Top 10 ways to destroy the earth has a guide for all you future evil genuises who are trying to figure out the best way to destroy the earth. And since I know I have some vil geniuses reading the site, I’ll help you out and get some of the details up here. I can clue you in up front that there is no mention of sharks nor frikkin’ laser beams.

Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

You’ve seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You’ve heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.


The Earth was built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you’ve had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily.

So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do not think this will be easy.

Current Earth-destruction Status

  • Number of times the Earth has been destroyed: 0
  • Number of plans currently in progress with the final aim of bringing about the Earth’s destruction: 0
  • Number of scientific experiments currently underway with the potential to bring about the Earth’s destruction: 0
  • Minimum amount of time until the Earth is destroyed by natural means (discounting total existence failure): 25 years
  • Minimum amount of time until the Earth is destroyed by artificial means: 50 years

My favorite in the list is #2:

Eaten by von Neumann machines

You will need: a single von Neumann machine

Method: A von Neumann machine is any device that is capable of creating an exact copy of itself given nothing but the necessary raw materials. Create one of these that subsists almost entirely on iron, magnesium, aluminum and silicon, the major elements found in Earth’s mantle and core. It doesn’t matter how big it is as long as it can reproduce itself exactly in any period of time. Release it into the ground under the Earth’s crust and allow it to fend for itself. Watch and wait as it creates a second von Neumann machine, then they create two more, then they create four more. As the population of machines doubles repeatedly, the planet Earth will, terrifyingly soon, be entirely eaten up and turned into a swarm of potentially sextillions of machines. Technically your objective would now be complete – no more Earth – but if you want to be thorough then you can command your VNMs to hurl themselves, along with any remaining trace elements, into the Sun. This hurling would have to be achieved using rocket propulsion of some sort, so be sure to include this in your design.

So crazy it might just work.

Earth’s final resting place: the bodies of the VNMs themselves, then a small lump of iron sinking into the Sun.

Earliest feasible completion date: Potentially 2045-2050, or even earlier.

Source: “2010: Odyssey Two,” by Arthur C. Clarke

[tags]Destroy the earth, Evil Genius[/tags]