"Deep Impact" is the most scientifically accurate movie Neil deGrasse Tyson can think of

There were two celestial-bodies-on-a-collision-course-with-Earth movies that came out in 1998. Because I prided myself on being contrarian as a teenager, my favorite was Deep Impact. Turns out, that was Neil deGrasse Tyson's favorite, as well. In fact, in an interview with Buzzfeed about science on film, it was the only movie he did not find scientific fault with.

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  1. I believe high school me characterized that as "realism and lack of bombast".

  2. Plus Armageddon just makes sense! Training a bunch of hard-working blue collar oil rig workers to operate highly advanced top-secret spacecraft would be much easier than training experienced astronauts how to use a space-drill. And machine guns on a space rover? That's just a standard feature.

  3. I don't know, maybe having a lot of people going completely stupid in the face of a natural disaster is more realistic too.

  4. FACT: Being badly sunburned gives you superhuman powers. Also, if you're going to build a sun-restarting machine you should make sure there's only one person in the universe who knows how to turn it on.

  5. I have a kind of funny story about this movie.

    My father was involved in the study of near-earth objects** at the time Deep Impact and Armageddon came out. So even though he's more of a reader than movie watcher, he went to see both. He told me at length why Deep Impact was such a good movie and briefly why Armageddon was "complete and utter trash". Wish I remembered most of the reasons why but a few of the bigger ones still linger on.

    Anyways, when other people talked about these two movies, they'd quite often say they thought Deep Impact was more unbelievable. Naturally, I'd be inclined to ask "Why?" and invariably they'd say, "Well a black man could never be president of the United States".

    I wonder if they feel different about the movie's science now?


    ** He's retired now. And in case you are wondering, he defined the field as relating to anything at least 1km long (so it was unlikely to burn up in the atmosphere) and passing within an earth-moon distance so it had at least a finitely probable chance of hitting us. And even that distance was still unlikely for a hit but amazingly close when you understand astronomical scales.

    TL;DR: Morgan Freeman 2016

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