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Journey to Earth’s core

A scientist has unveiled plans to use a nuclear blast to send a probe to Earth’s core.

Echoes of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the Hollywood film The Core are contained in the mission outlined in the journal Nature by a planetary professor in California.

Prof. David Stevenson wants to send a vibrating, grapefruit-sized probe to Earth’s hot, iron-rich core.

“We’ve spent more than $10 billion in unmanned missions to the planets,” said the Van Osdol Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, Pasadena. “But we’ve only been down about 10 kilometres into our own planet.

“When we fly to other worlds, we are often surprised by what we find, and I think the same will be the case if we go down.”

Prof. Stevenson would use a small nuclear blast — a few megatons — to send a communication device into the bowels of our planet. Once a crack had been blasted in the surface, thousands of tons of molten iron would be poured in.

Through the force of its weight the iron would create a continuing crack that would open all the way to the planet’s core 1,900 miles below.

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