Sunday, January 23, 2011

How To Kill A Planet

Now you have learnt how to kill a star after I posted the blogpost. So this time around, I am going to teach you how to kill a planet.


1. Whamming
Some of you might think whamming a planet-sized asteroid, or simply a planet the size of Mars to the surface of the Earth might crush the Earth into jagged pieces. Well, newsflash, it won't. It will only send heat shockwave around the Earth and back, peeling of its outer crust, leaving a smaller size Earth.

True, I tell you.

Let's upgrade the size of the whamming object into the size of a Jupiter. Terrestrial planet. I mean, a rocky planet of Jupiter size. Well, I would say Earth can be annihilated if the collision is perfect. Otherwise, the immense pressure beneath the Jupiter-sized Earth will be released like a bomb, killing itself before colliding.

2. Burning
Let's induce a solar flare from our Sun by pumping it with gravitational energy. A whip of flames can be produced and strike towards Earth if the calculation is correct. A solar flamethrower (yeah, this can be found in my novel. XD) is created.

First it strikes our atmosphere, removing it like stripping your blanket away by your mum. Then it boils the ocean into vapour and scorch the Earth into cinders.

The Earth stays.

OK, Earth is strong. Gotta admit that. But to really remove and destroy Earth, you have to keep burning the same direction till it reduces to ashes. Literally. But in order to do that, you must have almost the energy of the Sun can produce in about a million years.

Yeah, talk about energy efficiency. This method is OUT.

3. Sucking
Yup, when talk about sucking in space, it always go down with the term 'blackhole', a region of tightly warped space that even light cannot escape. We can persuade a proper blackhole into the crust or mantle of Earth. Yes, proper blackhole, not mini-blackholes because they evaporated into Hawking radiation.

The blackhole will consume the Earth's matter and slowly ingest it. It wouldn't take long before the heat surrounding the blackholes accretion disk to melt down the crust and turn it into hot plasma.

4. Shining
Ignite a gamma-ray burst from a nearby massive star. You can do that by inducing a premature supernova. The gamma-ray burst can be directed to the Earth.

Gamma-ray burst is a jet of light of high energies and radiation. The burst can blast away the atmosphere in seconds and boil away ocean in a blink of an eye. By just minutes, the heat can travel to the night side of the Earth and incinerate everything.

But the Earth is tough to be destroyed. You need a continuous burst of gamma-ray till the Earth is reduced to ashes. That would take some decades, or even centuries if the intensity of the gamma-ray burst reduces.

5. Cancelling
This is obviously rare. In order to wink the Earth out of existence, you need a large sphere of antimatter of almost the size of Earth. Antimatter is somewhat the opposite of matter. Its electrons are called positrons as they are positively charged and its protons are antiprotons, which are negatively charged.

The collision between matter and antimatter would cause each other to annihilate, leaving a bright light of energy that shines through the galaxy. Don't understand? What you get by adding +1 and -1? You get zero. That's it. The atom poof and gone into energy.

How large that energy is going to be? E=mc^2. If the mass is gone, you get E=c^2. Now you get it.

But antimatter of such size is unimaginable, and impossible to survive in physical space for long period as they will be annihilated every second by ordinary matter.

6. Stretching
OK, maybe one blackhole isn't enough playing. Why not try two instead? By placing two blackholes at opposite sides of Earth, the Earth can be shred into pieces. Term? Spaghettification.

Nothing much to say here. You know how it ends.

7. Strange... just strange
Normal protons are made up of 3 quarks, and so do the neutrons. They consist of up quarks and down quarks bind together by something called gluon (glue + on). Now, there is one hypothetical particle, called a strangelet, or a strange particle. This particle is strange because it doesn't have up quarks or down quarks, but other strange quarks like charm quarks. Ah, in simpler terms, it is not usual and normal.

This strangelet is very metastable and reactive. Once it touches another atom, it transfer its 'strangeness' to the victim. Which means, any atom reacts with strangelet will become strangelet itself.

So, throw a tiny strangelet to the surface of the Earth. In no time, the entire Earth is transformed into strange matter of gooey surfaces.

Now that's how you kill a planet.

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