a reply to: staywellinformed
Well, congratulations on your first thread staywellinformed.
However, in the interests of living up to your user name, I would recommend that you pay close attention to the wording of the article you linked
The comments attributed to the physicist mentioned in the article, include a segment having to do with a pair of anomalous nuclear explosions leaving
no craters. As you are no doubt aware, most nuclear weapons produced and test detonated on this planet, have been designed to explode before reaching
the ground, and would not leave craters anyway. They might leave a massive stain against the ground directly beneath the point of origin for the
blast, but not a crater.
Although it is true that a nuclear weapon detonated at ground level would dig a huge hole in the ground, the only nuclear weapons ever deployed in
war, left no crater what so ever, and were more effective as a result. If an explosion wastes its energy turning over earth, its lethality is reduced,
unless one happens to be in exactly the wrong place, at exactly the wrong time to avoid its fury.
An airburst spreads the damage radius out much further, causing far greater devastation.
This means that the mans point is moot. Furthermore, two nuclear blasts on a planet like Mars, would have next to no significance what so ever,
unless those nuclear explosions were several orders of magnitude greater in size than the Tsar Bomba, which is the affectionate name for a 50 megaton
nuclear weapon, the AN602 hydrogen bomb. It was experimentally detonated by the Russians on October 30th 1961. The mushroom clouds crown was 35 miles
high at its peak. It was, and remains to this day, the largest man made explosion ever created.
What the physicist whose comments are the basis for the article you linked to, is suggesting, is that a pair of much larger, and I mean thousands of
time larger explosions, were set off on Mars. Let me just state for the record, that I could be proven wrong in the fullness of time when I say what I
am about to say, but that I stand by my thinking on this...
First of all, no such detonations happened, because no such bomb would ever be built. Why? Because to build something like that would be risky, and
wasteful. It would be much easier for a species which sought to destroy a civilisation, to put some sort of ion engine like device onto an Oort Cloud
object, and steer it at ever increasing speed, toward the planet of choice. It would also have a greater impact than a mere nuclear warhead of any
size, because you see, a kinetic impactor has FAR more potential for destruction than a nuclear weapon.
No nuclear weapon can penetrate the surface of a planet down to its molten guts, but a kinetic impactor certainly can. You find a hard, iron rich
lump of space rock, and propel it toward a planet, and it will have an effect which will remind you of a .22 round hitting a melon. It will end every
life on that world down to the last microbe on the surface, and what is more, it will throw up nuclear material from natural deposits in the crust of
the planet, which will be pulverised at the site of impact, and thrown up into the atmosphere.
You find a lump of space stuff big enough, you could probably crack a planet into pieces with it using the same method. A warhead big enough to do
anything like the damage of a cleverly directed Oort Cloud object would be something which no species would want to lug around with it, given the ease
of availability of natural projectiles to do the job with.