A massive meteor shower destroys the orbiting Space Shuttle Atlantis, before entering the atmosphere and bombarding New York City, the East Coast, and Finland. NASA discovers that the meteoroids came from a rogue asteroid with a Texas-sized surface when it passed through the asteroid belt, and the asteroid will impact Earth in 18 days, impacting into the Pacific Ocean, causing an extinction level event that will wipe out most life on the planet (same as when the 6 mile wide asteroid killed the dinosaurs). NASA scientists, led by Dan Truman (Thornton) and with other space agencies, plan to drill a shaft into the asteroid of 800 ft., and then plant an H-bomb device into it that, when detonated, will split the asteroid in two, driving the halves apart so they both will fly safely past Earth. NASA contacts Harry Stamper, considered the best deep sea oil driller in the world, for assistance and advice. Harry returns to NASA with his daughter Grace (Tyler) to keep her away from her new boyfriend, one of Harry’s young and rebellious drillers, A.J. Frost (Affleck). Harry and Grace learn about the asteroid and Harry agrees to do it, but explains he will need his team, including A.J., Charles “Chick” Chapel (Patton), Rockhound (Buscemi), Max Lennert (Campbell), Oscar Choice (Wilson), J. Otis “Bear” Curlene (Duncan) and Freddie Noonan (Brolly) to help carry out the mission. Once they have been rounded up and the situation is explained, they agree to help, but only after their list of unusual rewards and demands are met.