon is practically at ground zero. It'll be hit by a lot of stuff moving pretty fast. Sitting on the far side of the moon is unlikely to be safe enough... secondary impacts caused by ejecta from impacts on the Earth-facing side of the moon, and from slower-moving debris from Earth itself will still likely hit you. You'd have to be buried very deep. I'm not sure how deep. With a violent enough explosion (like, if you wanted to blow all the bits of Earth out of the Solar System, not really reduce it to a ring system) would risk destroying the moon, too.

What happens to the Moon after that ? Would it drift through space and eventually orbit another planet in the solar system ?

If you clapped your hands and vanished the Earth, the moon would continue to orbit the Sun with pretty much the same year length as Earth has now. A violent end to the Earth might knock the moon into a slightly different orbit, but it is unlikely to throw it into some completely different orbit or out of the Solar system entirely.

The result can only be considered as "successful" if and only if there is a nice big absolute nothing left where our lovely little blue planet used to be.

Consider moving the Moon to the Earth-Sun L3 point, which is diametrically opposite the Earth on the far side of the Sun. Get your deluded planet-demolishers really, really drunk, and have them wake up there. Tell them they were successful. They're probably too daft to realise what happened.

This will also be far, far too hard to do with any plausible current or future technology, but its a lot easier than disappearing the Earth, that's for sure.

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  • $\begingroup$ Extra points for the last paragraphs. $\endgroup$ – Anton Sherwood Dec 11 '19 at 1:01
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This is impossible.

No weapon extant or imaginable can disapparate the earth's mass. The most you could do is reduce it to rubble and disperse it at greater than escape velocity. But that is pure science fantasy as well. Nukes will barely scratch its surface and not even kill all life.

I refer you to this comprehensive writeup on How to Destroy the Earth.

Excerpt:

You will need: 25,000,000,000,000 tonnes of antimatter.

Method: This method involves detonating a bomb so big that it blasts the Earth to pieces.

This, to say the least, requires a big bomb. All the explosives mankind has ever created, nuclear or non-, gathered together and detonated simultaneously, would make a significant crater and wreck the planet's ecosystem, but barely scratch the surface of the planet. There is evidence that in the past, asteroids have hit the Earth with the explosive yield of five billion Hiroshima bombs - and such evidence is difficult to find.

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This is a crazy idea that I read long time ago:

Go on Jupiter and build some very big chimney that grow up from the core, they will be our propulsors.

The atmosphere of Jupiter is made mostly of hydrogen, we will use that as fuel for nuclear fusion.

The plan involves to move Jupiter to crash into earth, the impact will wipe the earth completely and the dust will become part of the Jupiter core.

The moon will destroyed too, sorry, but even if you want try with something smaller and precise like an antimatter bomb, to annihilate the earth you will release so much energy that the moon will be destroyed too, maybe not completely, but will be uninhabitable. Just think to the radiation, they will kill everyone.

The idea to crash Jupiter is very crazy and probably unfeasible but I think more realistic than produce the required amount of antimatter.

Crash a little planet like mars is not enough, you will destroy earth crust, but earth core will survive.

To destroy the planet you need a planet at least big as Venus, but with an impact with Venus some pieces will survive, you will create a new asteroid belt and in future probably they will aggregate to form a new planet.

Furthermore Jupiter is made of hydrogen, necessary for nuclear fusion, I don't know other ways to move a planet.

Anyway there is no way to do very quickly, move a planet probably will require hundreds of years.

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  • $\begingroup$ Schlock Mercenary destroyed a planet using this exact method. An alternative would be to use something like this to drop the Earth into the sun. If you're really careful, maybe you can use the same technique to move the moon somewhere safe, first. (Or just set up shop on your fusion candle instead of the moon.) Neither method is exactly "fast", however. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Dec 10 '19 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ Are you thinking of A World Out of Time (1977?) by Larry Niven? $\endgroup$ – Anton Sherwood Dec 11 '19 at 1:02
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How could they achieve this ?

There are many ways to destroy the Earth completly, black holes, anti matter, etc.

Does humanity currently have the means to do this relatively quickly?

It is imposible with our current technology level

are all the nukes in the world sufficient for this ?

Not even close

Assuming this is possible, in what cases would the Moon and this group of people would be left intact/unharmed ?

Even if we were able to destroy de Earth, it is imposible not destroing the moon at the same time.

What happens to the Moon after that ?

a explotion big enoght to destroy the Earth would destroy the moon too

Would it drift through space and eventually orbit another planet in the solar system ?

Hell NO! this is not how planets or satellites works.

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