Why NASA Sometimes Shows the Movie ‘Armageddon’ as Part of Training

Michael Bay is not a director who is known for making realistic movies. One of his most unrealistic movies could be Armageddon, which sees a group of drillers going to space to stop a gargantuan asteroid. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) found the movie so illogical that they use Armageddon as a part of training to teach trainees the many errors it contains. 

‘Armageddon’ features blue-collar workers against an asteroid

Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck in Armageddon
Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck in Armageddon | Touchstone/Getty Images

Armageddon is a 1998 disaster film directed by Michael Bay and starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Steve Buscemi. 

After a meteor shower hits Earth, NASA discovers they have a short amount of time to stop an asteroid that could wipe out the Earth. To stop the asteroid, NASA makes a plan that requires a group of drillers to go up and drill a hole into the asteroid, then drop a nuclear bomb into it. Willis leads a rag-tag group of drillers who are recruited and trained to embark on this dangerous mission. 

While critics didn’t love this movie, it was a commercial success, grossing over $553 million worldwide. It stays consistent with other Bay action movies, featuring large explosions and action that defies the laws of physics. Bay has directed plenty of ridiculous but entertaining action movies like Transformers and The Rock

NASA uses ‘Armageddon’ as a part of its training

Bay’s movies are often filled with plot holes and logical inconsistencies, so it makes sense that his space movie doesn’t follow the basic rules of space. Apparently, it is so offensive to science that NASA uses Armageddon as management training. 

There are so many factual errors and a total of 168 have been found. Some of them include the asteroid’s massive size, its speed as it hurtles toward Earth, and the plan to blow it up. Even the film’s happy ending isn’t accurate to what would happen. In an interview with inews, UK astrophysicist Alastair Bruce says that the asteroid would still hit Earth, even after it blew up. 

“Everything sort of vaporizes,” Bruce said. “That’s bad for a few reasons. Even if you were able to vaporize the entire rock, it would still be moving with an incredible speed toward the earth. All you’ve really done is spread out the impact.”

NASA was involved in the making of the movie 

In the interview, it is revealed that Bay relied on NASA’s expertise to make parts of Armageddon. Most of it involved using NASA launchpads and training locations to make the movie slightly more authentic. However, Bay and the creative team didn’t seek NASA’s help much when it came to trying to make the plot more realistic. 

“Some of the locations are genuine NASA locations,” Bruce explains. “The launchpads are real, but they are made to look a bit prettier in CGI. Some of the training sites they use are genuine. They did have NASA’s help with a lot of this. It’s just the core science of the film that’s wrong.”

Armageddon is currently streaming on Peacock. Watch it and see how many errors you can count.

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