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I want to make technology that can explode the whole Earth. The problem is that antimatter explosions and nuclear explosions just don't have the juice needed to blow up the planet. Conventional explosions are just pathetic in terms of planet kabooms; they don't even scratch the surface. What explosion would be powerful enough that only one to twenty uses of the explosions are needed to blow up the Earth? I specifically want an explosive (no pun intended) superpower; in my world I want to blow up the Earth with a giant explosion.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 3 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ The science-based tag and the request for a superpower are basically incompatible. $\endgroup$ Oct 4 at 13:04

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Please note that this answer was provided before Arachian, with my encouragement, attached the Science-Based tag.


A fascinating article about supernova ASASSN-15lh suggests something absolutely amazing...

In this study, we examine the maximum luminosity possible for pair-instability supernovae (PISNe). We also examine how much radioactive nickel is needed for ASASSN-15lh, if it is considered to be purely nickel-powered. We describe our toy models in Section 2, discuss the light curves and derive a relation between nickel mass and resulting supernova peak luminosity in Sections 3 and 4.

To make a long and complicated story short, the article suggests the supernova may have been caused by nickel.

The bad news? They think it took a whomping lot of nickel to make the supernova do what it did.

The good news? All you're looking for is suspension of disbelief. And if nature can blow up stars using nickel, then your mad scientist can blow up a planet with a liquid nickel-iron core.

In other words, in your story he proved the scientists were right about ASASSN-15lh... and he weaponized their work.

He figured out how to turn the core of the planet into a nuclear bomb. The basics? He created a super-shaped-charge bomb and figured out how to get that shaped bomb to the inner core of the planet, then set it off. It forced enough of the nickel core to critical mass that it started a chain reaction.

Boom.

You didn't tag your question with any of the Science tags. Therefore, please note that I'm suggesting a solution because I can't imagine a practical solution that's better. And if you aren't using a mad scientist, I apologize, but this is definitely a question worthy of Dr. Farnsworth.

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  • $\begingroup$ Edited to replaced all *'*nickles with nickel. (You made me first look in the dictionary and then in the linked paper.) (It's the name of a Germanic mischievous sprite. The medieval German miners who first found the mineral which today we call nickeline thought is was a copper ore, because it looks very much like one; but, of course, they could not smelt copper out of it, so they called it Kupfernickel, roughly Devil's Copper.) (Modern cupronickel is something else entirely.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 3 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP Thanks. For some reason the spell checker didn't catch them. Weird. Unless that Germanic sprite's in the name database. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 3 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Arachian OK, more complete comment. (a) I like to add some fun to my answers when I can because fun is what the Stack is all about. (b) I like that particular clip from Futurama because science is a lot more like a religion than people think. The subject matter is incomplete and often incomprehensible to the uninitiated. We're expected to believe a consensus of prophets, I mean scientists, who are experts who we should trust. That folks tend to trust in science without question even when there's no empirical evidence (e.g., dark matter) just adds to Futurama's satire. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 3 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ If you're looking for a real-world approach, you need to take away that green check, which I appreciate, but we recommend waiting 24-48 hours to let our world-wide user base have their voice (human nature is to skip Qs with accepted As) and to tag the question science-based. There's certainly someone out there who knows something I don't. (Fair warning, we can't even drill down to the inner core and all the nukes we can manufacture wouldn't crack the planet, must less destroy it, so set your expectations.) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 3 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ As far as I'm aware, nickel does not have a critical mass, and is not fissile so can't get a chain reaction going. The reason nickel results in stars going supernova is because nickel (and iron) are at the point on the periodic table where you stop getting energy out of fusion, and continuing to fuse begins to absorb energy. A buildup of iron and nickel means the star loses energy, collapses under its own weight, and then rebounds outward in a huge explosion. $\endgroup$
    – Hearth
    Oct 4 at 0:10
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Any method of "blowing up the earth", needs to at least move all the material from the earth out of the earth's gravity-well. This places a lower bound on the amount of energy needed, equal to the gravitational binding energy of the earth. This is roughly equal to 2.49 x 10^32 Joules. This is an unreasonable amount of energy, but let's consider some options.

The energy is about a quadrillion times as much as the yield of the most powerful nuclear bomb ever created. The practical maximum yield-to-weight ratio has been estimated to 25 TJ/kg (the Taylor limit), meaning our planet-killer-bomb would need to weigh at least eight quadrillion metric tons.

An antimatter-bomb would react matter with antimatter to produce energy according to E=mc^2. A perfectly efficient antimatter-bomb would need to react 1.1 trillion metric tons of matter with the same amount of antimatter, to yield the required energy. Again, somewhat unwieldy.

Maybe a stellar death-ray could work? But, no. The energy is equivalent to roughly a week of the total output of the sun, so even a dyson-sphere-like device, capturing the total output of the sun, would need to cook the planet for a week in order to slowly ablate it away. Not an explosion by any means.

The only reasonable way to obtain this much energy that I can think of would be to somehow redirect another planet, and send it on a collision course with the earth. In fact, the only number I've seen while researching this answer which is bigger than the gravitational binding energy of the earth, is the earths kinetic energy in it's orbit. This would allow as much time as needed to move the other planet, but still result in a sudden release of energy upon the earth, which might then be classified as an explosion.

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Rapidly spinning miniature black hole

youtube link to a full explanation

Note also that the only limit to the amount of power generated is the size of the black hole.

"A mountain-sized black hole would give off X-rays and gamma-rays at a rate of about 10 million megawatts, enough to power the world's electricity supply," Hawking said in the lecture.

Scale up and you can blow up the planet.

Also, note that a black hole made out of the mass of a mountain has the mass of a mountain after it becomes a black hole. It doesn’t get heavier when it becomes a black hole. So if you drop it into the earth it won’t swallow the earth by increasing gravity that much and it won’t absorb too much material on its way down.

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  • $\begingroup$ But according to existing literature, it may slowly eat the earth from the inside as its orbit moves inside the planet :-) $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 4 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ @RoryAlsop Yeah, but so long as the pressure of the energy produced overwhelms the gravity, you should get an explosion. you might only be exploding 99% of the planet, but it still counts. $\endgroup$
    – user64888
    Oct 5 at 16:45