How Many Nukes Would It Take To Blow Up The Entire Planet?

Dropping one nuclear bomb is terrible enough — cities leveled, populations vaporized. Horrible enough on its own — but what if you dropped 183,000? Goodbye, USA. So what about obliterating the moon? We've got it.

These wonderfully graphic calculations are courtesy of graphic designer Maximilian Bode, who tallied how many warheads of varying sizes it'd take to annihilate everything from San Francisco to the landmass of Earth itself. Both are bad. One is a little worse.

What about the Little Boy, mankind's first WWII foray into scorching itself? Four to totally erase DC, and over 3.5 million to scrap the whole world.

Little Boy's sequel upped the megatonnage a bit.

The Ivy King bomb tested by the US would be a slightly more efficient means of ushering in the apocalypse, with 55,000 and some change needed to level all of the US.

The B53 nuclear bomb, America's 600x version of Little Boy, is considerably more potent.

The Castle Bravo thermonuclear hydrogen bomb is no slouch — almost 9000 would eradicate what little there is on the Moon.

And finally, the Tzar Bomba — the largest nuclear weapon humanity has ever concocted. A real doomsday device. "Only" 16,000 would toast the whole planet.

Of course, none of these figures take fallout and other atmospheric effects into account — just square mileage blown away. So it'd actually, technically, require fewer warheads to exterminate our species. But that's irrelevant, Maximilian points out: "There are an estimated total of 20,500 nuclear warheads in the world today. If the average power of these devices is 33,500 kilotons, there are enough to destroy the total earth landmass." And why do we need so many of these things again?

All graphics published with permission of Maximilian Bode — you can check out more of his exquisite work here and here.

Trending Stories Right Now