A meteorite rain hits the Earth from Finland to the American north coast sowing destruction and death. But it is only the beginning of a world catastrophe that is going to annihilate all life on Earth. This rain of meteorites announces a meteor of the size of the Texas spining to 350000 km/h that has to strike the Earth in 18 days and to annihilate it as it was the case 65 million years ago, provoking the end of dinosaurs.
Dan Truman is the executive director of the Nasa. The only foreseeable option to attempt to save the Earth is to send a team on the asteroid and to make it explode. To archieve this he needs the help of Harry Stamper, the best oil driller of the world. The method consists in drilling a 250 meters deep pit into the asteroid. An explosion released by a nuclear bomb would allows the rock to split. This has to happen before the orbit "0", time after what the explosion of the rock will not be sufficient to deviate it from its course. Harry decides to recruit by himself the crew that will leave on the meteor on board the two space shuttles 'Liberty' and 'Independence'. He chose the best men; Rockhound, Charles "Chick" Chapple, Fallen Oscar, Jayotis "Bear" Kurleen, Freddy Noonan, Max Lennert and A.J. Frost, who is the pride of Stemper's daughter. After a training and a accelerated preparation the team of drillers board for the most dangerous and humanitarian mission that Man has undertaken.
To reach the objective, it is necessary to stop on the Russian orbital space station in order get fuel. On place, they are welcomed by the Russian cosmonaut Lev Andropov. But the crew must leave the station in emergency before it does not disintegrate. Andropov will now be a member of the expedition.
The mission can nevertheless continue and after their run behind the Moon, they take place behind the cloud of meteorites in order to land. But the density of remains hit the shuttle "Liberty". Alone, Andropov, Frost and Kurlennbear will survive the crash. Avoiding barely the space shuttle 'Liberty', the shuttle 'Independence' lands on the rock, but 30 km far from the anticipated place. Because of the geological nature of their new landing spot, it will be more difficult to drill since the ground is mostly composed of iron. The plate of iron they have to drill is going to delay the drilling progression and to compromise the mission...
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While a new rain of asteroids hits the Earth, scratching Paris from the world map, all attempt seems impossible because of the loss of their drilling equipment and the death of Max. Fortunately, on their 'Beatle', the mobile drilling engine, the surviving team of the 'Liberty' finds back the crew in place, giving a new breath to the mission.
As time is running, on order of the President of the United States, the military forces decide to make the bomb explode in order not to lose their capacity to release the bomb by remote control. Harry will have to convince the Colonel Willie Sharp, the responsible soldier of the expedition, to stop the countdown promising him that he will drill this pit in time and thus to preserve all odds to save the humanity. The crew finally drill the 250 meters deep pit, but the bomb can no longer be remote controlled...
Only a man can manually archive this. A gamble designates Frost. But by love for his girl, Harry will take his place and will ignit the bomb. The rest of the crew will succeed to take off. The Earth is saved, Armageddon will not take place thanks to the courage of some men and to the bravery of Harry Stemper.