Armageddon (feat. Daniel Barker, Science Communicator) : Episode 83

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon


What: 💥💥💥 Blue collar everymen drilling a HUGE asteroid and then space explosions 💥💥💥
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Bruce Willis, Michael Clarke Duncan, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck

Featuring guest co-host
Daniel Barker headshot
Daniel James Barker of Uncertainty Principle the Podcast

Recommended and Related Media

Deep Impact – decipherSciFi episode 54
Remember the other movie from the same year that was actually kind of reasonable in comparison? We covered that.

Phil Plait’s Review of Armageddon
Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy is good. His very critical review of Armageddon is also good and it is an excuse to decipher some physicsy things.
Read it Bad Astronomer

Uncertainty Principle the Podcast
Daniel James Barker’s own show. It’s wonder-ful and you should go there and appreciate some science.
Listen Uncertainty Principle

Show Notes

*explosion noises*

Michael Bay blows things up. Layers of subtlety.


Just how very very large and unavoidably catastrophic the impactor in this movie is. Size vs Deep Impact. Size vs the dinosaur impactor.

Visibility of this asteroid in the sky

Angular size of this asteroid. Calculations from size, speed and distance suggested in the film (14 arcseconds). Using Ceres as a baseline for figuring out how bright this asteroid would be in our sky.

Tracking potential impactors

We do this irl! It helps when they’re on our solar plane. Comets can come in all sideways, which can make thing difficult. But we do okay tracking a lot of those too. Apophis.

Asteroid belts etc

Common misconceptions about the density of objects in the belt. It’s really diffuse in general! You won’t need to fly your shuttle like a jet in not-asmosphere.

Things hit earth

Lots of past impactors. Micrometeorites. Modern impacts like Chelyabinsk or Tunguska. Russia is basically a meteor magnet.



Drilling and art vs science. Astronaut training and why it’s not that big a deal and you can pretty much skip most of it and hop on an asteroid. 😎

Misc Physics

Nonsensical simulated gravity. Slingshot maneuvers. Steeling energy from moons and planets.


🎶 Leaving on a jet plane 🎶

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