There we are, all enjoying our precious time on this wonderful home planet we call Earth, then BAM! Just like that, we’re taken away to non-existence along with Earth in a fantastically devastating explosion. Now, as you may know, Earth isn’t going to last forever. One day, long after we are all gone, the sun will expand, and the whole of our solar system will be destroyed. But could Earth explode before that day? How could such a premature explosion occur? What would happen to the moon? To our solar system? Well, if Earth does explode while we’re alive, then we won’t be able to find out the answers to all these questions because we’ll be dead from the blast! So out of curiosity, let’s get those answers now while we’re still alive!
So, what would happen if the Earth exploded? If the Earth exploded, chunks of debris would travel at high-velocity speeds in a variety of directions throughout space. Any objects, whether planets or moons, that the debris collided with would see physical damage. The moon would be the first to be hit as it is nearest by. There would also be a minor change in the gravitational relationships between the remaining objects in our universe.
All living things would perish. That kind of goes without saying, really.
But what could result in this explosion? Let’s continue to explore, shall we?
What Would Cause The Earth To Explode?
There are several potential ways the Earth could blow up. It could explode if it was able to increase its mass to a level where its thermonuclear reactions were so substantial that they could ignite and blow up the Earth. Alternatively, it might explode if it crashed into another object in space, but that object would need to be seriously big and traveling with some serious force and energy behind it.
Let’s make something clear before we go any further. Earth has withstood a lot already.
Long before humans came along, 4 billion years ago, Earth was getting an absolute pummelling from ginormous rocks from outer space.
Did Earth explode, then? No, it didn’t. It kept calm and carried on.
It’s also had to deal with asteroid strikes, supernovae blasts, and extreme weather. But did it surrender? No sir!
Sure, the living creatures on Earth at the time of these events, such as the dinosaurs, did not survive. But Earth did! Good old Earth, hey?
And so Earth has continued all this time without exploding. Good job, Earth!
So, is there any possible way that Earth’s defense could be broken and it could be blown up for good?
Well, there are two ways the planet could prematurely explode, each of which is a bit far-fetched.
Earth could explode if:
- Another object of a big enough size with enough energy behind it crashed into the planet.
- It was able to produce thermonuclear reactions that were substantial enough to ignite the planet.
Let’s dig into each of these potential causes with a little more detail.
Explosion via Collision
The most plausible cause of a premature explosion for Earth would be that it collides with another object in space.
This ain’t happening anytime soon, either.
Even if it did, the chances are that the impact would not be strong enough to totally blow up Earth. Instead, it would probably just be broken up into pieces.
An unimaginable amount of energy and force is required to explode a planet. The object Earth crashes with would need to be huge as well.
So whilst this is the most plausible scenario, it’s still very unlikely that it will occur.
Explosion via Thermonuclear Reactions
Stars burn and eventually explode. They are able to do this because they have thermonuclear reactions occurring deep inside their core centers.
Then add in the fact that stars are huge. So their thermonuclear reactions are, therefore, substantial enough for them to ignite and explode when their time to go comes.
However, some stars are too small and, therefore, unable to ignite, and these are known as brown dwarfs.
So, could Earth explode through its own thermonuclear reactions at its core center?
Well, scientists know that any object in space that has less than 8% of our sun’s mass is unable to ignite and explode because its nuclear reactions aren’t substantial enough.
Trust me; Earth has well below 8% of the sun’s total mass.
So for Earth to generate thermonuclear reactions that were substantial enough to ignite and explode, the planet would need to increase its mass.
We’re not talking about a few added pounds here.
Jupiter, for example, which is the biggest planet in our solar system, would require 13 times more of its present mass to have the ability to ignite itself and explode via thermonuclear reactions.
What Would Happen To The Solar System If Earth Exploded?
If Earth exploded, much of the solar system would remain untouched. Only objects that the debris collided with would see any impact. There would also be very little change between objects with regard to their gravitational relationships.
Yep, Earth would explode, and the rest of the solar system probably wouldn’t care too much.
However, that’s not to say that no object in the universe would feel some of the impacts of our demise.
For a start, an object might collide with a chunk of debris created by Earth’s explosion.
When Earth exploded (hypothetically, of course), loose bits of debris from the planet would have been blasted away from the explosion’s central point and started traveling in different directions in the universe.
The first to be hit, and also most likely to be hit due to its close proximity to the Earth, would be the moon. And some pretty severe damage would be done to the moon.
Now, after the moon, would other planets be hit? Well, it could happen. But the chances are relatively slim. Space is a big place!
Such a collision would be significant, though, as it could rearrange the surface of the object hit, whether it be a moon, planet, or whatever.
Unlike Earth, the other planets in our solar system don’t have any living beings, so there wouldn’t be a risk of death in such a collision.
Then there’s the chance that some planets may have to adjust their gravitational balance.
Objects in the universe have gravitational relationships with one another, including with Earth, so if one of those objects is blown up and no longer there, that impacts the nature of the gravitational relationship between certain objects.
But the chances are Earth’s demise, and absence would have very little impact on gravitational relationships.
What Would Happen To The Moon If Earth Exploded?
If Earth exploded, then the moon would probably be destroyed in a collision with a piece of debris traveling at high-velocity speeds.
It would depend on the size of the explosion.
If it was a full-on explosion with chunks of debris overcoming the gravitational pull and flying out in all directions throughout space, then the moon would be in trouble.
If a big chunk of debris collides with the moon, then it could destroy the moon. So long as it has the size and energy behind it (remember what we talked about reading Earth exploding via a collision).
If the explosion wasn’t as dramatic and Earth was broken up badly but all still within the same part of space, then the moon would continue to orbit what was Earth.
Earth’s gravitational pull would be severely weakened, and so would the moon’s orbit. But it would still be orbiting so long as there is some of Earth there with a gravitational pull.
But we’re here today to mainly talk about the big boy explosions. The kind that would send chunks of Earth across the solar system at high-velocity speeds.
In the case of such an explosion, yes, not only would it be the end of Earth and us, but it would probably be the end of the moon as well.
It’s so close to the Earth that the chances of a piece of massive debris flying at it and destroying it are quite high.
Luckily, planets aren’t made so that they have the capabilities to self-destruct. Earth included!
If Earth were to explode, it would need to be involved in a high-speed collision. And that isn’t happening anytime soon (touch wood).
The solar system would probably survive if Earth exploded, but wouldn’t be the same.
But our poor moon would probably go down with us!
Other similar guides that may be of interest:
Hey, my name is Jeremy. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.