By Phil Plait | October 10, 2012 2:01 pm

My pal Veronica Belmont hosts a show on TechFeed called Fact or Fictional, where she investigates the science of a movie based on viewer suggestions. She recently took on the wonderful fantastic gawd-awful piece of festering offal "Armageddon", talking to scientist Joe Hanson, who writes the terrific It’s OK to Be Smart blog.

Let’s just say they agree with me about the movie:

Yay! That was fun. This pretty much follows my own recent thoughts on the movie, as well as my original review of it when it came out in 1998.

If you want to learn how we’d really prevent an asteroid impact, and why we need to take this seriously, I gave a TEDxBoulder talk about it. It’s a real threat, but one we can prevent if we choose to do so.

Related Posts:

Astronomy Veronica Anemone
“Armageddon” had bad science. Shocker, I know.
Armageddon, Deep Impact: decadent
Armageddon sick of Shuttle hoaxes


Comments (14)

  1. Ted Hartley

    That movie was … You shouldn’t write those words here. Veronica’s views(?) are well done and communicated smartly. We need more discourse like this when people take too large a liberty with science just to tell a story. Being a little off is OK, (Star Trek inertial dampers) being so far gone as in this trash needs to be addressed.

  2. Thanks for the mention! We didn’t have time to discuss most of the cool projects, public and private, in the works for survey and avoidance (like B612, etc.) so hopefully everyone will check out Phil’s TEDx for more. Basically the only thing the movie got right is that there is a place called space, and it does in fact exist, and Earth resides there.

  3. That a Space Scuttle is good for anything, much less in a pinch, is a grotesque and offensive affront to empirical reality. That rabidly bung-positive NASA would spelunk their nether regions but once is profoundly fallacious, even as fantasy. We know the rest of the movie was absurdist silly because nobody brought back souvenirs to sell on eBay.

  4. shunt1

    The movie was fiction and could never work. WE ALL AGREE!

    Now, let us compare the concepts of using a “space tug” or using nuclear bombs to provide thrust to move a realistic asteroid from an impact orbit.

    Anyone see the videos of mass of water or dirt that was thrust into the air from an underground nuclear blast? What amazing thrust was provided from events like that, if it could used to nudge an asteroid?

    Remember, in this video, we are comparing the ability of a “space tug” vs a nuclear weapon to alter the orbit of an asteroid, under the exact same time frame.

    With only 18 days warning, “kiss your wife” and say good by, because nothing could work. Bit we already knew that.

  5. shunt1

    “We know the rest of the movie was absurdist silly because nobody brought back souvenirs to sell on eBay.”

    You get the award for the best statement today. Still laughing!

  6. The Mutt

    I was going to resist commenting on how adorable Veronica is, but then she said Ben Affleck was a total stud. She opened the door, your honor!
    She is the one who knocks me out.

  7. shunt1

    Darn cute and I will enjoy watching any new videos that she produces.

    1) A nuclear weapon that can launch a gazillion tons of water miles into the air.

    2) A space tug with the power of a “popcorn fart” using grivitational attraction.

    I will place my bet on the chances of Earth’s survival upon item one above.

  8. Randy A.

    When I saw “Armageddon” I laughed out loud! It is so absurd, so over-acted, and so much a parody of the whole genre of disaster flicks that nobody could take it seriously.

    I stopped laughing when I noticed nobody else in the theater was laughing…

    And commenting on what we should do in real life…
    1) Keep a constant watch for all near Earth objects.
    2) Send space probes to asteroids and comets to determine their composition. The correct way to deal with an object on a collision course with Earth depends on the composition and sturdiness of the object. (A nuclear bomb would do nothing to a “rubble-pile” asteroid.)
    3) Beg the microcephalic cretins in congress for enough funds to accomplish #1 and #2, above.

    NASA is doing all three of these, but I wish they’d do more!

  9. Dr.Sid

    I’m calling PETA on you. This horse is dead all right, stop beating it.

  10. Jack

    ♫Repeat to yourself it’s only a show, I should really just relax…♫
    I feel like I’m in an AA meeting. Hi, my name is Jack, and I’m a scientist who was entertained by the movie Armageddon. Jeez, it’s a movie. It’s supposed to be unrealistic and over-the-top. Michael Bay isn’t the world’s greatest director, and the movie is a solid C, but I don’t really think it deserves the crap the science community has given it. If you want to talk about words that begin with the prefix “over-“, how about “overreact” and “overanalyze”?

  11. Diederick

    Haha! I thought: What? Did Phil play Carmageddon? How cool! But the c was from Veronica.

  12. I prefer the SG1 episode Fail Safe for their version of Armageddon. They were going to use a Naquadah enhanced nuclear bomb as a rocket thruster to move the asteroid enough to miss Earth. It didn’t work out, but it was way more entertaining than Armageddon.

  13. Matt B.

    Okay, it should be either “Fact or Fiction” or “Factual or Fictional”. Nouns or adjectives–pick one.

  14. shunt1

    Veronica Belmont:

    I must admit that I married a woman with her intelligence, looks and personality 26 years ago. Of course I think that she is darn cute!

    For the science, I strongly advise researching that the term “specific impulse” be investigated.

    What depth of a nuclear detonation would be optimal to maximize the specific impulse, is not software that I have access to.

    Think about blasting out a crater and ejecting that mass away from the asteroid at a high velocity, just like a rocket engine.

    I do know that an optimal balance between the amount of rock mass blasted from the asteroid and the maximum velocity possible can be achieved.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar