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I was watching Stars Wars over the weekend and the death star got me thinking

 

Could a gamma ray burst from outer space which generates about10^47 J aimed at earth destroy the planet.. I think it would be enough to at least destroy the atmosphere... any thoughts out there...

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I also think it's possible.

 

The number of 10^47 J is so immense that it should be possible.

 

Earth is 5.976*10^24 kg. Heat it all up by 5000 degrees, using the CP of water: 21*10^6 J/kg. And to evaporate it another 2.3*10^6 J.

 

Total energy required according to this estimate: 1.4*10^32 J... (which less than a factor 2 different from the value above, and I've given some argumentation for the number, which I couldn't find on the link provided).

 

In short: 10^47 J is about 1000000000000000x too much energy, and I wouldn't be surprised if you can destroy a star with it, not just a planet.

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This thread is scaring me! If a terrorist got hold of this information, then all he'd have to do is go up into space and blast us with 10^47J and that would be that! .... Wont somebody think of the children!

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