Nuke It From Orbit

Nuke It From Orbit

Part of a series on Alien. [View Related Entries]

Updated Oct 21, 2014 at 06:43PM EDT by Brad.

Added Dec 10, 2009 at 03:07AM EST by Bob Holly.

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“Nuke It From Orbit” is a popular catchphrase used in discussion forums to express one’s extreme disapproval of a particular image or link posted by someone else. In other words, when “killing it with fire” isn’t nearly effective enough, “nuking it from orbit” is your last resort …because it’s the only way to be sure.


“Nuke the entire site from orbit--it’s the only way to be sure” is a quote taken from the 1986 sci-fi film Aliens in which Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) decides that nothing is worth saving and that the only sure way to destroy all of the aliens is to nuke their habitat from the orbit.

Vasquez: All right, we got seven canisters of CN-20. I say we roll them in there and nerve gas the whole fucking nest.
Hicks: That’s worth a try, but we don’t know if it’s gonna affect them.
Hudson: Let’s just bug out and call it even, man! What are we even talking about this for?
Ripley: …I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.


  • The catchphrase is most often used in the form of text replies. While the original quote reads “Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure,” it’s typically paraphrased as “Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.”
  • In computer-related discussions, “nuking it from orbit” can be used to describe the action of deleting a file at its original source (ex: “I downloaded a spyware by accident and it’s killing my internet connection, how do I nuke it from orbit?”)
  • There is a "single serving site":: named after the catchphrase:
  • Its popularity also led to a series of image macros & demotivational posters featuring stillshots from the film as well as CGI artworks of nuclear explosions.

Other References

  • In Clerks: The Animated Series, Episode 1 (May 31st, 2000):

Dante: Phase 63, the dome launches into space and nukes the earth from orbit.
Randal: It’s the only way to be sure.

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