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Assuming that:

  • Cost is no concern
  • The bomb hits the planet
  • The only effect involved is the explosion of the bomb.

Can a bomb be big enough to destroy Pluto? The bomb Must Destroy half of the planet at least

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    $\begingroup$ Define "destroy." What form do you want the remnants of Pluto to be? A bunch of asteroids? How big? Fully vaporized? 50% of its outer bulk flung into orbit? What are you looking for here? What level of technology is allowed? Modern tech? Near future plausible? Sci-fi level? $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Apr 11 '17 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ You might like this exploration of geocide methods. Earth is a bit bigger than Pluto, of course, so some of them may even be feasible. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Wagner Apr 11 '17 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ Which planet does the bomb hit? Is pluto expected to be destroyed by that planets shrapnel? $\endgroup$ – ths Apr 11 '17 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ Is this today's technology, political and social refrence? There are many obstacles for each. $\endgroup$ – Mikey Apr 11 '17 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ I just want to add to Joe KIssling's post (good one, by the way): Another way you could do it is somehow reflect the sun's/a star's energy and beaming ("fired" through reflecting) the planet's core. $\endgroup$ – The First VUer Apr 11 '17 at 20:04
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Yes

The answer is here. Only takes 25 Billion nukes the size of the Tzar Bomba to do it.

The process

To completely destroy a planet you need to impart more energy into it than its gravitational binding energy which is calculated using the following equation

$E = \frac{3GM^2}{5R}$

Filling in the universal gravitational constant, Mass and Radius of pluto; $6.67\times10^{-11} m^3kg^{-1}s^{-2}$, $1.3\times10^{22}kg$, $1.15\times10^6m$ respectivly. You get $5.9\times10^{27}$ joules of energy.

Which is ~25 billion times the energy in the Tzar Bomba with only $2.4\times10^{17}$ joules.

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    $\begingroup$ Super Nuke!! just use 50 billion rolls of duck tape and tape them together. $\endgroup$ – Harrison Niekamp Apr 11 '17 at 2:21
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    $\begingroup$ Feasible... you keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means =) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Apr 11 '17 at 2:43
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    $\begingroup$ Joe said, "To completely destroy a planet"... but Pluto isn't a planet! Do those calculations still hold? </joking> $\endgroup$ – SRM Apr 11 '17 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ @SRM I can't claim to have destroyed any significant celestial bodies so we can't be sure. This warrants experimentation, let's destroy mercury and pluto to find out. $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling Apr 11 '17 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeKissling "Your wife's gonna be opening your ketchup bottles the rest of your life." $\endgroup$ – frarugi87 Apr 11 '17 at 7:21
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No

It would take 25 billion nukes, each the size of the largest bomb ever tested on Earth to be simultaneously detonated. This is not feasible with modern technology, or any reasonable projection of future technology.

For example, There are about 5.5 million tonnes of extractable uranium on Earth. If all this were converted to fissionable plutonium (impossible but as an upper limit) and used as a nuclear trigger in a thermonuclear weapon you would need at least 10kg of plutonium per bomb (optimistic). That means there is not enough radioactive matter on Earth to make more than 500 million bombs. And practically you can't just convert Uranium to Plutonium. Tsar bomba probably used a lot more Plutonium (For some reason the detailed technical specification aren't available online). However you analyse it you end up way short of the required amount of energy.

No explosive device made with conceivable tech can destroy even the smallest (dwarf) planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean when you say conceivable tech? $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling Apr 11 '17 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ I mean without magic. $\endgroup$ – James K Apr 12 '17 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ then I will disagree with your last statement. It takes no magic to construct 25 billion tsar bombs, I grant you that there is likely not enough fissile material to build enough, but it could be done. Additionally, a sufficient quantity of antimatter could supply the explosive force necessary wipe the planet out too. Current production is very low, but it's not inconceivable that we could get better at making it. $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling Apr 12 '17 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ If fissionable matter (uranium plutonium) is the limiting factor (I'm not sure that it is) then you build a smaller number of fusion bombs with a larger amount of deuterium and tritium. A fusion bomb uses a fission bomb to start its reaction bat there after it uses fissionable material (isotopes of hydrogen) and earth has a lot of hydrogen. All that said it is still not feasible just a few orders of magnitude closer to feasible. $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Apr 13 '17 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sticking with my answer. It is not feasible to build a bomb big enough to destroy Pluto. It is not feasible using any conceivable technology. We are not just a few orders of magnitude short. Just fiddling around with adding more tritium, or even using antimatter, isn't going to change my conclusion: We just can't do this. Even dwarf planets are too big to blow up with a bomb. The maths in Joe's answer is completely correct, but his conclusion is entirely wrong (unless his answer is ironic) $\endgroup$ – James K Apr 14 '17 at 20:09

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