Gravitational waves tearing apart entire planets?

by Zack Zagranis | updated

While most nerds are content debating whether or not Batman can take Wolverine in a fight, they are in Dead Planets Society Busy with bigger questions like, can a gravitational wave rip an entire planet apart? The last episode of new worldHis podcast takes a godlike approach to the universe and tries to figure out if you could move celestial bodies like chess on a chessboard, would it be possible to put two black holes close to a planet in such a way that the resulting gravitational waves could unbend them like a monkey’s piece of bread.

If theoretical gravitational waves vibrated at the right frequency, they could potentially cause the Earth to expand beyond its limits until it breaks into smaller pieces.

Gravitational-wave researcher Christopher Perry joins hosts Chelsea White and Leah Crane Dead Planet SocietyThe final episode is to discuss his area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise and whether or not gravitational waves can make an effective replacement for the Death Star.

What causes gravitational waves?

Gravitational waves are usually caused by something very massive and dense, like a black hole, colliding with another black hole. The resulting cosmic ripples or “waves” radiate outward, disrupting space-time as it progresses. Given how far away most of these space disasters are from the waves that reach Earth, they are so small that they can only be detected with highly specialized instruments.

Artist’s rendering of gravitational waves

The three podcasters started with the premise, “Is it possible to make a gravitational wave strong enough for humans to feel?” But the conversation quickly evolved to how to make waves large enough to destroy Earth or, as Chelsea put it, “Yeah, or the solar system, or everything, everywhere.” According to Perry, the first problem will be to distinguish between gravitational waves and just ordinary gravitational waves.

In the end, the consensus seems to be that you can use a gravitational wave to destroy a planet – or even an entire solar system if you wish – but the conditions behind such a wave could never have happened naturally.

“When you’re very close to a source of gravitational waves, at least the gravitational waves we’re talking about, say, two black holes orbiting each other, space-time is really bloated, so it’s not that easy to distinguish the wave from the underlying gravity itself,” Perry explained.

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Perry eventually settles on shaking as the key to getting the Earth to pull itself apart. If theoretical gravitational waves vibrated at the right frequency, they could potentially cause the Earth to expand beyond its limits until it breaks into smaller pieces. The conversation turns from there into a theoretical cosmic symphony of black holes placed at certain positions and frequencies, generating waves at different pitches.

Perry believes you can send this signal in any direction in space and it will become a beautiful-sounding orchestra of pure destruction.

In the end, the consensus seems to be that you can use a gravitational wave to destroy a planet – or even an entire solar system if you wish – but the conditions behind such a wave could never have happened naturally.

Only if one had the same control over the universe as Maine Craft The player has his own small world, can a scene where planet-destroying gravitational waves can be created.

In other words, don’t add “wildly separated by a massive gravitational wave” to your 2023 bingo card yet.


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