How to destroy the Earth

February 21st, 2005

Destroying the planet isn't as easy as you'd think. Sam Hughes has laid out your options:

7. Sucked into a giant black hole

  • You will need: a black hole, extremely powerful rocket engines, and, optionally, a large rocky planetary body. The nearest black hole to our planet is 1600 light years from Earth in the direction of Sagittarius, orbiting V4641.
  • Method: after locating your black hole, you need to move it as close to Earth as possible. This is likely to be the most time-consuming part of this plan. There are two methods, moving Earth or moving the black hole. Moving the Earth is simply a case of building three or four upward-pointing rocket engines (possibly nuclear? and each roughly the size of Switzerland) and firing them at strategic moments to steer it onto a collision course with your black hole of choice. Moving the black hole requires rather more skill since it is impossible to physically touch it. For this you need to build your rockets on a completely different planet and push this in front of the black hole, towing it along in a carrot-and-donkey fashion. If time is short, you can consider moving both the Earth AND the black hole simultaneously.
  • Earth's final resting place: part of the mass of the black hole (not a nondescript cubic centimetre of neutronium within it, thank you again, cakedamber).
  • Feasibility rating: 4/10. Way beyond our technological reach.
  • Earliest feasible completion date: I do not expect the necessary technology to be available until AD 3000, and add at least 1600 years for travel time.

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