# Is it possible to blow up the Moon?

With modern Missiles and nuclear explosives we should be able to knock the bugger clear out of the sky, come on its not rocket science.

What would the consequences be?

Update:

Crikey Adam, are we that far from intergalact dominaton.

How disapointing.

Update 2:

Thats more like it Lex and you say the concequences would be that everyone would live in the North of England.

Update 3:

Update 4:

Tick Tock. Destroy Teas you say?

OK we'll do it!

Update 5:

Rosy, how about we blow it into 4 parts and have 4 of the buggers?

Update 6:

Hi Paul, so far I'm with you but me, I would love to see it 10 times bigger like on the front of SciFi books.

Not sure of the concequences though?

Update 7:

mama, you are no fun. people love blowng things up just watch the news.

Update 8:

Hi Mr wild Duck, I'm just checkng those figures but my yellow crayon snapped so I'm going to give you best answer based on pure ignorance. (Hey don't knock it it won us an Empire). I was only after the rockest science gag but what the I've learn't something. I know nothing about physics or maths.

Update 9:

Rotter. Perhaps we can get together?, no man is a Island, if you don't count the Isle of Man.

Relevance

It's possible to put actual numbers on it (I am not doing it now, because right now I am prioritizing), and answerers can take the challenge. First compute how much energy you get by accretion of mass in the gravitational potential well. That is the energy required to explode the Moon to smithereens. Then look up Wiki for nuclear devices http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapon_yield and compare it with the energy released by a Tsar Bomba, the biggest explosive device ever built. My guess is you'd need billions or more of those.

If I have the time, and nobody tackled it yet, I may come back to this.

__________________

The gravitational potential of a body of mass M and radius R is given by

V = - GM / R

placing the zero at infinity. Representing the accreted mass at any given time by m, and the radius corresponding to that mass, by r, we will assume that density ρ is constant through out the accretion and equal to today's average density of the Moon, that is ρ = Mmoon / Vmoon. This is a rather poor approximation but doing better would get us into some trouble.

Then the energy we can theoretically extract from a small amount of mass dm, falling from infinity, is

dE = G m/r dm, or

Etotal = G ∫ m/r dm, from m=0 to Mmoon.

Given that ρ 4/3 π r³ = m, we get

r = [3/4π m / ρ]^(1/3)

and therefore, placing the constants outside the integration, we get

E = G [4π ρ / 3]^(1/3) ∫ m^(2/3) dm = G [4π ρ / 3]^(1/3) 3/5 Mmoon^(5/3)

This is the minimal energy required to blow up the Moon, with the approximation for density already mentioned. I hope I didn't make any mistakes. We'll see that with the actual computation

_________________________

So, in numbers, we have:

Mmoon = 7.3477 × 10^(22) kg

Rmoon = 1 737.10 km

ρ = 3 346.4 kg/m³

G = 6.674 × 10^(−11) Nm² /kg²

4π = 12.5664

3/5 G [4π ρ / 3]^(1/3) = 9.655 x 10^(-10)

Mmoon^(5/3) = 1.289 x 10^(38)

Energy = 1.2445 x 10^(29) Joules

The final result is in Joules as we only used SI units. Given that a Tsar Bomba releases about 210,000 TJ or 210 x 10^(15) Joules, the minimum number of bombs required would be

N = 1.2445 x 10^(29) / 210 x 10^(15) = 592.6 billion bombs

This value is an absolute minimum. Much of the energy delivered by a thermonuclear device is heat and light but to explode the Moon we need kinetic energy. A snug fit in the rock is necessary, and ample tunneling inside the Moon, to distribute the bombs evenly, is required. Digging 1737 Km tunnels, a large number of them, would be a feat in itself. But let's try something different.

________________________________

If we had the capability to send everyday one of these bombs to the Moon, we'd need 1,623,613,829 about 1 billion years to do it.

Considering that each of these bombs requires 10 Kg of iron to be manufactured (a ridiculous estimate of the resources need to produce one) and that total world production of iron in 2006, was 1,800,000 thousands of tonnes, or 1.8 x 10^(12) Kg... Well...

_____________________________________

Why do you want to blow up the Moon, anyway? With which light are you going to tell your lover sweet things?

Lv 6

You couldn't "knock the bugger clear out of the sky" with our current nuclear explosives. It's like trying to explode the USA with a few fireworks.

If the Moon were to be gone, then the main consequence would be the loss of the tides in Earth's oceans, which many sea creatures depend on for survival. There would probably be some extinctions and some problems in the food chain.

Also, don't forget how nuclear bombs work in the first place. Radiation is the most deadly effect of the bombs - only lethal to life. Radiation is not going to explode a moon.

• Anonymous
4 years ago

There are some issues in this question that are incredibly 'screwed up'... a million) Russia and China are not terrorist countries - and that they may well be as badly affected as 'something of the worldwide' if this lunatic concept have been to be accomplished - much extra so relatively for the reason that they are 2 of the main important countries in the worldwide, and in comparison to particular others, a hassle-free share of their populations seem to think of (as I do) that we in simple terms get one shot at existence in the worldwide - as quickly as you're long gone, you're long gone.... 2) it is not attainable to 'blow up the Moon' without the outcomes spreading as a procedures with the aid of fact the Earth, probable appreciably extra, in certainty, so all and sundry in the worldwide, (the entire worldwide inhabitants) may well be killed.... there is probable extra 'logical flaws' in this question, yet i'm no longer arranged to spend from now on time on it.......

• suitti
Lv 7

Modern thermonuclear bombs are not enough. However, hydrogen bombs do not have an upper design limit. So, in principal, a big enough bomb could be designed, built and deployed. I'm not saying that this is a good idea.

Assuming the debris didn't rain down on Earth killing everyone and everything (that is, the design goal was to just vaporize the Moon, with no collateral damage - remembering that we routinely blow up buildings leaving nearby buildings undamaged), the Earth's rotation on it's axis would become less stable over geological time, and would tend to vary more than it does now. This would have significant effects on the weather and seasons everywhere.

• Anonymous

It would not be possible to blow up the moon with conventional weapons. The British Government have recently developed a most powerful weapon which should do the trick - the Fart Gas Bomb made exclusively from cow flatulence.

The benefit of using this new device is it's total destructive power thereby exploding the moon to mere dust and not causing any after effects problems

• Anonymous

Even if we used every nuclear weapon on Earth we would not blow up the moon or affect its orbit or rotation.

We could put a big hole in its surface maybe a couple of dozen kilometers across and maybe 10 kilometers deep, but that's small in comparison to the moon - the moon is almost 3500 kilometers in diameter.

But, if we did that (for whatever lamebrained reason), at least some of the debris from the blasts would end up entering Earth's atmosphere and could cause damage to life and property.

• Anonymous

More than possible old boy, as I have proven on many occasion each night I send up a Rotter rocket full of dynamite aimed straight at the moon and by the time I wake up the next morning it has been blown clean out of the sky.

The only problem is it would seem to have some sort of regeneration properties about it. As the next night there it is again bold as brass mocking me (most frustrating) I thought I was winning the battle a few days back when it returned only half regenerated, only to be disappointed a few days later when it was back to its old self.

Maybe its time I upped the dynamite levels in my rocket, what say you old boy. Tip top.

• Anonymous

Anythings possible.

Consequences -

1. No more werewolves.

2. Stars in the sky get a bit big for their boots and fight over who is then THE star.

3. Will no longer search for face on the moon.

4. Messes up Astrology a bit but won't affect all that made up Astronomy business. They'll keep making up new 'facts'.

I'm on board.

Rosy

Well I say, I was so into the explosion idea I didn't consider that. Maybe we could blow it up a bit here and there and shape it to look like Jack Dees face. We'd still have to search for the smile.

I have my saftey goggles ready.