Breaking Down the Mostly Real Science Behind “Don’t Look Up”

Jeffrey Kluger in Time:

Want a good, solid, rollicking laugh? Contemplate the end of the world—the whole existential shebang: the annihilation of civilization, the extinction of all species, the death of the entire Earthly biomass. Funny, right? Actually, yes—and arch and ironic and dark and smart, at least in the hands of Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice), whose new film Don’t Look Up was released in theaters on Dec. 10 and is set to begin streaming on Netflix Dec. 24.

The premise of the film is equal parts broad, plausible and utterly terrifying. A comet measuring up to 9 km (5.6 mi.) across is discovered by Ph.D candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), while she is conducting routine telescopic surveys searching for supernovae. Kudos and back-slaps from her colleagues follow—find a comet, after all, and you get to give it your name. But the good times stop when her adviser, Dr. Randall Mindy ((Leonardo DiCaprio), crunches the trajectory numbers and determines that Comet Dibiasky—which is about the same size as the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago—is on course to collide with Earth in a planet-killing crack-up exactly six months and 14 days later.

More here.