How Many Nukes Will It Take To Instantly Annihilate Humanity?

Forget about nuclear winter. Humans are resilient. We will survive. So how many nukes will it take to destroy every single human being in the planet, on first blast? Here's the calculation in graphic form—with a surprising answer.

The first part of the graphics—created by David McCandless—shows how much space is actually used by the entire population. According to the Guardian Datablog and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, only 12.5 per cent of the planet's surface is actually occupied by humans. A total of 18,617,500 square kilometres.

Now, the most powerful active nuclear warhead in the world is the B83, which has a destructive power of two hundreds Fat Boys, the bomb that destroyed part of Hiroshima. That's a 14.9 square kilometre total destruction area. Complete instant tanning, and obliteration of anything in sight. To give you an idea of what this space means, Manhattan is 58.8 square kilometres. Central London is 26 square kilometres.

Now divide the total number of square kilometres by the destruction radius of the B83 to get the total number of nukes required for instant annihilation. As you can see, we need 123.36 times the amount of nukes available today.

Conclusion: WE NEED MORE NUKES, NO LESS. Better die instantly than having to survive nuclear winter and another yet another horrible movie with Mel Gibson playing Mad Max. One that would last for a few hundred years at that. [David McCandless—Thanks David Keyes]


    I have four icepoles and a iphone, how can i contribute? :<

      unfortunately you can't use your iphone to aid in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. it's in the EULA.

    Love the analogy but shouldnt that have been Kevin Costner in another "postman"

    This is a bit like saying "how many men would it take to instantly paint my house?" It would take a lot to do it instantly, but with less men, the house still gets painted, it's just a more drawn out process.

    We easily have enough nukes in the world to paint the house slowly, so to speak...

      Yes, but nukes are a one-off kind of application. You can't spread nuke paint around the house as you please; it goes on thickly in one area then dries.

      worst analogy ever.

    If only nuclear fallout didnt travel at all.

    Waste of a post, yet again.

    These calculations only seem to be taking into account the initial blast damage. I'd say it could be done with a few less if you trust in the residual radiation to either sterilise or otherwise damage those around ground zero.

    Of course to be sure of that you'd need to take into account ground level airflow, topography, population density in the specific area etc.

    Icypoles and Iphone for the win!

    One flash and your ash. Yeah. I am more concerned about the upcoming Zombpocalypse.

    I don't hate zombies I just love killing them.

      2nd that

    What about North Korea and Irans nukes?

      So 10,227, with Iran and North Korea's added, becomes about 10,228.

    Mad Max 2 was better.

    At least now I can sleep at night knowing that we have less than 1% of the weapons required to destroy us all. Nuking Australia would be such a waste of a good nuke, so now I can sleep even better.

      i was just telling my boyfriend that we should just move to australia. Everyone is pi**ed @ the u.s. i dont want to be somewhere that is gonna get bombed if the s**t hits the fan.

    from what i gather nulear bombs arent that badass. Build u a whole n the ground take water n some energy bars stick nit out 2 wks n when u come out walk real careful as to not stir up the radiants. we will live. GOD is more powerful than any human made thing.

    Don't matter where you move to one nuke launches then they all do, and they arent all pointed in one place there is some for all.

    And here is a interesting site to see what the damage radius is of several types of nukes.

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