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Doomsday devices, when used in fiction, are capable of destroying anything from a civilization to an entire universe, and may be used for the purpose of mutually assured destruction, or as weapons in their own right. Examples of such devices include the Death Star from the Star Wars film franchise, the "Doomsday Machine" seen in the original Star Trek television series, or the atomic-powered stone burners from Frank Herbert's Dune franchise.

Overview

Planet killers function in a variety of ways depending on the series. Weapons such as the Death Star and the titular ship in Lexx use a directed energy weapon capable of obliterating a planet in moments. In the game Spore, the Planet Buster is an antimatter bomb that is inserted in the center of the planet, causing the planet's core to split into countless fragments. Other weapons, such as the Shadow Planet Killer in Babylon 5 and Covenant warships in the Halo series, render a planet uninhabitable. The Shadow Planet Killer does so by firing missiles which burrow into the planet's core and detonate, causing planet-wide volcanic activity which renders the planet lifeless. Covenant warships use plasma weapons to superheat the surface of the planet; the crust is turned into a glass-like substance rendering it uninhabitable. In Star Blazers, missiles that can destroy a planet (and even a star) with a single hit exist.

Some devices can destroy entire star systems. Nova bombs in Andromeda, the Sun Crusher and Centerpoint Station in the Star Wars novels, and Dr. Tolian Soran's trilithium torpedo in Star Trek Generations, are all capable of causing a supernova, obliterating every planet in the Solar System.

Planet killers in fiction

Film and television

Andromeda

Babylon 5

Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Lexx

DC Comics

Stargate SG-1/Stargate Atlantis

Star Trek

General Order 24 (see below) indicates that all Federation starships of cruiser size or above were capable of being planet killers by sustained use of conventional weapons to thoroughly bombard a planet.

The Original Series
The Animated Series
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek (movies)
Star Trek novels

Star Wars

Doctor Who

Other film and television

Literature

The E.C.Tubb story 'Little Girl Lost' (also, a filmed adaptation was done for USA TV Series NIGHT GALLERY) presents a scenario where a researcher, working on atomic weapons (in the TV adaptation, he is working for the US, in the original, for the British government) suffers a nervous breakdown when his daughter is killed in a car accident. In order to keep him working at his project, a psychologist is brought in to keep him in a delusional state, thinking that she is still alive ... it seems that he is completely fooled by this ruse until the end, where it is discovered that his weapon can (and does) destroy the planet, or at least that is implied ...

▪ Stephan Ames Berry Kronarian book series has two versions of planet busters one produced by the old imperium burrows into a planets cores and explodes destroying the planet from the inside out. The other was produced by the Trel called a worm maker creates a wormhole to consume a planet or in some cases whole solar systems. this one was copied by the antagonist AI's and was used against them destroying their fleet.

Games

Halo series

The titular Halo installations themselves only kill sentient life, leaving planets and their biospheres-as well as any creature without sufficient biomass to support The Flood-otherwise intact. However, Forerunner and ancient Human fleets are known to possess less selective weapons capable of inducing stellar collapses at will.

StarCraft (series)

Sins of a Solar Empire

Warhammer 40,000

Stellaris

Other games

Anime and manga

Dragon Ball

Many characters in the series can destroy planets.

Kiddy Grade

Sailor Moon

Gall Force

In the first 3 Gall Force movies both sides the Solnoid and Paranoid Axis forces have had both their home worlds destroyed in a war of mutual assured destruction. They plan on using the last of their planet destroyers and include the new system destroyers in their final battle plans.

Gurren Lagann

The main antagonist, the Anti-Spiral, is shown to have destroyed many planets, stars, and galaxies. In the second film adaptation, an entire universe is destroyed in the Anti-Spiral's clash with the similarly powerful Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love

In the final battle with Kain, who is apparently powerful enough to destroy a planet on his own. Washu decides to have Kiyone make use of a "Dimensional Cannon". In spite of Kiyone's protests that you shouldn't even use it on a city because it is made for taking out small galaxies.

Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers)

Throughout the series and movies, including Rebirth and the recent live action film, the Yamato (Argo) and similar battleships in the Earth Defense Force are armed with a Wave Motion Gun. This weapon of last resort is capable of obliterating entire fleets in one shot, as well as most moon and planetary sized objects. The downside of using this weapon is that it leaves the ship defenseless before and after firing due to the massive amount of energy needed to fire it (except in Rebirth, where the ship could fire six shots without recharging.) Also included would be the Desler (Desslok) cannon, built on the same principle (Tachyon Compression), and the main cannon in Zordar's dreadnaught, which was deployed at the end of season 2.

In the remake Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202 the White Comet of the Gatlantis Empire is a planet killing weapon, that captures and destroy a planet's biosphere.

Eureka seveN

At the end of the series, it is established that the Coralians have the ability to engulf a planet and form their own version of a planetary crust, although they did not exercise it with the purpose of making a planet uninhabitable.

The End of Evangelion

At the end of the movie, the Human Instrumentality Project is carried out and the Human race is combined into one shared consciousness.

Comics

DC Comics

Other media

Secondary literature

In his discussion of the tradition of apocalyptic cinema Mitchell exemplifies what the film Doomsday Machine or Escape from Planet Earth characterizes as a "planet-buster"[7] as belonging to the class of "Doomsday device".[8] Secondary literature can also use terms like "planet-cracker"[9] or "planet-busting superweapon".[10]

Science journalism

In the field of science journalism, a 1962 article examined various means "to put an end to the world", concentrating on "Doomsday Bombs".[11]

As astronomer Phil Plait has pointed out, the amount of energy necessary to shatter an Earth-sized planet is extremely large: "about 2 x 1032 Joules.... about as much energy as the sun puts out in a week."[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ Zero Hour"
  2. ^ "By Inferno's Light". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season 5. Episode 15. Paramount Television. February 15, 1997. 40 minutes in. syndicated.
  3. ^ Palumbo, Donald (2002). Chaos theory, Asimov's foundations and robots, and Herbert's Dune: the fractal aesthetic of epic science fiction. Contributions to the study of science fiction and fantasy. Vol. 100. Greenwood Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-313-31189-5. Retrieved 2010-12-15. Robots and Empire reveals that Amadiro's nuclear intensifier irradiates Earth
  4. ^ Smith, Edward Elmer (1998) [1953]. Second Stage Lensmen. History of civilization, Edward Elmer Smith. Vol. 5 (reprint ed.). Old Earth Books. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-882968-13-8. Retrieved 2010-12-15. '[...] we used the negasphere – a negative-matter bomb of plaanetary anti-mass – to wipe out Jalte's planet [...]'
  5. ^ Hubbard, L. Ron (2005) [1982]. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (reissue ed.). Galaxy Press LLC. p. 1050. ISBN 978-1-59212-007-9. Retrieved 2010-12-15. [...] ten 'planet buster' nuclear missile bombs, forbidden by treaties because they could crack the planet;s crust and spray the world with fallout.
  6. ^ "Unknown Menace - SotS".
  7. ^ Mitchell, Charles P. (2001). A guide to apocalyptic cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-313-31527-5. Retrieved 2010-12-12. REPRESENTATIVE QUOTES '[...] those chopstick jockeys couldn't come up with a planet-buster, could they?' (Danny reacting to Dr. Perry's theory that the chinese device could destroy the Earth)
  8. ^ Mitchell, Charles P. (2001). A guide to apocalyptic cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-313-31527-5. Retrieved 2010-12-12. Threat: Doomsday device
  9. ^ Brians, Paul (November 1984). "Nuclear War in Science Fiction, 1945–59". Science Fiction Studies. SF-TH Inc. 11 (3): 253–263. JSTOR 4239638. Whether they dismissed the early bomb as primitive or portrayed it as a planet-cracker, writers seemed to have difficulty adjusting to the scale of the new weapon.
  10. ^ Paul, Brians (2008-12-17). "Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: F". Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction. Archived from the original on 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2010-12-12. [...] a planet-busting superweapon is brought from Earth and sent to Mars, but cooler heads prevail and it is sent to explode harmlessly in the Sun.
  11. ^ Mann, Martin (September 1962). Crossley, Robert P (ed.). "Man's Last Big Blast". Popular Science. 181 (3): 111–113 & 214–215. Retrieved 2010-12-15. [...] a new and terrifying weapon: the Doomsday Bombs [...] designed, in their ultimate form, to put an end to the world.
  12. ^ Plait, Phil. "Astronomer: 3 reasons we can't blow up a planet sci-fi style" ''blastr.com'' September 12, 2011. Blastr.com. Retrieved on 2012-08-06.