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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Blastr: In which I vaporize the Moon

By Phil Plait

I write a (very semi) monthly column for Blastr, the online portal for the SyFy Channel, and my latest article strikes close to my geeky heart.

When I was a kid I loved loved loved the TV show "Space: 1999". The premise of the show is that a nuclear waste accident blasts the Moon out of Earth orbit and into deep space, where weird unexplained hijinks ensue. Back then the scientific basis of the show didn't bother me, but when I became a high-falutin' science type, I wondered: how much energy would it take to hurl the Moon away from the solar system? And what would happen if it did?

The answer would not have made 13-year-old me happy. But as an adult I love playing with the physics and math, and you might as well admit you're dying to know. So go read my article, and be glad our Moon has a nice, stable orbit right here around good ol' planet Earth.

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