A few moments ago, we were joking in the Gaming chatroom about glassing the solar system because of some poorly written code.

We started wondering if there were any planets in the solar system that can't be glassed, as in cannot have their surface turned into a unified liquid through an orbital bombardment. Examples we had were gas planets, oceanic planets and really hot planets.

Are we correct in assuming that even with sufficiently advanced tech (as in interstellar travel and high energy weaponry) there are types of planets that can't be glassed?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm tempted to say "sounds right." The only distinction I'd make is that "really hot planets" might qualify as already glassed (by their sun). Though you could probably nuke the dark side of Mercury until it glowed. So maybe not. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s no longer trusts SE May 19 '17 at 14:36

Glassing is only really meaningful if there is a surface to be bombarded. Any planet without a surface, or a liquid one cannot really be glassed.

So gas giants and any planets entirely covered with water are per your definition unable to be glassed.

  • $\begingroup$ I guess you could glass a gas giant by firing a superscience cryo weapon at it to cool a gas down into its liquid phase. $\endgroup$ – sphennings May 19 '17 at 15:16

No Planet is really safe

Barring the difficulties of actually glassing a planet, even a gas giant or water world could be glassed. In the Halo Universe, glassing can cook off the atmosphere because the intense heat causes a form of Atmospheric Escape. Once the atmosphere/water is boiled away what's left can be turned to glass.

Not the most practical given the energy required, but it could be done.


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