“Did you see the movie Deep Impact?”
Yes, I did, I tell David Morrison, the chief scientist for the Planetary Defense Team at NASA’s Ames Research Center. That’s the 1998 film where astronauts pilot a spacecraft carrying nuclear weapons into the center of a massive comet, destroying the threat moments before it hits Earth.
“The conclusion contains an error,” says Morrison. “They’ve just blown this comet apart, and our hero and heroine, hand-in-hand on a mountain, watch this beautiful meteor shower. If a five-kilometer object broke up with all those things in the atmosphere, it would have created a heat pulse that would have blinded and burned them immediately.”