Bad Astronomy

How to How To Kill A Planet

Last night, National Geographic aired the episode of Naked Science called “How to Kill a Planet”, about five ways we can literally and totally destroy the Earth. I was interviewed extensively for it, and contributed to the ideas and some of the script, too.

Take explosives seriously, folks.
We filmed the clips I was in last year, in November and December. This involved a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls, and going to Phoenix, Arizona to detonate explosives and shoot guns.

I took a lot of pictures; they’re posted on Flickr for your enjoyment. It includes people shooting guns, aerial views of Niagara Falls, and an unfortunate shot of an injury I sustained due to holding a .38 pistol the wrong way. Watch out for powder burns!

I also took quite a bit of video, so here’s a little taste of what it’s like to film a documentary on destroying a planet.

FYI, our explosives and gun expert was Cory Starr, who was fun to work with. His assistant Cortney McLeod is in there too. The director of the clips (with the English accent) is Lorne Townend, and assistant producer Nicola Tremain organized all the logistics of the shoot.

And, I’ll add something funny to me. I’ve known astronomer Dan Durda since we were undergrads together at Michigan. We both write and both do a lot of documentaries, but in more than two decades this is the first time we’ve been in a show together! Even though we weren’t together for filming, that was still cool to see.

I’m also doing two more documentary interviews in the coming weeks, including working with Lorne again, so expect to hear more about stuff like this!