Everything wrong with Armageddon

I have to word this very carefully. Do you really want to mess with Harry Stamper? I mean, he shot a person with a shotgun at close range on an oil rig all because his daughter had limited options and thought Ben Affleck would be a good choice in boyfriend. Armageddon is a great movie.. but.. not so great when you’re overly science-y minded 🙁We all know that Bruce Willis is the savior of Earth from an older article which answers some of the movies’ plot points with real scientific answers. On my older article, I quoted that NASA shows the 1998 film Armageddon to its management training hirees, and they have to pick out all of the inaccuracies in order to get hired. Whether they actually don’t get the job because they only managed to get 167 out of the 168 is a closely guarded secret. So what exactly is wrong with the film? I’m not going to list all 168 (NASA quoted amount), because I don’t want to be here all day writing this.. so here’s 15 🙂





These are in no particular order of the films’ events.

  1. The ship crash lands on the asteroid, and the surviving crew assesses the damage. A lot of it is on fire. The asteroid has no atmosphere to contain Oxygen required to cause the fires. A near perfect vacuum wouldn’t even spark.
  2. Speaking of being in vacuum, how did that ship take off at the end when there’s no air or anything to provide lift on the wings? Firing that big jet at the ass-end of the rocket would cause it to go forward like when you step on the gas in your car.
  3. The ship is supposed to be sterilized, hence the pre-boarding crew being in clean suits and what not, yet Steve Buscemi’s character is seen flicking a fly away while on the asteroid. You can see presumably the same fly in other scenes in the movie, on control panels, and other areas.
  4. The vibrations, among many other reasons why, of a spaceship taking off from a platform would cause the other ship to destroy itself. Let’s not forget all that uncontrollable fire, steam and debris all over the place 😛
  5. Nine and a half G’s of pressure for any amount of time would cause a human to pass out. Wearing a G-suit or not, no helmet would cause the body to disperse this pressure, and they’d pass out. The crew is screaming during this scene.
  6. The “dark side” of almost any body in space is usually about zero Kelvin, or roughly -273 degrees Celsius. Firing a gatling gun on a low gravity environment would not only cause the gun to explode (absolute zero cold barrels firing an explosive round), the item the gun is attached too, the spaceship in this case, would go flying backwards at nearly the same speed as the bullet leaving the barrel. F=MA folks 🙂
  7. The fuel the spaceships use, after refueling at the MIR wannabe Russian space station, is Liquid Oxygen. Liquid Oxygen is the Oxidizer of the fuel. Liquid Hydrogen is the fuel. They had none of that on board, so the ship refueled with what is essentially putting water in your gas tank instead of gasoline/diesel.
  8. Spaceships don’t bank and turn in space like fighter jets. Come on Michael Bay.. get your shit together..
  9. The size of the Asteroid coming from Earth is “the size of Texas”, or roughly 400,000 square kilometres. An impact of that size would vaporise the entire Pacific ocean nearly instantly. The plasma generated instantly after that would sterilize the entire planet within 30 seconds or less. You’d not hear the explosion or feel the impact, because you’d be dead, regardless of where you are on the planet. Deep underground, up on the ISS, or in the middle of the Atlantic; it doesn’t matter.. you’re toast.. warm buttery toast.. mmmmmmm…
  10. AJ’s glove is torn from something that happened during impact of the first shuttle. In a pressurized suit, why is there not a decompression happening here? Also, it’s a vacuum, why are his fingers still perfectly fine? (Related: What would happen if you were floating in space without a spacesuit?)
  11. During the scene showing everyone praying and doing stuff to prepare for “the end”, it’s daylight everywhere.
  12. Simulating gravity on MIR in the way that was portrayed would apply so much pressure and centripetal force on the shuttle, that it would tear the station apart. The centre of the space station would be balanced and have a microgravity environment.
  13. Speaking of the MIRish space station; when it’s blowing up, a piece breaks off and crashes through and splits off from the shuttle and station (“the arm of station breaks”). This would cause everyone running to shuttle, items inside the station, and more to go flying outwards during the decompression. No one could fight that decompression force, no matter how strong or how fast they’re running elsewhere.
  14. The space suits everyone’s wearing have thrusters to keep them on the surface of the asteroid, to make work easier. How are people not in suits walking normally elsewhere, such as on the space shuttle?
  15. There’s no real amount of gravity on the surface of the Asteroid. When drilling, you have to remove the debris you’re displacing, but they’re drilling “800 feet”, and yet, nothing is ever shown leaving the hole they’re drilling.

9 thoughts on “Everything wrong with Armageddon”

  1. I saw this awhile ago but… 16- they say the asteroid would be like 10 000 atomic bombs going off which is an understatement of epic proportions. 17- something the size of Texas and only 18 days away would not only be visible to 2 telescopes but easily seen by anyone with eyes. 18- the asteroid is solid iron and they drill a 2 foot hole 800 feet into it in no time 19- when they train for zero gravity, they pump the air out of a hanger…because that makes gravity disappear, right? Crap..I could go on and on.

  2. I love all this, but did anyone who saw Armageddon think it was a documentary? We all know the most implausible bit of the film is Rockhound hooking up with Molly Mounds. Next up? Woody is not a real cowboy, shocker.

  3. 20. The movie goes out of its way to show us the crew discarding lots of equipment they found unnecessary, yet for some reason they decided to keep the gun.
    21. NASA was willing to risk sending drillers into space with minimal astronaut training as opposed to sending astronauts into space with minimal drilling training.
    22. I haven’t seen the opening in a while, but it shows the dinosaur extinction event… and yet, if I recall, has the continents in their present day locations? (This ironically sets the tone for the movie better than the voiceover could ever hope to)

  4. thebeam2008 – The entire asteroid is not solid iron. The area they landed on has a plate of solid iron. That is why they start off going slow and breaking lots of bits.

    Not sure what the point with number 9 was…everyone would die…that’s kind of what the movie said.

  5. “the item the gun is attached too, the spaceship in this case, would go flying backwards at nearly the same speed as the bullet leaving the barrel”

    — only if the bullets massed roughly the same as the ship. m₁δv₁ + m₂δv₂ = 0, dude…

  6. Nice post but we _all_ see those things in the movie. How else could have they made the movie without actually doing everything? It’s obvious it was photographed in the space. I wonder for how long time have they waited for an asteroid come but they did and it is clear to see. It’s as obvious as the Sun rising in the west… 😉

  7. Those Gatling guns are attached to the drilling rig (armadillo) so the point about F=Ma still stands. They can put out a huge amount of lead in a very short time.

    I’m more confused about why they bothered to take them along in the first place. What exactly were they expecting to shoot?


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