Tuesday, March 04, 2008
How to destroy the Earth, part 7
7. Sucked into a giant black hole
You will need: a black hole, extremely powerful rocket engines, and, optionally, a large rocky planetary body. The nearest black hole to our planet is 1600 light years from Earth in the direction of Sagittarius, orbiting V4641.
Method: after locating your black hole, you need get it and the Earth together. This is likely to be the most time-consuming part of this plan. There are two methods, moving Earth or moving the black hole, though for best results you'd most likely move both at once. See the Guide to moving Earth for details on how to move the Earth. Several of the methods listed can be applied to the black hole too, though obviously not all of them, since it is impossible to physically touch the black hole, let along build rockets on it.
Earth's final resting place: part of the mass of the black hole.
Feasibility rating: 6/10. Very difficult, but definitely possible.
Sources: The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams; space.com.
Comments: It's clear that dropping the Earth into a singularity is massive overkill. A reasonably strong gravitational field, such as might be associated with any body between Jupiter and a neutron star, would be sufficient to rip the Earth apart via tidal forces. These possibilities are dealt with further down.