Planet killer

Planet killer

In science fiction, a planet killer (or some variation on that meaning) is a object capable of destroying an entire planet or render it uninhabitable. One of the most notable examples of a planet killer is the Death Star from the Star Wars 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. 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 a planet's surface, called "glassing."

Some planet killers do not target the planet at all, but rather the star in the solar system. Nova bombs in Andromeda, the Sun Crusher in the Star Wars novels, and Dr. Tolien 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

Andromeda

  • All Commonwealth warships were equipped with a limited stock of "Nova-bomb" warheads for their missiles, one of which is sufficient to cause a star to nova, thus destroying its planets.

Babylon 5

  • Babylon 5: The Lost Tales - Centauri Superweapons, hinted at by a dream sequence set 30 years into the future that Sheridan experiences. While only NYC is destroyed in the scene, it is implied that all of Earth gets wiped out.
  • Shadow Planet Killer
  • Vorlon Planet Killer
  • Mass Drivers used by the Centauri against the Narn homeworld in the episode The Long, Twilight Struggle
  • Starships and orbital platforms were supposedly also capable of laying waste to a planet, such as the Shadow Battlecrab, a Minbari Sharlin Cruiser, the Narn-Drazi fleet that leveled Centauri Prime, and the Global Orbital platforms in Earth orbit.

Mobile Suit Gundam

  • Requiem is a giant laser weapon stationed at the far side of the moon that fires a beam that can slice planets in half which is directed by a series of giant rings to hit any target in the Solar System.
  • GENESIS is a large satellite like weapon that fires a beam of intense radiation capable of destroying electronics and humans on a planetary scale. Three such devices were developed to date.
  • Cyclops System is a powerful microwave weapon devised by the Earth Alliance, which consists of a large array of dish emitters. Once activated, the Cyclops System rapidly heats the water that makes up about 70% of the human body, as well as the propellant and ammunition supplies of mobile suits. Ultimately the intense radiation heat will destroy even buildings and the array itself.

Halo

  • UNSC NOVA Bomb (a group of nukes clustered around a core that forces the explosions together)

The 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.

Lexx

  • The Lexx - Capable of entirely destroying planets.
  • The Foreshadow - predecessor of the Megashadow. Reduces the surface of Brunnis-2 into molten slag, using a large scale version of the "Black Pack" weapon often seen in the LEXX series.
  • The Megashadow - Annihilates a Ostral-B asteroid base and the surrounding field in a single shot.
  • Mantrid Drones

Dune Universe

Stargate SG-1

  • Anubis's Ancient weapon that charges a Stargate powerfully enough that it explodes and the resulting explosion can destroy a U.S state with the fallout spreading all over the world within a matter of days.
  • Naqahdah-enhanced nuclear weapon
  • A stargate that is dialed out to another stargate which some where near by a black hole like P3W-451 and put into a sun. It causes the sun to become destabilized and go supernova.
  • Anubis's mothership, powered with the Eye of Ra as well as four other "eyes", in "Full Circle"
  • The Dakara Superweapon in the Temple of Dakara can return all matter in its range to its base state, it is not powerful enough to destroy entire planets.
  • The Asgard managed to destroy Halla by causing Halla's sun to become a black hole.
  • The Ori Priors can turn planets into Point Singularities (Black Holes) to power their supergates, and have done so twice thus far.
  • The Replicators have eaten an entire planet and converted everything on it into replicator blocks.
  • The stargate on P3W-451 is orbiting a black hole; in-bound wormholes become altered by the gravitational influence of the black hole and, in turn, can wreak havoc on the dialer's side.

Star Trek

  • Genesis Device (a terraforming project; not really a weapon but if used against an existing biosphere it will destroy it in favor of a new one)
  • Species 8472 starships
  • The Doomsday Machine
  • Krenim temporal incursion ship
  • Planetcracker weapons and sunkiller bombs (Diane Duane's novels)
  • Reman warbird Scimitar.
  • Son'a collector (intended to strip radiation surrounding a planet thus rendering it uninhabitable)
  • The Crystalline Entity that would feed by stripping planets of all organic life.
  • The Xindi superweapon
  • The Fleet of Romulan and Cardassian starships that destroyed the Founder's homeworld in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (although this was merely orbital bombardment by a fleet of ships, not a single superweapon)
  • Tox Uthat (A weapon from the future that would stop all fusion operations in a sun)
  • Trilithium torpedo. Used by Dr. Tolien Soran in Star Trek Generations to stop all the fusion reactions in a star, causing it to go nova, much like the Tox Uthat.
  • Dreadnought Missile. Created by the Cardassian Empire, a missile with a highly advanced AI and a potent anti-matter warhead capable of destroying a small moon.
  • Nomad. A small spacecraft resulting from the combination of two unrelated craft that was able to "sterilize" entire planetary populations (The Changeling).

Star Wars

Warhammer 40,000

Games

  • Heartless (Kingdom Hearts series) (Actually a race of creatures that devour, not only the hearts of men, but also of worlds, thus destroying them)
  • Mycon Deep children (Star Control 2)
  • The Omega System (Xenosaga)
  • Apocalypse-class Interplanetary Missiles (Starcraft)
  • Atmospheric deprivation missiles in Homeworld are used only once by the Taiidan, while (unknown to them) the Mothership was held up by raiders on the outskirts of the system. Afterwards, the northern hemisphere was blackened and fires were visible from high orbit.
  • Black Sun (Supreme Commander)
  • Lunatic Pandora (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Mechanoid motherships (Rifts)
  • Meteor (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Protoss Warships (Starcraft)
  • Shivan Juggernaut Sathanas (Descent: FreeSpace — The Great War)
  • Shivan Super Destroyer Lucifer (Descent: FreeSpace — The Great War)
  • Star Generator (Space Quest 1)
  • Stellar Converter (Master of Orion II)
  • TCS Behemoth and the Temblor Bomb (Wing Commander)
  • Terror Star, a parody of the Death Star from Galactic Civilizations
  • The "Iron Helix" (used to destroy Calliope if you fail the mission)
  • The "Nova Bomb" in X-COM: Interceptor - this was a missile carried on fighters which, rather than being used against a planet directly, was fired at the star inside the system. According to in-game details, the Nova Bomb slowly accelerates to light speed and burrows itself into the core, causing the star to go supernova, completely destroying the whole system. After the Doomsday Weapon built by the aliens is located (on the other side of a black hole), the player is told that it can only be destroyed with a Nova Bomb. The technology was considered so dangerous the scientific community asked for all knowledge of the bomb to be stricken from records so it would not fall into the wrong hands.
  • The "Weak nuclear force decoupler" from Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)
  • The Space Colony ARK's Eclipse Cannon from Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog
  • The Utwig Bomb (Star Control 2)
  • The Alphacore (Omega Boost)
  • The Ancient Planetary Bombardment Platforms (Homeworld 2)
  • The Biologic Space Labs research station in Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance) is equipped with a self-destruct system capable of destroying a planet within its blast radius. In addition, the planet Zebes was equipped with a planetary self-destruct mechanism in Super Metroid (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
  • The Black Egg and Mulligan artifacts (Starflight)
  • The Crest of Annihilation (Star Ocean: The Second Story) (this device completely obliterates a planet, but it is allegedly powerful enough to wipe out the entire known universe)
  • The Death Egg from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic and Knuckles, a parody of the Death Star and a caricature of Dr. Robotnik. Armed with two ion cannons (supposedly) forming the "eyes" on the "face", it is damaged and repaired throughout the early Sonic the Hedgehog series.
  • The Galactic Implosion Device (Total Annihilation)
  • The 'PlanetBuster Maximus' in the video game Ratchet and Clank, a skyscraper-sized bomb "capable of reducing an entire planet to subatomic particles". There was another device named 'The DePlanetizer', referred to as "The most powerful laser ever invented". It consisted of a giant football field-sized platform with a large rotating laser cannon on the bottom and a giant red button on the top. It served as an arena during the final fight with Chairman Drek.
  • The Ragnarok space station (Mega Man Zero)
  • The trih xeem in the Marathon Trilogy. Name literally means, "early nova."
  • The Void (Super Paper Mario) (this consumes worlds completely, leaving bleak, endless white plains in their place)
  • Vegnagun in (Final Fantasy X-2)
  • Smoke's Destroy-The-Earth fatality and Grey-Goo ending (Mortal Kombat)
  • Planet Busters of (Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri) destructive power ranges from destroying a city to a continent depending on their power source. When used, these weapons increased the chance of the planet's native life seeking to annihilate humanity. In the novelizations, four Gravitational singularity powered Planet Busters used by the Believer's trigger such an event.
  • Cannon Seed (Galaxian 3)
  • Sorcery Globe (Star Ocean: The Second Story) disrupts a planets 'Expel's' orbit and causes it to crash into Energy Nede.
  • The Planetbuster weapon in the space stage of Spore

Miscellaneous media

  • In John Carpenter's sci-fi black comedy Dark Star (film), intelligent and philosophically capable "Exponential Thermostellar Bombs" are used to destroy "unstable planets" which might threaten future colonization.
  • In the Mel Brooks feature film spoof Spaceballs, the Spaceballs' starship, Spaceball One, is capable of transforming into "Mega Maid", a robot maid in the shape of The Statue of Liberty holding a giant vacuum cleaner, which can suck the air from an entire planet and thus make it uninhabitable.
  • Buster Machine III, aka the Black Hole Bomb in Gunbuster uses the mass of a gas giant planet (specifically, Jupiter) to create a black hole which ultimately destroys the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
  • In the film Chronicles of Riddick, the Necromongers cull potential recruits from planets and kill all those who remain on the surface by executing their "Final Protocol", a series of gravity-based weapons that flatten everything on the surface of the planet, save for the series of monuments that produce them.
  • Galactus, a being from the Marvel Comics Universe, specifically the Fantastic Four books, consumes planets for their energy in order to sustain himself. He is often aided in this process by one of his heralds, the most famous among them being the Silver Surfer.
  • In DC Comics, the Warworld is a planet killer.
  • The Gamilon planet bombs and Wave motion gun from the TV series Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers in the U.S.).
  • Hugo Drax's space station in Moonraker, which launches poisonous globes that would have wiped out mankind.
  • Big Venus (The Big O).
  • Serpentera from Power Rangers.
  • The Pirate Planet in Doctor Who.
  • "Q Bomb" from Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
  • Unicron, a robotic predatory planet from the animated feature film, Transformers: The Movie.
  • Vogon Constructor Fleet Ships (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) (appear in all adaptations of the series)
  • Erdammeru the Void-Hound (DC Comics)
  • A bomb made of 9th-dimensional matter in Supernova.
  • In Getter Robo Armageddon, the protagonists manage to create a massive Getter Beam Tomahawk powerful enough to slice through planets. Likewise, in some Getter Robo manga, an entire fleet of impossibly enormous Getter Emperors exist. These super-mecha are so large, they create their own gravity field that can actually shatter planets as they pass.
  • In Vandread, A special variant of harvest ship can destroy planets that are not needed by Earth anymore.
  • In the Eek! The Cat episode Eek vs. The Flying Saucers, aliens called Zoltarians threaten to blow up the earth using a death ray powered by Eek's 300 pound girlfriend, Annabelle, and want to do so because Earth "obstructs our view of Uranus."
  • In the Exosquad episode A Night Before Doomsday an antimatter bomb capable of destroying all life on earth is revealed and its activation by the Neosapien leader Phaeton dying of Automutation Syndrome is prevented in the episode Abandon Hope.
  • In the Futurama episode "I Dated a Robot," Fry blows up a planet with a planet blowing-up machine. Also in The Beast With A Billion Backs a weapon is used in a duel between Bender and another robot Calculon called a "Planetary Annihilator"
  • In the British sci-fi series The Tomorrow People, an alien race known as the Thargons have a weapon known as a "Ripper Ray" which is allegedly capable of destroying a planet.
  • In the cartoon Invader Zim, the Planet Jackers tried to feed the Earth to their sun to keep it from going out.
  • In the Kurt Russell film Soldier, one portable explosive device nicknamed a Planet Killers is used, devastating the planet.
  • In the Roger Corman film Battle Beyond the Stars, the evil Sador's mothership has a planet killing superweapon called the Stellar Converter, which seems to have the effect of superheating the core of the planet causing a delayed explosion where it incinerates from the inside/out.
  • In the TV series Earth Final Conflict, the Jaridians have a planet killer and have destroyed thousands of Taelon-occupied planets including their homeworld. The video archive of all the planets destroyed one after another is seen by William Boone but at the time he doesn't understand what it is until the circumstances are explained to him later by Da'an.
  • In Gunbuster, Buster Machine #7 and #19 work in tandem to destroy an Earth-sized life form and a black hole which it carries in tow.
  • In Gunbuster's sequel series: Diebuster, the android Buster Machine #7 splits the moon Titan in half.
  • In the TV series Andromeda, point singularity weapons, nova bombs, Maximm charges, and in rare cases, kinetic missiles, are used to destroy planets.
  • In the science fiction feature film The Core, Project DESTINY was designed as a tactical weapon, but had the unforeseen effect of ceasing the rotation of the Earth's magnetic core, causing catastrophe, and threatening to end all life on Earth, unless the rotation could be restarted.
  • In the science fiction feature film Men in Black II, Serlena's ship is seen making vengeful blasts on searched planets, causing an icy one to shatter and another to implode.
  • Several attacks used in the manga/anime franchise Dragon Ball, such as the Death Ball technique as used by Freeza to destroy Planet Vegeta, are capable of destroying a planet.
  • The Displacement Engine in the TV series Farscape is a device which employs a wormhole to draw a large mass of fusing plasma from the core of a star, and then deploys it against a target. The device is described as being able to destroy a planet.
  • The Hand of Omega in the TV series Doctor Who is a planet killer.
  • The Super Robot Mazinkaiser is said to be capable of blasting a hole right down to a planet's core with a full-powered Fire Blaster.
  • The Vok second Moon (Beast Wars) (could only destroy energon-rich worlds)
  • The Annihilatrix from Frisky Dingo.
  • The Beast Planet in Shadow Raiders.
  • The Desiccator in Dark Reign.
  • In the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove, the Doomsday Machine.
  • The Drej Mothership in the animated feature film Titan A.E., destroyed the planet Earth.
  • The Ideon Sword (capable of slicing a planet in half) and the Ideon Gun (capable of cutting large swaths of destruction encompassing thousands of ships and celestial bodies) from Space Runaway Ideon. In addition, when ultimately destroyed, the resulting force caused by the detonation of its power source could potentially destroy the universe.
  • The Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator In the classic Bugs Bunny short Haredevil Hare in 1948. Marvin Martian wanted to use it to blow up Earth because, as he said, "It obstructs my view of Venus". The explosive was in the form of a small red stick that resembled Dynamite that was screwed into a large telescope-like machine.
  • The Planet and System Killers in Gall Force.
  • The Dark Heart in Justice League Unlimited.
  • In the Macross Saga segment of Robotech, when the entire Zentradi main fleet was brought together it could destroy the entire surface of a planet through large bombardments of its energy weapons.
  • In the German TV Series Raumpatrouille, a weapon called Overkill was used to destroy an object the size of a planetoid. The explosion seems to be strong enough to destroy a planet as well.

Various novels and written sources

  • The Inhibitor machines from Alastair Reynolds' Inhibitor series of novels, were capable of consuming worlds over time to convert to copies of themselves, or to create weapons capable of utilizing stars to destroy planets e.g. venting stellar core material in a collimated beam to burn away planetary crusts. In the same series, the "Greenfly" machines, developed by humans as terraformers, instead go rogue and start eating planets by reducing them to their atoms and rebuilding them into more such machines, as well as numerous domes filled with vegetation.
  • Spacer nuclear reaction intensifier (Robots and Empire)
  • Stephen Baxter's Moonseed: a virus-like microscopic object (or substance made from it) that transforms substances into more copies of itself - and thus consumes Venus and then the Earth by doing so. (Baxter has also employed geomagnetic storms (see Sunstorm) and larger universal constructors (see Evolution) as planet killers.)
  • The Neutronium Alchemist (Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy)
  • At least five methods in E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman saga: "super-atomic bombs"; a "nutcracker", consisting of crushing a planet between two others; a "negasphere," an antimatter planet; "Nth space planets" from other dimensions which travel at superluminal speeds can be used to ram planets or even create supernovas - there was even the worrying possibility that these could cause the Big Crunch in zero time; and a "sunbeam", a way of concentrating most of a sun's energy output into a narrow beam -- this one a defensive-only weapon against nutcrackers and negaspheres.
  • Device Ultimate in The Xenocide Mission
  • In Kevin J. Anderson's Saga of the seven suns, the ongoing war between the Faeros and Hydrogues see entire suns having their cores frozen.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, the MD (Molecular Disruption) Device, or "Little Doctor", generates a field inside in which it is impossible for atoms to coexist in a molecule. The field propagates in a chain reaction, and essentially destroys all matter until it reaches pure space. This was intended for ship to ship combat, but was eventually used to destroy an entire planet.
  • In E. E. Smith's Skylark of Space series various planet-killers are used or discussed. Throwing planets and moons out of orbit, incredibly high-yield atomic or copper bombs, near-instantaneous dematerialization of physical objects and the teleporting of close to fifty billion stars in order to wipe out a Galaxy-wide alien civilization are all used.
  • In L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth a device is created which, when activated, causes all matter it touches to break down into its constituent molecules. This device was used on a moon, which was consumed faster than ships based on that moon could launch.
  • In the Gor-novel series by John Norman, specifically "Tribesmen of Gor", the alien Kurrii deploy a weapon, apparently housed in a small space craft, to the eponymous planet. If it had been put to use, it would have to have rendered the planet uninhabitable not only to humans, but also to the Priest-Kings, who were sheltered deep inside a mountain range.
  • Nova Bombs (Starship Troopers)
  • Relativistic projectiles (Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski's The Killing Star)
  • The Electron Pump (Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves)
  • The Dahak-class Planetoid-of-the-Line (David Weber's Heirs of Empire trilogy)
  • The Supernova (Matthew Reilly's Temple)
  • Arkon-Bombs from the Perry Rhodan Books "ignite" all matter near it to burn away in a fission like effect. This can not be stopped but it is not very fast, giving the chance to evacuate the planet.
  • Ice-nine on the novel Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. The ice-nine is a solid form of water at ambient temperature. It causes the end of the earth when some of it falls into the ocean, causing a chain reaction that transforms all the water on Earth into ice-nine.

References

External links

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