Scientists believe that an asteroid impacted the planet over 65 million years ago and effectively wiped out most of all life in its wake, including the entire dinosaur population. Is it only a matter of time before Earth is struck by another asteroid of similarly catastrophic proportions? The hugely ambitious feature-length documentary Super Comet speculates on the circumstances surrounding this possibility both through informed analysis and dramatic enactments.
In the nightmare scenario which is set up in the first half of this impressive effort, the world has been aware of a comet's devastating trek towards Earth for the past eighteen months, but they've been floundering in their attempts to brainstorm a solution. An astrophysicist and his team utilize high powered telescopes off the coast of Hawaii to keep an eye on the asteroid's path. In a feeble attempt to put a stop to the unstoppable, a nuclear warhead is projected into its path, but ultimately fails to deter it from its final destination. Stricken by the inevitable conclusion of their impending demise, the world's population disintegrates into panic mode.
The film's second hour follows the aftermath of the asteroid's collision with Earth. Most of the planet is shrouded in darkness, temperatures reach record lows never before experienced, and all plant life vanquishes alongside a vast percentage of the human population. We follow a few lone survivors as they struggle to improvise means of survival amidst the intolerably harsh conditions and meager tools at their disposal.
The likely implications of such a disaster are supported by a panel of distinguished interview subjects who are peppered throughout the film, including Dr. Alan Harris of the German Aerospace Center in Berlin, Wolf Dombrowsky, a professor of sociology at the University of Kiel, and Dr. Matthew Huber, a climate change scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Their stark and cautionary conclusions illustrate how ill-prepared and ineffective we would be in the face of such a disaster.
As pulse pounding as a big screen Hollywood feature, Super Comet is an exciting cinematic experience that doesn't skimp on offering sound scientific commentary along the journey of its gripping narrative.