Turns Out, There Is a Way to Nuke a Dangerous Asteroid As a Last Resort

Vote for this video by social sharing!
Hello and welcome! My name is Anton and in this video, we will talk about a new simulation showing that we could use nuclear weapons to protect the planet from certain types of dangerous asteroids


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEvQIO4BTZ8
Sergv22  , CC BY-SA 4.0 , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_impact_avoidance#/media/File:Ring_array_asteroid.gif

Tags: anton petrov, education, #education, space, astronomy, universe, whatdamath, what da math, science, amateur astronomy, steven universe, armaggedon, armageddon nuke, could nuke really destroy an asteroid, could we nuke an asteroid, can asteroid be nuked, is asteroid going to hit earth, can we use nukes on asteroids, astrophysics, can we nuke an asteroid, we can’t nuke an asteroid, nuking an asteroid, can asteroid be destroyed, destroying an asteroid, how to prevent asteroid impact, nuke

  1. Nate Cross

    And here’s me thinking we are already like God’s compared to people a couple of hundred years ago. If we can reliably pull this of it would be amazing.


    Is it possible to use the cosmic background radiation as contrast to detect asteroids?

  3. blacksmith67

    If a mass impactor is one option, would it not make sense to keep some of the disused items in orbit (satellites, Hubble, the ISS for example) in a parking orbit so that at a future date a booster could grab one of them and accelerate it into a threatening asteroid?

  4. John Smith

    1 million subs coming up! Much love Anton, thanks for being part of our lives

  5. roy

    I have been telling my friends for last 20 years that Nukes are more likely to save humanity then kill us at this point. Blowing up an asteroid was the example I always used.

  6. RoboticusMusic

    I like the way he titles the videos and talks like he used to be a mechanic out in the desert decades before being trapped down a well with all of us and occasionally catches glimpses of airplanes flying over and comes back to tell us the tales of the yonder regions, apparently so. xD

  7. Benjamin Brown

    Launch a SpaceX Starship with a Tsar Bomba on top to deflect a killer asteroid 5 km across. Then launch another if it doesn’t work.

  8. dwayne carpenter

    I’ve always said of course the blast would knock it off its path it’s ridiculous to think it wouldn’t

  9. ShardovL

    Before watching this video, I visualised an alternative system utilising nuclear weapons similar to what was conceptualised in Project Orion.

  10. For Posterity

    Do a video on Eric Dollard’s theory of light and the hollow sun.

  11. — Predators_Posse

    Another great post from the GOAT!!!
    Keep up the great content my man. It’s greatly appreciated. 🙏

  12. Geno Stellar

    Even if it’s a last resort, it’s one that’s good to know that we have.

  13. Anglosaxon Mike

    I think the red is reflecting off your shirt Anton. Brilliant video and graphics, thanks.

  14. bentos11

    7:33 why exactly a huge dust cloud worse than asteroid? wouldn’t dust burn up in upper atmosphere more easily?

  15. will2see

    1:50 – Yeah, but we somehow keep forgetting about the long-period comets and interstellar objects. I know you are talking about asteroids. I am just saying that there is also other stuff, not just asteroids.

  16. Luke Kendall

    How do they ensure enough of the force is directed through the centre of mass of the asteroid to redirect it, rather than to simply spin it?
    Nuclear blast just above it might have the best chance, as there wouldn’t be a single point of impact on the asteroid.

  17. okbluzman79

    This is what it’s like being the 8-ball on God’s billiard table.


    Apart from the potential of many fragments crashing on the Earth, I think, trying to break an Asteroid apart is still a better solution. The problem I have with trying to redirect an Asteroid is that this seems to require extremely precise accuracy if they miss or rather if they were to hit the Asteroid in the wrong location, they could hurl it towards the Earth.

  19. Ben Seiken

    As Nelson from the simpsons said, “gotta nuke something.”

  20. madreamer

    We should definitely test this theory

  21. JR Blackstar

    The mass and density of an asteroid is the #1 factor coupled with the speed of which it’s traveling.
    A nuclear blast can change the trajectory, but to destroy it, depending on its size, it will have to penetrate into the asteroid to blow it apart…
    There are a lot of details to consider and one needs to remember that space is vast, and, it’s a big ass space that will require the use of artificial intelligence to monitor that vastness in order to be able to detect and react to a potential threat.
    The movie “Armageddon” was a good one with flaws in the story line but they did make a good point where they drilled through iron ferrite that was “Dense” enough for the blast to blow it apart, because if it had been done in rock, it would’ve just made a big hole and it wouldn’t change anything.
    We just have to leave it in the hands of the “professionals”.

  22. Glenn Mitchell

    Would it be useful or practical to preposition any or all of the asteroid deflecting devices in various orbits so that the devices could be more quickly deployed when and where needed? Would it make sense to make some of those preposition orbits around our planetary neighbors, such as the moon, the inner planets, or even the mid to outer planets?

  23. bsandy.com

    I think almost the same price capturing the asteroid could provide for mining or as a base on L4 or L5.
    Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris should be in charge of the operation. ;-)

  24. Tycho

    It’s nice to see that there’s this much interest in our work! I’m one of the authors of that paper and one of the developers of Spheral, and this project is definitely among the most rewarding of the projects I regularly work on. There are actually quite a few scientists at multiple institutions around the world tackling this problem (of deflecting an asteroid), and we’re always excited to engage with the public when we can.

  25. warmitag

    This reminds me of the old TV show Space 1999 where a nuclear dump on the moon explodes and nudges the moon out of orbit.

  26. Sion

    *@Anton Petrov*
    *2:30** What does the Blue/Orange color mean?*
    Reached ground vs exploded in atmosphere? (which color is which then?)

  27. John Routledge

    As Issac Author on SFIA would say, “If brute force isn’t working, you’re obviously not using enough of it.”

  28. mgjk

    100-500m:5-10km “or at least 10 times bigger”… 10x the diameter!? volume is proportional to the diameter cubed, or 1000 times the mass and volume.

  29. Paul Winger

    Good to see you back from moving. Hope your new residence is good for you. Yes, you were missed.

  30. Jacob Castro

    If Einstein could see it…
    I would think if a nuclear weapon was used to save humanity one day he might have reconsidered his regret for proposing an atom bomb.
    Food for thought.

  31. Richard O'connor

    In case your totally in the dark as to the reality of the mission to deflect a close orbit space matter has already launched this summer to test it at the closest range to Earth to see if the can change its coarse.

  32. Ck digital The Q of 6th

    Nuking the astroid wont have a dromatic effect, as without an atmosphere, the chain reaction very dim, similar to an underground explosion, plus the matter isn’t very moist, one could use attomic rays, where energy particles mixing in a focal, could create momentum and thermal molding like a plasma re-entry effect, but out in space.

  33. kehvan

    Yeah, I deduced a long time ago the naysaying was politically motivated more so than physically motivated.

  34. Raphael de Moraes Fontell

    “Maybe this will be the chance to test the TSAR bomb with maximum output…”
    -Russian scientist.

  35. Gary Wheeler

    Shattering an asteroid is also going to leave a lot of space junk out there in the system. Stuff that could be deadly to a space probe passing by at high speed.

  36. Aleister Lavey

    What if we just catch some of those asteroids with modular space rocket engines, force it in an orbit around the sun (or earth if you are lucky) and create a base for a space station out of it. I mean, it is basically free real estate…

  37. Ken Searle

    Great video… I think you could also send up multiple rockets with nukes staggered days apart so there can be some analysis after each impact and hit again where needed. It doesn’t have to be all in one shot or nothing. If it is going to hit us no matter what, if the first nuke can break the asteroid into a few smaller pieces, then subsequent nukes can hit the smaller pieces. I would rather get hit with 1000 smaller bits where each does some damage but none are big enough to kick off mass extinction problems lasting a decade. Interesting info.

  38. Mas Davis

    Seeing the worlds nuclear powers come together to nuke an astroid would be pretty wholesome

  39. Kiithnaras Ashaa

    Hear me out: Moon-based Millimeter-wave Deep Space Scanning Array. Find all those little rocks and bits of space junk.

  40. john conner

    Just goes to prove that old saying….
    “There’s no problem too big that a nuke won’t solve.”

  41. Sugar Rush Times 2030

    There you go, use nukes to save humanity instead of destroy it. Now that’s the kind of silver lining I like to see✌🏼🤙🏼

  42. SD Walton

    Can’t wait to see your video on the DART project.
    Thanks for all your hard work on the great videos.

  43. Ray Heinrich

    For really large asteroids you could use the billiard method: Deflect a small asteroid to impact a medium asteroid to impact the really large one.

  44. Ben Hynes

    Thanks for including the software name. Always interested in documenting/knowing about the tools.

  45. featherbrain

    The experimental mission is interesting as is the whole subject but I refuse to worry about this when I drive cars and as a pedestrian , could be hit by a bus.

  46. Yuji Andou

    What if we built a giant formation of railguns and named them “Stonehenge”. We could break the smaller ones enough where they are harmless.

  47. Ian Crossley

    Star Trek did an episode on this subject (Original series). Spock emphasized that the sooner you do something the greater the chance of deflection. It might make sense for humanity to all pitch in for a defense force that could tackle one of these things and save the world.

  48. Trevor Taylor

    For every action their is a equal and opposite reaction.

  49. Hugh Mungus

    that “spheral” animation reminded me of those “sand” games on newgrounds and other flash game sites where you would add different substances together and create chemical / physical reactions that interact with eachother

  50. Adam Stevens

    If the same mass hits the atmosphere, one as an integrated asteroid and one as disintegrated material, the disintegrated material has many many times greater surface area and will be much more likely to burn up in the atmosphere without causing any problems than in the integrated asteroid case.

  51. David H.

    I have often thought that the best last-resort hope we’d have is to just launch an all-out bombardment myself. We don’t have to rely on just one shot.

    Instead, as soon as the asteroid is detected as a threat, simply start prepping as many missles/impactors as we can, and launch them one after the other, as soon as they are ready, toward it. Just keep pounding it over and over on the same side (calculating what the best form and angle of “hit” would be, naturally) until hopefully the rock is forced off of its collision trajectory.

    Bam Bam Bam Bam — Move, damn you — Bam Bam Bam…

  52. Peter Heckert

    1 m^3 of air has a mass of 1kg. 1 m^3 of vacuum has a mass of almost zero. Therefore an atomic explosion in empty space will create mostly radiation rather than pressure. I think, this is a problem.

  53. James Sarantidis

    Imagine the nuke missing its target and starting a galactic war millions of years from its launch.

  54. S.R.Traverse

    Anton, you are the wonderful person who brings us what no one ever brings us these days: GOOD FREAKIN NEWS!

  55. Aleks V

    If heating one side is the solution to create a thrust to redirect, what about a laser, how powerful would it need to be at ground and if positioned at one of the Lagrange points

  56. buriedtoodeep

    Would a CME alter trajectory if it was focused enough and was either near or aimed at an object?

  57. timehaley

    Good news is always welcome Anton, Heck, that was my first thought when I first learned of the dangers of NEO’s as a kid, use a nuke to redirect it’s path. The larger the rock the more time you need to change it’s course. I’m so happy to hear that somebody worked out the simulation for small rocks also. Much thanks and respect to those unsung hero’s in the scientific community that are looking for these potential city killers.

  58. Lord of Sadness

    I also thought of it, instead of it colliding in heavy mass we split it to tiny tiny parts i mean kaboom in the middle so less damage in impact.

  59. Lance McLaren

    Huge problem getting it up to correct position, time constraints alone would be mind boggling

  60. Goldenhordemilo

    sync a starship with lasers in a orbit to heat and move maby

  61. Andy f

    i always thought the Deep impact impactor mass was convieniently close to that of a 1 megaton nuke..

  62. Daggoth Dafaggoth

    Its hard to imagine that you wouldnt be able to, given a big enough firework. “If brute force doesnt work you arent using enough of it”

  63. Arcader

    At least we have plausible ideas on how to redirect an asteroid. I’d say a decade or so of research could really improve our techniques.

  64. JP

    This definitely calls for some field testing, with lots of good HD cameras positioned so as to get multiple perspectives per detonation. We absolutely need to do this as both proximity detonation, and as post impact detonation, on a variety of bodies, including comets. A range of warhead yields should be trialed, varying from “more than adequate” to “ludicrously overpowered”.

    I promise I don’t just want to have a bunch of videos of space rocks getting nuked. This is for science, the sake of the planet, and future generations.


  65. PhysicsPolice

    “Fizzing Headed Ejecta” is a good metal band name

  66. Richard B

    Your videos are great bud, always good content.

  67. Enock Marere

    hmmm got me thinking what if you use a double down then, I mean look for two subjects then nudge it towards the other so you get a second collision thereby diverting a 200km asteroid using a nudged 500m one, just thinking out loud

  68. BOBMAN1980

    Kinda proud to say that a good buddy of mine was conducting research of this kind as part of his doctoral research. A lot of which he explained “dummy-style” for me.
    Composition of the meteor/comet, together with size, are two big factors. Not enough BOOM, and there isn’t much deviance in the trajectory; too much, and you now turned this into a giant shotgun blast heading to earth.
    Awesome stuff!

  69. Francois Cantin

    You’re a friend in my books keep going

  70. GiuseppeSan

    Welcome back Anton! Fascinating video as always.

  71. JamesNoBrakes

    This is what I’ve thought for a long time, that it would be far more practical to “nudge” it with a nearby nuke so it misses, rather than just blow it into smaller bits that will still hit.

  72. John Smith

    Excited for Lucy in hopefully a few hours, too bad it’s a decade-long mission! DART coming up a well.. Great vid, Anton. Welcome home!

  73. Brian Steele

    Turning them into space stations could be an option if they can be manipulated into a safe solar orbit.

  74. Mick Berick

    GIDDAY ANTON from Melbourne , Australia !
    Thanks for your wonder elucidation !

  75. Gmork

    We send Deontay Wilder in a space suit to baptize it out of orbit with his divine right hand! :’D

  76. Scott H

    “The asteroid is still coming sir!”
    “We’re going to need a bigger nuke.”

  77. Sandros Rotaru

    A great use for our bunker busters and rod impactors that go many meters into the ground, delivering a lot of energy then add to that a nuclear detonation. Sounds like significantly good defense against asteroids below a certain size. Im glad some scientific evidence supports this.

  78. Rob M.

    “God is playing marbles with the planets and the stars”
    : Donovan.

  79. socket_error

    The problem it seems with a lot of these solutions for changing the orbits of asteroids is that most of them are rotating, and not in nice uniform fashions as some may tumble while others just spin, their axis and orientation will also be an issue. So heating a side does nothing as it spins and pushes right back. Even the nuke would need a perfect scenario to work.

  80. Fred Nurke

    Someone needs to instruct the Pentagon to start designing space-nukes especially for this. It’s worth it. Ask any velociraptor.

  81. Dereck Hale

    Nasa could make a few probes and have them orbit earth, when needed they can redirect the probes to intercept.

  82. Scott

    I think if an astroid were approaching earth that could destroy humans, we would launch most of our nukes collectively (like an explosive shield). similar to a last stand, but a hopeless defense.

  83. George Weilenmann

    Wouldn’t the use of multiple detonations aimed to ablate the asteroid body, creating both thrusts from thermal evaporation and reducing the mass of the body be a better solution rather than all our hopes are riding on one nuclear explosion.

  84. Harcomo Hiroshige

    All your videos are great, I love it.
    @1:04 you meant “Planet-Killers”

  85. MC's Creations

    Finally we have some evidence about this subject instead of empty assumptions…

  86. saxmidiman

    …So basically, there are actual college educated SCIENTISTS now learning how to play “Asteroids”?😏🙄🤩😎

  87. Jim Curtis

    Wonderful as always anton 😊

  88. Our Tiny Cosmos

    Cool tests and experiments coming! Ill be following this one for sure.

  89. Kirk House

    We need to grab a few small asteroids that we direct into various orbits around the earth or the moon for later use. Depending on the approach, we can accelerate one or more into a collision course with inbound threats as needed. Bruce Willis need not apply.

  90. John Fraser

    Thanks Anton – fascinating information !

  91. Mike Fabbi

    Another video by Anton that I can sum up with the same word I always use: Cool.

  92. Locadio Marcucco

    Thank you wonderful Anton.

  93. Wes Hart

    “We dont wont to disintegrate the asteroid”

    Here comes the boring solution

  94. Max Musterman

    Honestly the simulation results just look awesome!

  95. Paradox

    If Q was here, he’d say it was a simple matter of changing the gravitational constant of the universe.

  96. PropRotor Nut

    Glad to hear that people are working on this issue. Great video Anton. Thanks. 👍

  97. Karl U.K

    Potentially the photons as seen bouncing off Bezos head should provide enough DV to change most asteroids trajectory. I’m sure SpaceX would help out.

  98. smithologist

    Thank goodness, this keeps me up at night.

  99. Real Human

    “That’s for the dinosaurs you bastard”

  100. Existential Erasure

    Would it be easier to train astronauts to drill in an asteroid or to teach rock drillers to be astronauts? Asking for a friend.

Comments are closed.