Wonderful Engineering

Can Our Little Earth Nuke This Mighty Sun? The Answer Is Highly Unexpected

Credits: New York Times

What if a bee stung an elephant? What if a burning matchstick got into the furnace? What would happen then?! In the case of a matchstick, no big deal at all. However, elephant, being scared of bees, would be traumatized. Poor guy, all his fears and nightmares have just turned into reality.

Imagine if the sun is an elephant, and the nuke you fire is a bee. If you think that the sun will scratch its back, or notice the invasion from its tiny pupil, you might have just underestimated the sun. It’s huge, a scary giant hot ball that has 106 times more diameter than our tiny earth.

Credits: Quora

Moreover, it happens to be the biggest nuclear reactor in our solar system. The sun outputs a power of 3.6×1026 Watts or Joules per second. In 2013, humans around the globe consumed the total energy of 5.67×1020 Joules. In one second, the sun gives off enough power to fulfill the energy requirements of the entire earth.

There are 20,000 nukes in the world, the largest of them is Tzar Bomb. The energy output of Tzar bomb is approximately 2.1×1017  Joules. Let us assume that we are attacking the sun with all the nukes we have!

The total energy would be 4.2×10121 Joules. The sun releases the same amount of energy in 0.00001 seconds. Hence, this elephant may notice a bee-sting, but it will never notice if a bee took a suicidal plunge towards him or not. The shockwaves produced by the nuke in the flux of the sun surface might travel to a mile or so. However, they will quickly fall back to their original levels; this effect won’t even last a second.

This pretty much answers this question. However, there is one unexpected result that might happen. ‘Nuclear waste spectrum as evidence of technological extraterrestrial civilizations’ discusses the possibility of signaling aliens about our existence if we nuke the sun. According to Daniel and David, the authors,

“The observation of a radioactive element such as plutonium in the spectrum of a main-sequence star would in itself suggest an artificial origin. If a technical civilization was so motivated it could establish a spectral marker using only plutonium-239.”

Credits: Animated Images

Plutonium is an artificial element, so there is no natural purpose for it to exist in the sun. However, it theoretically does exist in the sun. This has given more insight into the possibilities of extraterrestrials in the space.

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