The Federation is obviously capable of doing this, but have they? Such an extreme action need not be a belligerent act. It could be undertaken to save a nearby star system from a 'virus' originating from that planet, etc.

'Destroying' the planet could mean everything from destroying the atmosphere to turning it into a floating debris cloud. Basically a deliberate act making it incapable of sustaining planetary life or unmaking the planet.

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    I don't think this has happened in canon. Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 14:00
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    Teeeechnically Picard destroyed the last usable tech and stable environment on Iconia...effectively firing the last shot of an ancient planet-killing bombardment...but that's not your point, haha Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 17:09

8 Answers 8



The closest the Federation has come was when Sisko poisoned the atmosphere of a Maquis settlement with four hundred kilograms of tricobalt resin, making it uninhabitable to Humans but not to Cardassians. (For the Uniform)

Solosos III Solosos III

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    He has 'form' in destroying worlds... memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Hippocrates_Noah
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 14:57
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    The Genesis device destroying a nebula is also close but no cigar.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 15:46
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    The use of the Genesis device was not a deliberate act by the Federation or someone following orders.
    – sfhq_sf
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:34


In the finale episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG: All Good Things...) the actions of Federation Captain Jean-Luc Picard result in the creation of paradoxical anti-time eruption in the Alpha Quadrant. His incompetence leads to the Earth becoming incapable of sustaining planetary life.

Admittedly this was more 'planetary manslaughter through gross negligence' than actual 'planetcide' but the result is much the same.

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    Picard's actions were caused by Q in an alternative reality and not by Picard taking direct action against someone or something while on a missiion.
    – sfhq_sf
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:31
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    The title of the question 'Has The Federation...'
    – sfhq_sf
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:35
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    Picard's actions were the result of Q's test and not orders form the Federation. In fact Q tells him that he (Q) was under orders from the Continuum to test Picard [link] (memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/All_Good_Things..._(episode))
    – sfhq_sf
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:52
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    In fairness; Picard actually saved the earth by briefly transcending linear time- the continuum slated earth for destruction and Q gave Picard the chance save humanity...wiping out a large chunk of the quadrant was just a very messy step 1 Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:55
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    @Richard...well, in this case, fixing the problem literally caused him to have never done it- but to your point, I think it's very heavily implied that Picard was set up to make his mistake. It would be like saying that someone who tripped a landmine committed suicide. Don't get me wrong though; I disagree with your answer, but I like your approach to it, especially since I don't think there is a stronger 'yes' answer in canon. Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 17:23


In the Season 1 finale of Enterprise, "Shockwave", the Enterprise accidentally ignites a component of the planet Paraagan II's atmosphere and destroys all life on the planet.


The Suliban really did it to get the Enterprise crew in trouble.


Likely not canon, but Kirk/Enterprise destroyed an entire planet (converted it to debris, a la Deathstar) in "Operation -- Annihilate!", published in Star Trek 2 by James Blish. The story was based on an early version of the script; the version that was filmed and aired didn't trace the enemies back to their home planet and destroy it, but the version that Blish wrote into a story did.

Thanks to Gaultheria for spotting this for me.

  • Could you possibly find the book on the internet, or find out whether those books were canon?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 12:23
  • I'm pretty certain that the novels prior to TMP that weren't based on TOS weren't canon. I'm not finding the novel I recall from the Wikipedia list synopses (some titles don't have one). There's also a small possibility this was from TAS; I had those collections as well.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 12:40
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    I don't know what any of these acronyms mean :) I'm just asking questions that'll get me to give you the upvote.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 12:42
  • TOS = The Original Series, TAS = The Animated Series (itself not canon, since approximately movie 3). I quit buying not long after The Motion Picture came out, so it had to be no later than 1983.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 12:53
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    I messed up an edit to my comment, and then it was too late to correct it. Here's the intended edit: This happened in James Blish's adaptation of Operation -- Annihilate!, based on an early draft of this TOS episode, collected in Star Trek 2.
    – Gaultheria
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:26

Yes, sort of, for a few seconds

Since OP specifically mentions destroying the atmosphere, in "A Matter of Time" the Enterprise effectively ignites the atmosphere of Penthara IV to remove volcanic ash engulfing the planet and then "harmlessly discharging it into space like a lightning rod".

PICARD: The good news.

DATA: The motion of the dust has created a great deal of electrostatic energy in the upper atmosphere. With a modified phaser blast, we could create a shock front that would encircle the planet and ionise the particles.

PICARD: That would be like striking a spark in a gas-filled room. DATA: With one exception, sir. The particles would be converted into a high energy plasma which our shields could absorb and then re-direct harmlessly into space.

PICARD: Turn the Enterprise into a lightning rod?

DATA: Precisely, sir.

PICARD: And the bad news?

DATA: If our phaser discharge is off by as little as point zero six terawatts, it would cause a cascading exothermal inversion.

PICARD: Meaning?

DATA: We would completely burn off the planet's atmosphere.

Now, technically the atmosphere was not destroyed, but tension is intentionally heightened over the risk of completely destroying the atmosphere and there is an intentional beat after the planet is engulfed in red before the healthy blue glow ensues.

So let's call that a temporary destruction of the planet (at least in the eyes of the audience).

  • "As little as .06 terrawatts"... in other words, they can only be off by 60,000,000,000 watts. Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 16:13

The original series episode, Obsession, must have left that planet in sorry shape. Spock remarked that half the atmosphere would be ripped away.


During the timeline of the Original Series, Starfleet General Order 24 was an order to destroy all life on a planet.

In both instances where it was ordered or prepared the order was rescinded though and never carried out.


Yes, when the genesis device proved to be unstable in The Search for Spock

  • That wasn't so much the destruction of a planet as the creation of an unstable one that then naturally imploded. Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 2:15
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    @ApproachingDarknessFish Using Genesis on the planet fits the definition in the question.
    – J Doe
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 3:05
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    @JDoe Genesis was never used on a planet. The genesis planet was created from the mass of the Mutara Nebula, in which it was detonated. The USS Reliant was hoping to find a planet on which to test the device when it was stolen by Kahn. Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 4:08
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    You may want to flesh this out a bit.
    – SQB
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 9:05
  • It may have been unstable from birth, but it was a planet and was destroyed by Federation technology.
    – RichS
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 3:28

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