The Space Age equivalent of dropping a house on a witch.
One of the most dramatic ways to try and bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Put simply, just set any sufficiently large object on a course toward the Earth, and make sure you're off-world when it hits. Or not, if you don't care about surviving it or you're already going to be dead when it happens.
The sky literally falling has a way of pushing the story quickly past the Godzilla Threshold. It most likely will require Applied Phlebotinum to stop, or a large amount of firepower, thus it's also one of the few cases where the Nuclear Option is acceptable.
Most often done with asteroids, but very large space colonies often show up, too, and provide the added drama of allowing both populations to witness their imminent doom.
If this is done deliberately by a villain, he will usually warn the world in advance (through their TV sets), so as to give the good guys time to avert it.
Note that in real life, the colony and moon version of this is very, very difficult. It's nearly as hard to take something out of orbit as it is to put it in in the first place, as all the momentum must be shed. The energy necessary to do this is actually more than will be released in the collision. Note, most of the force would come from Aerobraking in the atmosphere, so not all that hard for something in low earth orbit where "stationkeeping" burns are required to to keep the object in orbit.
An example of Death from Above, Orbital Bombardment to be specific. And, in certain circumstances, Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Even a successfully halted colony drop can be the source of an Inferred Holocaust.
Not to be confused with a "Galaxy Drop" from PlanetSide, where the dangerous payload is merely a platoon of armed troopers and vehicles dropped from a fleet of Galaxy transports.
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Space Colony, Space Station, various assorted artificial Space Stuff
Anime & Manga
The Trope Namer is Gundam: dropping large objects ranging from space colonies to asteroids to battlestations is a favorite tactic of the series, though usually unsuccessful. The only way they avoid an Inferred Holocaust is by making it explicit, though rarely past class 0 on the scale.
Zeta Gundam had a bit of a variation, in that the villains tried to Colony Drop a city on the Moon rather than on Earth. Fortunately, the colony was diverted, and, this being the Moon, the environmental aftereffects were nonexistent (by virtue of there not being an environment to ruin).
Other series in the UC timeline continue the tradition; there are colony drops in Gundam 0083, Gundam ZZ, and Char's Counterattack. Effects differ from the destruction of a city to making the entire planet uninhabitable — happily, that last one is prevented.
0083's entire story revolves around the heroes trying to prevent a colony from being dropped on North America. They fail.
In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, it is revealed that actual plan for the Gundam pilots is to conquer Earth after they send a colony drop first. Thankfully, their supervisors and the pilots themselves (except one, who was killed by a technician that had family on Earth and was quickly replaced by another unnamed technician - the man whom we know as Trowa Barton) didn't feel like going along with this, and deserted.
Gundam SEED Destiny features the remains of a previously destroyed space colony being sent towards the planet. It is mostly destroyed in orbit, but fragments of the wreckage still make their way through the atmosphere and cause massive casualties.
Not a colony, but the Downes battle station in Gundam AGE almost causes a similar effect before being destroyed.
In ∀ Gundam this happens due to collateral damage knocking an abandoned asteroid colony out of lunar orbit, and Loran has to prevent it from smashing into the moon's capital city. Loran stops it with the nuclear warheads he'd been safeguarding.
Parodied in Excel Saga: at the end of the Space Opera spoof, the evil puchuu faction tries to ram the Earth with their giant mothership. The good puchuus manage to destroy most of it, then when they learn a remaining piece will still devastate the City of Adventure on impact, declare it acceptable losses and leave as the Puchuu-shaped mushroom cloud rises over Fukuo-excuse me, "F City." (The next episode is a parody of Fist of the North Star that turns quite unexpectedly, and quite effectively, serious in the last third).
Battle Programmer Shirase's main character Akira has a 'special attack' where he drops three decommissioned russian satelites in a row, insuring that the last makes it intact through the atmosphere on the target of his choice.
The Andromeda Flow Country from Getter Robo attempt this with their enormous space battleship, in a last-ditch attempt to stop humanity's use of Getter Rays. The favor gets returned later on by the Getter Emperor, a Humongous Mecha so large that it crushes the AFC's planets by flying into them.
Later parodied when Nerval's battle body wraps around Leopard's colony, yells out "COLONY DROP!!", and suplexs him into the lunar surface.
In Transformers Victory, in a final, desperate effort to get revenge on Victory Saber, Deathsaurus attempts to ram his space fortress into Earth, killing everybody. He fails.
In the second ''Ghost in the Shell series, a rare positive if bittersweet example of this trope: The Tachikoma drop dozens of satellites, including the one containing their AI, into Earth's atmosphere in order to intercept a nuclear missile aimed at Dejima.
In Planetes, terrorists plot to sabotage the interplanetary spaceship in lunar orbit and crash it into Luna City. They call it off after the government gives concessions, but just barely.
In the Star Wars: Infinities series What If? version of A New Hope where Luke failed to destroy the Death Star, years later Yoda ends up taking control of it and sets it to crash into Palpatine's palace on Coruscant, putting an end to the Empire...and leaves Coruscant...broken.
In one of the earliest Alien vs. Predator crossover comics (later adapted into a novel), a small backwater colony gets completely infested with aliens. After the few surviving colonists evacuate to a safe distance, administrator Machiko Noguchi heads into the heart of the alien hive with a Predator ally and programs the orbiting cargo ship to crash into the colony.
In the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove, Earth has seven continent spanning cities and a combined population of 38 billion people. This necessitates large orbiting stations to grow food. One of these falls from orbit and impacts North America causing a hole in the city the size of the Great Lakes, the death of the Emperor of North America as he tries to flee a rioting populace, and a civil war for the next 20 years. It's possible 2 billion people died.
The Chung Kuo series has this a lot. A storm killed 250,000 people and the governement managed to keep it quiet. A fire in part of the city killed 500,000, and half the Earth's population is killed at one point. The European 'Civil War' killed hundreds of millions, and it can only be imagined how many died in Africa and Asia when the Warlords took over.
In Bruno Schulz's story, "The Comet", global disaster is averted because the comet becomes a sensation which subsequently goes out of fashion.
The Dresden Files: In order to kill Duke Paolo Ortega, both in retaliation for an offscreen attack in the previous book and because he cheated in his duel against Harry before running his cowardly ass away, Harry's old mentor and grandfather Ebenezar McCoy makes sure the vampire gets what's coming to him. By dropping an old Soviet satellite out of orbit straight onto Ortega's hometown, right where he was healing. Needless to say, there were no survivors.
A little context. The Duke's home had all sorts of magical protection. Noone could get in or out, and trying to use magic to hurt him or storm the castle would not work. Unfortunately for the Duke, gravity is not magic.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Chains of Command featured the Enterprise finding a number of planets that had been destroyed when a powerful alien race fired smaller (moon-sized) celestial bodies at high speed.
Peter F. Hamilton's mighty Night's Dawn Trilogy also features this, when villain Quinn Dexter forces the orbiting dozen or so asteroid habitats circling the planet Nyvan to crash into the planet, wiping out the half-billion or so inhabitants. He later plans to do this to Earth with its much bigger orbital network of asteroid settlements and its population of 39 billion, but is distracted by another plan and pursues that instead.
Isaac Asimov may have originated a cheap way to terraform nearly waterless Mars; adjust cometary trajectories slightly and bombard the planet with big balls of dirty ice.
In Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars Trilogy, Mars is being colonized and populated even BEFORE the cometary bombardment ceases, requiring some very important Travel Advisories. Also in Robinson's trilogy, when the Space Elevator is destroyed, it falls and wraps around the planet several times.
In the Warhammer 40k novel The Bleeding Chalice, an Imperial Battleship possessed by a Chaos Plague Lord (or something like that...) is dropped on a planet. Said ship exploded on entering the atmosphere, resulting in not only a rain of debris, but the first ever Airdrop Zombie Apocalypse.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe inverted this spectacularly in the X-Wing Series, in which a Super Star Destroyer buried under the surface of Coruscant blasts its way out from under the city, causing massive destruction.
It's then played straight during the fall of Coruscant in Star by Star, when the Yuuzhan Vong bombard Coruscant with its own orbital defense stations.
Used as a tactic by Titan Agamemnon in Legends of Dune during the invasion of Geidi Prime. He sends a cruiser on a collision course for a scrambler field emitter that is keeping the Thinking Machines from invading. The sheet kinetic force of the fall destroys a large part of the capital city.
In Frank Herbert's Dune starships called 'crushers', which are meant to be deliberately crashed onto a planetary surface to destroy a city/installation/military formation, are employed
Allen Steele's 'Coyote Rising' has the colonists employing a Colony Drop in the form of the deliberate de-orbiting of the starship Alabama onto the main base of the bad guys, destroying most of their forces in the process.
Done in David Weber's Honor Harrington, when a three hundred thousand ton chunk of an orbital shipyard wipes out a fair-sized city by landing almost directly on top of it, to the tune of several million casualties. Though the object of the attack was to destroy the station, and the damage to the planet was just collateral damage/a bonus.
In Footfall by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, the alien species the Fithp drop an asteroid the size of a Dino Killer in the Indian Ocean, wiping out India and causing global rain showers.
Alex Rider: The villain of "Ark Angel" plans to set off a bomb on the titular space station, which has gone massively over-budget while still in construction. Not content with space-age insurance fraud, he wants to time the explosion so the station will land in Washington, destroying all the government's evidence of his other criminal activities.
In the Chanur Saga a ship coming into a system out of Hyperspace is travelling at a very high fraction of the speed of light. In theory, it's possible for a ship to hop out of hyperspace, drop off an asteroid so that it's on a collision course for an inhabited world, and the hop back into hyperspace. Since the asteroid will itself being travelling at a very high fraction of light-speed, not only is it impossible to stop, it doesn't even need to be very big to cause massive amounts of destruction.
This form of Colony Drop was never used in the series, but one of the antagonists did threaten its use.
Live Action TV
In the Doctor Who story Revenge of the Cybermen, the Cybermen (obviously) make a second attempt to destroy Voga by crashing the Nerva beacon, laden with Cyberbombs, into the planet. The Doctor and Sarah, who they've left on board, prevent this from happening.
The Cybermen did the same thing again in Earthshock when they tried to crash a massive transport ship into future Earth to stop an anti-Cybermen conference. They succeeded. Sort of. Adric inadvertently saves the planet by fiddling with the controls so the thing goes back in time to the time of dinosaurs.
And in the 2007 Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned", when Max Capricorn attempts to make the space Titanic crash into Earth. His motivation? To drive his former company that he was forced out of bankrupt and get its current owners arrested for exterminating humanity. It narrowly misses Buckingham Palace.
An episode of Eureka has the accumulated space junk accidentally forming into this level of a threat. Not so much a colony drop, but space junk drop to make it implicit to only the title town.
In season 3, there's an incoming ship that's unidentified until it lands. They don't know what it is, so they start to try and deconstruct the towers that'll let it land safely instead of turning the town into a crater.
Ending of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. The Big Bad has wrecked the colony, so what will she do now? Drop the dome on the survivors. Oddly, the impact was considered not that dangerous if it didn't hit directly the camp, so having the Megazord redirecting it was enough to avoid carnage (the Megazord is tiny when compared to the colony, but hey, they already did it in Power Rangers In Space with an asteroid).
In a small-scale variant, Georgia Lass from Dead Like Me was killed by a plummeting toilet seat that fell from the decommissioned Mir space station.
The Azrael from GURPS: Spaceships uses a ramscoop to reach half the speed of light on its trip to the target. On impact it has the effect of 40 million megatons of TNT.
In the third person shooter/strategy PS3 game Starhawk, players call self-assembling structures down from orbiting ships. It's a common strategy to use both these structures and your own respawn pod to OHKO the enemy upon impact, even before the drop constructs itself into a turret or beam cannon (or whatever you happened to call down).
In the arcade game Cybattler, what appears to be the remains of some of the Moon have been used to create a Orbital Ring System of connecting chunks. At the end of the first level, one of the largest chunks seems to make planetfall.
Played with like Gundam in the rare (but very fun) PC Engine shooter Spriggan Mark 2
Xenogears gives us the fall of Solaris. People, when the counterweight/city on the other end of an orbital elevator snaps like a twig, don't be under it when it hits, tends to leave holes in continents.
Sonic Adventure 2 had the Space Colony ARK dropped. Dr. Eggman's grandfather, professor Gerald Robotnik, locked away and shunned by the public for his frightening expiriments, exacts revenge in spirit by programming the colony to crash into Earth. The presence of the gargantuan Biolizard makes matter far worse, as it tries to fuse with the colony and forcibly drag it down into the planet. After both Sonic and Shadow power up to their super forms, the duo ultimately slays Biolizard, but with the colony swiftly entering Earth's atmosphere, they have only seconds to stop an imminent doomsday. Sonic's solution to stopping this is to use Chaos Control to send it back into orbit. Shadow, on the other hand... does the unthinkable.
An ability also allows the same Soviet satellite to magnetically pick up vehicles and add them to the satellite barrage the next time one chooses to use it. Hilariously fun if you picked up aircraft carriers and battleships beforehand and chucked them at something.
Early in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars the Philadelphia is destroyed, resulting in massive chaos across the globe as communications are offline (the Philadelphia was the primary GDI command hub) and causing massive collateral damage as the station's remains fell to earth.
Mega Man X 5 has Space Station Eurasia hurtling towards Earth. It crashing doesn't end the game. Even though the Hunter canonically destroyed it, the leftover debris still has an adverse effect on the planet.
Mega Man Zero 4 historically referenced the above disaster, while also featuring its own orbital space station, Ragnarok, which also predictably was sent on a collision course with Earth. Failure to detonate the station's core, taking out the station, the Big Bad, and yourself in the process does yield a game over however.
The finale of Zone Of The Enders: Dolores i had the Big Bad of the series, a bitter and psychotic Radam Lavans, try to topple the Earth's orbital elevator, which would cause it to smack the earth like a gigantic slap bracelet. It takes a herculean effort to stop it, requiring the near-sacrifice of Dolores and the actual sacrifice of Radam, his Orbital Frame, Hathor, and several mass-produced Orbital Frames, but things turn out alright.
At the end of Metroid Fusion, The entire BSL research station crashes into the planet SR388, destroying it. And you intentionally caused it. At least the planet contains no sapient life, Samus having killed it all already in Metroid 2, and everyone on the station was dead.
In Metroid Prime 3, Samus needs to disable a shield around a Leviathan on Elysia. Since she can't destroy the shield generator, she loads a thermonuclear bomb onto part of Skytown and drops it on the shield, destroying it instead. And it is awesome.
This is a major plot point of Phantasy Star II, where the impact of the Gaira prison satellite results in the total disintegration of Palm (a.k.a. Palma or Parma, depending on who you ask), one of the solar system's three planets. This event is retold in Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus, when at the end of Episode 2, the Guardians Colony is knocked from its orbit and crashes into the planet Parum below, causing quite a bit of local devastation but certainly nowhere near PSII's level.
The relatively unheard of Assault Suits Valken, (Released as Cybernator outside Japan) for the SNES had a colony being thrust into earth as scorched earth policy. You are left to destroy the thrusters before the colony enters the atmosphere while dodging the powerful and invulnerable boss mech.
Millenium 2.2 had a lunar colony try to rebuild Earth after it was hit by a 2.2 trillion ton asteroid.
In Dead Space, on the last level the marker activates, disabling gravity tethers holding a chunk of the planet in space with the Ishimura. This causes the chunk to crash down to the planet's surface, wiping out the Hive Mind.
Power Stone 2 has meteors rain down from the sky and reduces all players' health so low that just tapping someone kills them. This happens when time runs out and initiates sudden death. In sudden death if the players take too long to kill each other, more meteors rain down and kill everyone, resulting in a draw.
In Mass Effect, during the Krogan Rebellions the krogan began dropping asteroids and space stations onto turian worlds when the turians intervened on the Citadel's behalf. This just pissed the turians off even more.
Additionally, during the invasion of Shanxi the Turians dropped orbital debris from the space battle in order to break pockets of resistance on the colony's surface.
In Mass Effect 2, Jack recounts her backstory, including a time where she crashed a space station upon the Hanar's favorite moon. The Hanar, having niceness as their racial hat, refer to this as "Vandalism".
In The Arrival DLC, Shepard is forced to invoke this trope by crashing an asteroid research facility to slow down the Reaper invasion, not into a planet, but a mass relay which goes supernova, destroying a solar system and killing over 300,000 batarians. S/he's told afterwards that s/he will have to face trial and a war with the batarians is almost certainly guaranteed.
In Mass Effect 3, whilst on the Quarian homeworld, Rannoch, Garrus suggests performing a colony drop to take out the enemy Geth. Tali naturally points out what a great idea it is to reclaim her homeworld by doing something that would make a large part of it uninhabitable.
Additionally, a DLC for the first game involved stopping a group of Batarians from dropping an asteroid on a heavily-populated human colony. This is also the first time players layed eyes on a Batarian. Not a very good first impression (story-wise, they've been in a state of Cold War with the Systems Alliance for a few decades).
In the first System Shock, SHODAN tries to do this with Citadel Station after the Hacker stopped all of her plans (and backup plans).
Underrated Sega Saturn game Burning Rangers had this plan as their final chapter, in an accidental example. Some scientist's daughter had an initially incurable disease, and was placed in a special cryogenic stasis aboard a custom-built space station, with scientist scanning his brain in as the station's AI, complete with orders to send her home when a cure is found. Unfortunately, a combination of years of neglect, the scientist's overprotective tendencies, and an unreliable AI, caused the station to accumulate satellites and other flotsam and jetsam as a shield, ballooning the station's size. When a cure was found, the AI gave the order to send her home, but that order was interpreted to mean "bring her home," i.e. bring the station down to earth. If the orders were followed, it would have destroyed the Earth utterly. Either way, it failed.
Cyberbots: In Jin Saotome's story, the final battle takes place on a satellite weapon as it is sent falling into Earth's atmosphere. Jin's mentor sacrifices himself to keep the satellite from hitting the planet.
You can stick lots of explosives on a Baseship in the Space Empires games and send it on a collision course with a planet. It sadly doesn't do quite as much damage as you'd expect.
During the fight with Balder in Bayonetta, after blasting at Bayonetta with a Kill Sat, he decides to drop the satellite itself onto her. And at the very end of the game, Jeanne and Bayonetta team up to destroy Jubileus's body before it crashes into the Earth and destroys it.
The backstory for Massive Assault mentions terrorists hijacking long-range shuttles and using them to crash into Earth cities.
Part of The Cyantian Chronicles back story is a war that was started with cargo shuttles being dropped on a city as a shock tactic. Specifically, Centralis, which happens to be the biggest city and home to the heroes.
The Angry Marines, a 4chan chapter of Warhammer40000 marines, not only will do this, their battle barges (with colorful names such as Litany of Litany's Litany and Maximum Fuck) will hit each other in their mad scramble to strike the earth.
Kenny from South Park got squashed by a crashing satellite in the first-season Halloween special.
In the Codename Kids Next Door movie, it looked like Numbuh 1 was going to do a heroic version of this with the moon on the captured-by-evil Earth, but it instead just fired the sizable treehouse-ish moonbase, the KND's headquarters. The villain shrugs it off too, but the real plan was to bring the KND's Laser-Guided Amnesia device down to Earth to use on him.
The fate of Star City in the Galactic Guardians episode "Escape From Space City", after Darkseid's failed attempt to turn it into a Kill Sat.
In the final episode of Justice League, Batman destroys the hypergate generator by piloting the Watchtower into it.
Some bits of Skylab actually made it through the atmosphere when the failed space station succumbed to Earth's gravitational pull, although none of the pieces was large enough to cause significant damage. Nowadays, most expiring satellites are given remote-control commands to come apart in small pieces that won't survive reentry, and/or to land in the oceans, so as to avert this trope.
Even more hilarious: some of it fell on Australia, and NASA had to pay a $400 USD fine for littering.
Asteroids & Comets
Anime & Manga
Gall Force: Earth Chapter has the MARS civ using a device that hurls rocks on the baddies. Funny in that the baddies comment that the previous plan our heros wanted to use, nukes would not have hurt them as bad but now that they figured rocks from space can do almost more destruction w/o the danger of radiation.
When Gundam isn't dropping space colonies on Earth, it's usually an asteroid of some sort, culminating in the attempted drop of the Asteroid fortress Axis in Char's Counterattack.
Like if the Gundam examples listed above were not enough to prove that Yoshiyuki Tominoloves the trope, another series of his features a colony drop: Heavy Metal L Gaim features Operation Stardust, where La Résistance decided launching hundreds of asteroids around planet Gastogal towards Sveto, The Empire's capital city.
At the end of the first Sailor Moon movie the Promise of the Rose, after the evil Xenian Flower is destroyed Fiore makes an attempt to crash the asteroid he and the Senshi were fighting on into the Earth. The Senshi are able to stop it with the power of the Silver Crystal, though Sailor Moon dies and has to be brought back to life by the power of Mamoru's kiss combined with Fiore's life force.
In GaoGaiGar, the Brain Primeval tries to hit the Earth with a shower of asteroids. When Gai Gai Gar finally defeats it, it makes one last effort by launching an asteroid 10km long at them. ChoRyuJin pushes the asteroid back through the portal, and ends up getting sent back to Earth sixty-five million years ago, rock and all, where the rock kills the dinosaurs and ChoRyuJin gets dug up in the present day.
In Transformers Victory, Deathsaurus uses his space fortress to fire a large number of 'meteorite bombs' at Earth.
In Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo, the Dinosaur Empire uses a satellite that fires asteroids to attack America; Texas Mack saves the day by using its BFG to shoot the satellite out of orbit.
Although technically not an Asteroid, a major part of the Eighth Dragon Ball Z movie dealt with this: Paragus intends to lure Prince Vegeta and the rest of the protagonists to the New Planet Vegeta, which is doomed to be destroyed by an immense comet known as Comet Camori with the intention of killing Vegeta out of revenge for his father attempting to execute him and his son. The plan ended up backfiring after his son lost control.
In Naruto, Revived Madara Uchiha drops/summons an asteroid on Shinobi Alliance army. And when it is stopped, he drops another one.
In the final arc of Samurai Pizza Cats, The Big Cheese, after being threatened into banishment by Princess Vi, builds a tractor beam that attracts a nearby comet and pulls it towards Earth, threatening to drop it towards the planet if he is not made Emperor of Little Tokyo.
In The Rebels (of the ElfQuest universe), a rogue human military executes a very stealthy colony drop on the alien's home planet at the outer rim of the solar system. How stealthy? They've spent twenty years making slow course corrections on the asteroid, just to make sure it won't get detected by spaceship warning systems.
In Sigil (of CrossGen), there is a plot by the Big Bad (who by that time had been superceeded by a Bigger Bad, however) to ram an asteroid into the humans' capital planet, by equipping said asteroid with a gigantic FTL drive. The hero manages to deflect the asteroid (and save his love, who was on it) by sheer force, but the casualties are still great and we learn that the planet is going to become uninhabitable anyway.
In All Fall Down, a giant asteroid, Penumbra, threatens to collide with Earth. It turns out to be an elaborate hoax.
The Japanese live-action movie Gorath involved a super-dense wandering planet with 4,000 times the mass of Earth; the only way to solve the problem, in the end, was to attach giant engines to Earth and move it out of the way.
The threat of Gorath reappears in Godzilla Final Wars (faked by the alien invaders), as well as a smaller "weaponized" asteroid (meant mostly as a means to transport Monster X/Ghidorah to Earth).
Precisely-aimed meteors were the Weapon Of Mass Destruction of the "bugs" in the movie version of Starship Troopers. Although it's ridiculously implausible that the bugs could hurl rocks over light years of distance on a sane timescale and with any sort of accuracy, an apparently disposable bit of background chatter suggests the rocks were coming from much closer to home. It may have been a natural disaster that the space Nazis used to justify a war against the bugs (or they could have been dropping the rocks themselves).
The Moon Nazis in Iron Sky use space-zeppelins that are dragging asteroids with engines attached. On command, they detach the cables and engage the engines, causing the asteroids to break orbit and fall down at the start of their invasion.
In Titan by Stephen Baxter, China ends up causing a minimum Class 3a Apocalypse Howby accident when they try to capture an asteroid into Earth's orbit, but only succeed in crashing it into Earth and killing everybody...except the crew of the American craft heading to Titan.
In Robert L. Forwards Martian Rainbow, a series of asteroids, connected via extruded diamond, is dropped on Mars for purposes of terraforming, thus creating a hole deep enough to maintain earth-like atmosphere pressure. Furthermore the megalomanic emperor of Earth utilizes a magnetically coupling/decoupling asteroid to threaten Earth.
A rebel faction in the Red Mars Trilogy drops a space elevator on Mars which was long enough to circle the planet's equator. Twice. The impact only became more powerful because the higher parts of the elevator picked up speed thanks to gravity and the planet's spin. The rebels also destroyed the Martian moon Phobos to prevent it being used as a weapons platform by Earth's multinationals, which led to humongous fragments of the moon bombarding the planet's equatorial regions, just to add icing to the cake of the space elevator's fall. And they even strapped a bunch of rockets to an asteroid that they'd christened Nemesis and pointed it at Earth just to make a point (although it was easily intercepted and diverted). There's a reason they liked Paul Bunyan folklore on Mars: it's because they did everything big.
They do this a lot during the Red Mars Trilogy, and not just for war. They drop several icy comets onto Mars in a controlled fashion throughout the books to help bring more volatiles necessary for terraforming.
In the Dragonriders Of Pern series the planet is subject to persistent attacks by quantities of a fungoid that comes from the Oort cloud at the edge of the Pernese system, dragged in by the Red Star, a small planetary body. These threadfalls last for several hours at a time, and come in a pattern of 50 years of this bombardment, followed by 200 years of no attacks. There are two periods where the interval is longer, one of which sets up the original book...
Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote The Mote in God's Eye with this trope in mind. The newly-discovered planet has been bombarded by asteroids in an uncountable number of wars over the entire history of the aliens. The solar system has reached the point where all the remaining asteroids and comets have been moved to places where they're better used for other things.
In Footfall by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, the alien species the Fithp drop an asteroid the size of a Dino Killer in the Indian Ocean, wiping out India and causing global rain showers
The moon-based rebels in the Robert A Heinlein book The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress blackmail Earth for independence with moon rocks catapulted from the moon to Earth, resulting in an impact equivalent to a 2 kiloton nuclear bomb. (These are actually the good guys, waging war against an oppressive government). This sequence is referenced or repeated in many, many space operas. This is also given a Shout Out in an Honor Harrington novel, as the "Heinlein Maneuver".
A minor subversion, in that they don't actually target people— rather, they mostly target uninhabited areas near large population centers, for intimidation value, and a few military bases. The de facto leader of the Lunar rebels even admits that the whole thing is a bluff: if they used one of their rocks to destroy a major city, the people of Earth would never accept their independence, instead demanding that the lunar colony be exterminated. Nevertheless, a large number of people die in the initial round of bombardment, after going to scheduled impact sites to observe what the government insists will be harmless events.
In David Weber's The Armageddon Inheritance, alien invaders on a xenophobic/genocidal crusade try dropping a big rock on Earth. When that is stopped, they decide to go all the way to the top and launch one of Saturn's moons, Iapetus, at Earth in the second attempt.
In David Weber 's Honorverse, the hegemonic Solarian League has written the "Eridani Edict" into their constitution, forbidding any variety of mass destruction of civilian targets on pain of them wiping out your empire. Turns out they didn't much like having one of their planets get massacred by RKVs a few centuries back...
Weber has hinted that in the event the Solarian League comes unglued, someone else will have to step up to the plate to enforce the Edict, or something like it, since it's just too important for the survival of civilization. He very carefully (and gleefully) did not mention who this might be.
As mentioned a few examples above, indescriminate planetary bombardment with asteroids or WMDs is called "The Heinlen Maneuver" in-universe. It is also worth mentioning that while it may specify orbital bombardment, many characters on both sides are shown as being understandably antsy about even accidentally hitting an inhabited planet with an unlucky shot during a space battle (the same concern, in inverse, has at times forced defensive forces to fight at a disadvantage, unwilling to use defensive platforms in orbit over their own planets first lest they force the enemy to return fire). A sizable part of this is due to the Eridani Edict, in addition to many of the officers on both sides of the conflict being good.
Weber's novel, Out Of The Dark, has the Shongairi launching several kinetic strikes before, during, and after their invasion of earth. In fact it seems to be their sole advantage over the humanrace.
This trope is best summed up with Jack McDevitt's book Moonfall. The dust jacket explains thusly: "A comet is coming. It is going to hit the Moon. And the Moon is going to fall. ON US."
The eponymous Newton's Cannon in the first book of J. Gregory Keyes' Age of Unreason series is actually a comet King Louis XIV's royal alchemists have drawn down from the heavens, without quite realizing the holocaust they are about to unleash.
The Warhammer 40000 novel Chapter War, by Ben Counter, sees an army of invading Orks use small asteroids (with rockets attached) as conveyance through space. Once they've arrived, they use the same Roks as a crude, yet surprisingly effective, orbital bombardment, devastating the Planetary Defense Force.
Part of the Horvath's initial appearance was dropping kinetic warheads on several major Earth cities, in John Ringo's Live Free or Die.
In The Thrawn Trilogy of Star Wars, one of Thrawn's most brilliant plans involves launching lots of invisible asteroids at the capital world of the Republic. To protect the public and vital installations, the planetary shields were raised, which effectively kept the entire planet under siege long after Thrawn's fleet had left the system. Also Thrawn didn't actually have that many cloaking devices, so he just had the star destroyers fire their gravity catapults without any invisible asteroids loaded, so the Republic had no idea how many asteroids were really out there. So even after the last asteroid had smashed into the shields or detected and destroyed, they would have no way of telling when it would be safe to lower the shields.
This was a favored tactic of the !*!*!, in Bolo Rising.
The 2012 novel The Last Policeman is a police procedural set against an impending asteroid impact.
Fyodor Berezin's novel Ash involves Earth waging a nuclear war against its only extrasolar colony (the colony wanted economic independence). By this point, the planet is a radioactive wasteland, but the Earth military (based on the far side of the colony's moon) keeps dropping nukes on it. It turns out that two cities have survived: one underground and one underwater. The underground city has worked for a long time, building thousands of nukes in order to obliterate the lunar base. They finally launch them, but the orbital and lunar defenses manage to eliminate most of them, with the lunar base experiencing relatively minor damage. The Earth forces then realize that the nuclear barrage wasn't the main attack. Some of the missiles were programmed to strike an asteroid in order to cause it to fall on the lunar base. They manage to attach some engines to it and aim it at the planet. Due to a freak coincidence, the asteroid somehow ends up destroying a large chunk of the planet (not just the surface).
The setting of The Cole Protocol, one of the books in the Halo Extended Universe, is a collection of asteroids - modified to serve as a make-shift colony in the wake of a nearby planet's glassing - known as the Rubble. Late in the novel, the protagonists discover a Covenant attack force on another nearby planet, and must figure out a way to prevent said force from wiping out the Rubble's inhabitants. The solution? Evacuate the population and then drop the asteroid-habitats from orbit.
Live Action TV
A Star Trek: Voyager episode had an evil alien race slowly bombarding another race's colony worlds with giant asteroids, in hopes they'd abandon the colony as unsafe and the evil aliens could simply move right in without a war. Not sure why they wanted a planet covered in craters, though.
There was a Star Trek: TNG novel that included a planet BUILT to be used as such a weapon, and inhabited by people largely ignorant of this. Once it was set off Worf shut it down by violently destroying the machinery that created the wormhole used to deliver it, after complaining about not being allowed to shoot things when he wanted to for the whole book.
There was also a TOS episode with what sounds like essentially the same plot.
"For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky". Similar but not exact: The ancient, long-lost Fibrini civilization build a generation-ship, Yonada, designed as a traveling planet which would eventually find a new world for their descendants to settle. However, the guidance computer aboard Yonada went off-course, and Yonada itself was doomed to collide with a planet with millions of inhabitants. The Enterprise averted this disaster AND McCoy's premature death by incurable disease.
Also done in Stargate SG-1 where an asteroid is found to be hurtling towards the Earth. Cue the Armageddon reference from Genre Savvy Colonel O'Neill. In a twist it was revealed that the asteroid was not a natural phenomenon, but a way for Anubis to get around the Protected Planets Treaty. Shockingly, blowing the asteroid up was not the answer, as the asteroid in question was specifically chosen by Anubis so that blowing it up would just make things worse. Unfortunately, SG-1 was stuck with a very poorly-designed bomb.
The Centauri use illegal mass driver weapons to drop asteroids on the Narn homeworld in a Babylon 5 episode.
This is considered so heineous, that even the Vorlons issue a formal statement decrying the act. The Vorlons whose foreign policy consists of "We take no interest in the affairs of others."
Power Rangers falls back on this every so often. The first time, four Humongous Mecha pushed the asteroid far enough off-course to miss Earth. The other three times, it was blown up. And then, there was a literal colony drop: at the end of Lost Galaxy, the Big Bad reactivates the largest dome of the massive space colony and aims it at the settlement on the planet.
The Doctor Who episode "Frontios" featured the Tractators, who created meteor showers to try to rid the eponymous planet of its human inhabitants, although this is more of a "Colony Pull", as the Tractators were already on the planet underground and were using their gravity-controlling abilities to pull the asteroids onto the planet.
Heroic reversal in Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future: one half of Lord Dread's Project New Order involved capturing the human population with an orbital Digitizer, the space station Icarus. Power and his team infiltrate the Big Bad's base and hack into Icarus' ground control, forcing it down from orbit and on a collision course with Dread's capital city, Volcania.
Like any other method of causing massive destruction, the Colony Drop is gleefully utilized in Warhammer 40000. Naturally, da Orks take it to the utter screaming extreme; they grab an asteroid, put engines and weapons and armor on it and fill it with Orks and ram it full speed into a planet. It doesn't matter if it turns out to be a transport or just a missile, it's served it's purpose of making a big boom.
An issue of the Games Workshop magazine White Dwarf contains a very funny debunking of the idea that doing this to a planet would be cheaper and easier than the usual Exterminatus methods. It was originally found online and can be found quoted here.
Roks were fitted with teleporters in the Third War of Armageddon. So, not only was there a Colony Drop, but there was then an asteroid sitting in an impact crater, spewing out wave after wave of reinforcements, without needing vulnerable dropships.
The backstory for Cyberpunk 2020 includes a short orbital war between the US and the EU, ending when the EU-controlled lunar massdriver was used to lob a substantial lump of rock at Washington DC. The rock was deflected by orbital defences, and instead hit Colorado Springs (or, as it became known afterwards, "Colorado Sprung")
It also has Jurrac Meteor, which clears the field (including itself) when it's first brought out. It's based off the Chicxulub asteroid (the one that killed the dinosaurs), and is a dinosaur itself.
Sins of a Solar Empire has the Advent starbase meteoroid control signature ability, which allows it to use the crew's Psychic Powers to rams asteroids onto hostile planets being orbited or dropping entire swarms of small asteroids onto enemy fleets.
Fragile Allegiance, a strategy game focused on mining asteroid fields for minerals, allows this tactic in two forms. The lesser involves building a device capable of launching lumps of minerals from one asteroid to another, the kicker being that any asteroid without a corresponding receiving device that a lump lands on gets wrecked. Far more interesting, however, is mounting engines on one asteroid and smashing it into another, obliterating both.
Defender (The Remake, not the original) had a mission like this at the end. The Earth is found to have been offensively terraformed by the aliens, all the way through. Your mission is to defend the power plants on the moon that are running the gigantic engines pushing it towards the Earth.
King Of Fighters 2001 has this once you defeat the Lovable Igniz. He has a huge god complex, but once you beat him, he decides to become a demon and attempts a colony drop. It fails, miserably.
Sword Of The Stars has Siege Drivers, the ultimate mass driver weapon. They're so huge only specially designed dreadnoughts can carry them, have infinite range on the tactical map, and cause 150 million casualties per shot. The human version looks like a giant revolver with the barrel rotating after each shot.
There's also the Meteor Lancer spear skill in Disgaea 4, which has the user leap into outer space, gather some meteors into the shape of gigantic lance, then throw it at the targets.
The Final Fantasy series have the spells Comet and Meteor appear in several games. Final Fantasy VII even uses its use as a plot point, being the means by which Sephiroth would use to try and worm his way into The Lifestream and attain godhood. This was a distinctly odd example in that Meteor actually fell quite slowly; in fact slower than the planet's gravity should have made possible. The implication seems to be that, as Meteor was magical in nature, it wouldn't merely collide with the planet and create a crater, but bore through it and come out the other side.
The Dissidia: Final Fantasy series has a few examples, too; notable, considering it's a real-time fighting game. Sephiroth can use the Black Materia to summon the aforementioned meteor to attack his opponent, and the Emperor has a much more visually impressive (though heavily telegraphed) version in Starfall.
The bad guys in Heavy Gear II try to do this, after simply dropping big bombs alone stopped working.
Skies Of Arcadia had the "Rains of Destruction", a deadly shower of Green Rocks from the Moons orbiting the world that wiped out almost all of civilisation and set humanity back from space-faring to just getting the hang of electricity again when the story begins.
In Metroid Prime 3, the Pirates and Dark Samus drop Leviathans — sentient Phazon asteroids, each with a Big Bad inside — on four planets, including their own. It's also implied that the planet Phaaze was responsible for dropping two more on Tallon IV and Aether in the previous two games.
The one on Elysia is particularly bad, as there is no way to get down into the planet's atmosphere to disarm the shield. The solution? Spend a few hours converting sections of SkyTown into a gargantuan nuclear weapon and countering Dark Samus' Colony Dropwith one of your own!
In Advent Rising, the Seekers (bad guys) destroy the hero's home world by dropping asteroids on it.
"They are coming to destroy the planet."
"They throw rocks."
"Rocks? They throw rocks?"
In the the downloadable Mass Effect 1 mission "Bring Down the Sky", Commander Shepard has to prevent a group of alien terrorists from dropping an asteroid on an Eden-like colony world. In this case it's also a literal colony drop, as the asteroid itself has a scientific research colony on it.
In the Mass Effect 2 DLC Arrival, an asteroid is used to destroy a mass relay, and in the process destroys a star system.
A level of We Love Katamari requires The Prince to roll up all the countries on Earth to stop a meteor from... destroying all countries on Earth. This foreign object hurtling through space will be, alternately, a big meteor, a bigger and spiky meteor, or the Prince's very own Space Mushroom planetoid. (Somebody really dropped the ball on that one. One of the quickest ways to lose fans is to send them hurtling towards Earth and incinerating them.)
Advance Wars has Sturm's CO/Super Power, Meteor Strike, which drops a 3x3 meteor on the most expensive cluster of enemy units for 8 damage. In the comedy sketches on Youtube, it gets changed to dropping a Sturm clone on someone.
Golden Sun has the Meteor summon, which drops a meteor on the opponent. Megiddo, the special ability of the Sol Blade, does the same thing with the sun—and you hit it at them with your sword.
Ace Combat plays this straight with the Ulysses asteroid, then plays with it in that all of the technology created to stop the impact sparks off wars and causes more damage than the chunks of the asteroid that made it through. Also played straight when the Belkans try to drop the SOLG on the capital of Osea in Ace Combat 5.
In Knights of the Old Republic II, when the player is escaping the Peragus mining facility, the whole thing blows up when either the Sith or the player fires on the asteroids. This was the only source of fuel for a station hovering over another planet, Telos. Later on, you can get a Hutt on Nar Shaddaa to send fuel to the station.
In Jet Force Gemini, there is an asteroid directed by Mizar to crash into the Earth.
In Galactic Civilizations the "Mass Driver" invasion type involves bombarding the planet with asteroids beforehand.
Mega Man Battle Network 4 has a giant asteroid that turns out to be computer-controlled. The Navi operating it, Duo, wants to destroy Earth because it is a wicked planet. Mega Man stops the asteroid and convinces Duo to leave Earth alone for a while.
Mega Man Star Force 3 uses the same plot with Meteor G, a giant meteor made of crystallized "noise." Not only is it headed for Earth, but it's interfering with wireless devices and corrupting wave beings. Geo and Omega-Xis later learn that Geo's father Kelvin, in wave form, has been holding the meteor back since the day the space station Peace was destroyed.
The Dig uses the threat of this as the Call to Adventure, when a large asteroid shows up out of nowhere in Earth orbit and threatens to crash into the planet. It's actually a disguised spaceship sent by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens to see if we've developed sufficient spacefaring capabilities to go up there and stop it; having done so, the astronauts in question are subsequently whisked away to the aliens' long-deserted planet.
The Babylon Project: In one level of The Earth-Brakiri War, just after getting to an abandoned Space Station, you discover an asteroid on a collision course with the station (in a region of space devoid of asteroids and full of mines), and have to go destroy it.
One of the ways to invade a planet in Galactic Civilizations is to attach engines to asteroids and slam them into the world before landing troops. This seriously weakens the defenders but also permanently lowers the planetary quality.
Earth 2150 has the Lunar Corporation's Weather Control Machine being outfitted with an asteroid targeting system as the planet's decaying orbit evaporates surface water to the point the machine can no longer influence weather. In gameplay terms, that means the LC can call in meteor showers instead of lightning storms in volcanic and lunar tilesets. And unlike lightning, meteors can NOT be stopped by Deflector Shields and no longer ignore buildings in favor of high hills. Each meteor does a fuckton of damage (enough to insta-kill most units and severely damage buildings) but scatter randomly over a very large area. Still, a minute-long carpet-bombing of asteroids is much more awesome to watch than a nuke. Even better: the WCM is the cheapest superweapon in the game and only needs base power to operate so given enough money, you can build dozens of the sucker fire them all simultaneously.
Angry Birds Space is largely made of this. It is rather satisfying to drop a massive asteroid onto those bloody pigs.
The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind includes a fantasy version of this. Baar Dau, a moonlet originating in Oblivion, was stopped from impacting the city of Vivec by the god Vivec. It hovered over the city for centuries as a prison for heretics. After Vivec disappeared and the stop-gap measure implemented by the Temple to keep it in orbit was destroyed, the moonlet resumed its fall as though it had never stopped. Vivec (the city) was destroyed, the Red Mountain erupted, and the mainland of Morrowind was devastated by tsunamis.
Averting this trope is your objective in the adventure game The Omega Stone, in which a comet is on a collision course for Earth.
The backstory of Allegiance is that, by 2140, asteroid mining has become a profitable business. It's done by launching asteroids in the Belt towards the Lunar catching station and mining it on location. Unfortunately, a rather large asteroid ends up missing the station and hits Earth. The game takes place After the End.
Played with in Freefall, where ice asteroids are routinely dropped on the colonized planet as part of the terraformation process. (Also done in Ken Mac Leod's The Stone Canal). Two robots also mention digging a river with asteroids. And while they were at it, timing and sequencing the asteroids to produce a rhythm...
Dvorak: Ah, yes. Orbital bombardment in D minor.
Sawtooth: It's not often you get to play an entire planet as a percussion instrument.
In Schlock Mercenary, Battleplates were originally developed by the UNS to prevent the natural impact of meteorites on human worlds. Once the UNS realized that the Battleplate was also excellently able to deflect some other things that might threaten Earth, like the intentional impact of meteorites and other celestial bodies of a similar size and higher acceleration, and decided they'd better build a few dozens of them. You know, just in case. And as long as there's no pesky rocks that need to be swatted, well, there are many other uses you can put a several-kilometre long warship with grotesquely overpowered gravitics control to...
And by "several kilometers long," think of an equilateral triangle 1,000 meters thick and 8,000 meters on each side. That's one of the smaller ones.
In Bob and George this is how Future Bass and Future Mega Man try to defeat Bob when he becomes the villain in the fifth Mega Man game. It doesn't work though, because he just blows the whole thing up.
Homestuck: If the White King loses on the Battlefield (which he is always destined to), the Black King (or Jack Noir in this case) initiates the Reckoning, which takes the asteroids which comprise the Veil and sends them flying toward Skaia and the Battlefield with the intent of destroying it. Skaia's defence mechanism opens portals to Earth (or whatever planet the players in question come from) at various points in its history, in the process setting up some of the parameters of the game, including the players. The majority of the asteroids sent to the players' planet arrive around the time the game starts being played, or April 13 2009 in the case of Beta Earth, which amounts more or less to the end of the world; the entire point is to end mankind as Earth has served its purpose. All of the player's homes in particular are menaced by an incoming meteorite, requiring them to enter the game and start the adventure before it strikes; the largest one menaced Jade's home somewhere in the Pacific Ocean shortly before she entered, and Becquerel's blast to destroy it was so powerful that its shockwaves were more or less the last nail in the coffin for Earth. Eventually, Skaia runs out of defense portals, so players in the game have to defeat the Black King before the Battlefield is destroyed.
Parodied in one episode of Futurama, where the guys from Planet Express must stop a big ball of garbage from splattering against New New York.
Justice League - Vandal Savage holds the world hostage with an asteroid-firing railgun.
Inverted in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, where time-travelling demon Savanti Romero threathens the future by trying to make the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs miss Earth. The turtles' mission, thus, is to assure that the colony drop happens.
In The Magic School Bus episode "Out of this World", the class stops an asteroid from hitting their school. Ultimately, they make the bus planet-sized, draw the asteroid into an orbit, and then return to normal size at just the right moment to send the asteroid on a collision course with the sun.
In Justice League Unlimited, time-travelling villain Chronos punishes Chucko for his betrayal by sending him back to the moment where the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid. Chucko's last words are "Oh, phooey."
Chronos: Do you know what killed the dinosaurs?
Chronos: Well Chucko does.
Sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid struck the Earth in the Yucatan Peninsula. Not only did this asteroid wipe out all of the non-avian dinosaurs on Earth at this time, but it killed a good portion of life on Earth, including the pterosaurs, the sea reptiles (mosasaurs and plesiosaurs), the main reef builders, some of the crocodilians, a lot of the plants, etc. Mammals are thought to have barely gotten through the extinction with the skin of their teeth.
Or the Permian-Triassic extinction event 250 million years ago, it definitely dwarfs the above one. One of the probable causes? Whatever created this◊ crater, speculated to be an asteroid over 55 kilometres across (by comparison, the asteroid that landed in Yucatan was "merely" 10 kilometres across). This is truly a Colony Drop of epic proportions.
Note, however, that there are several other highly credible explanations for the P-T event, most notably the Siberian Traps. It's likely that it was the two together caused the changes that killed off so much life.
Now that the Yucatan evidence has largely substantiated the K-T collision for dinosaurs' extinction, the notion that other extinction events or disruptions of climate could be a result of other, smaller-scale impacts has become somewhat more acceptable.
It is theorised that the cause of the Late Devonian Extinction was multiple asteroid impacts.
Astronomers got to observe this type of Colony Drop firsthand (but, luckily, at a distance) in 1994, when the fragmented pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter. If this would have hit Earth, the impact would have been greater than the above two combined.
Although of a smaller scale than most fictional examples, meteorites play this trope straight. Documented cases of them killing people or destroying property on impact bring a new dimension to bad luck, considering the odds against it.
The Marvel Graphic Novel The Futurians has this as part of the backstory. In Earth's distant future, there are two major powers, locked in near-constant war: the city-states of Ghron and Terminus. Ghron developed a weapon called the Sky-Grabber, and used it to pull the moon towards the Earth so as to collide with Terminus. Terminus survived thanks to an extremely powerful forcefield, and is self-sufficient enough to live in total isolation for centuries, but 95% of all other life on the entire hemisphere Terminus is situated on died. Ghron was no worse for the wear, being located on almost the exact opposite side of the planet, though obviously there was some embarrassment that such a huge endeavor ended in failure. So they fled to the past and tampered with the sun just to spite Terminus.
The Achuultani in Empire From The Ashes are big fans of this. Dahak speculates that they were responsible for the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. In the second book, Achuultani scouts steal Iapetus from Saturn, cover it with deflector shields, and throw it at Earth, using their own ships to further shield it.
Pug uses a moon to attack a single creature in The Riftwar Cycle, by opening a wormhole-like rift connecting a point just in front of the moon's path to a point just above the creature in question. Hilarity Ensues. To be fair, the creature had already destroyed two dimensions, and Kelewan was doomed even before the Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe's New Jedi Order series, the new enemy, an extremely xenophobic machine-hating race called the Yuuzhan Vong, are introduced by using their ships' gravity controlling features to smash a planet apart with its own moon. Among those killed is Chewbacca. They later duplicate it during their successful invasion of Coruscant, using the planet's orbital defense stations.
Non-Earth example: In BIONICLE, Makuta Teridax is killed when the planet-sized robot he's inhabiting has one of the moons of Bara Magna smash into his head. He was trying to invoke this trope by slamming it into the planet in a destructive manner, whereas Mata Nui was trying to gently merge the planet and moons together.
The D20 fantasy setting Dragon Mech is in the middle of having its moon descend upon the planet. This is quite possibly the worst thing to happen to the world of Highpoint in a very long time, given that it's already destroyed the societies of several different races and it hasn't actually hit yet.
In the distant past of Drowtales the elves apparently managed to take a piece out of one of the nine moons, and the resulting impact from one of the pieces hitting the planet is implied to have created the underworld where the story is set. The city of Sha'shi contains the most complete fragment of this piece of the moon, and it's implied that something about the moon is responsible for the elves mutating into drow and the reason that later generations have a higher rate of health problems.
A rogue moon in The Gungan Council crashed into Taris on Xyra's command, wiping out everything on the planet's surface.
Phobos is one of Mars's moons. Its orbit is slowly weakening, and in about 11 million years, it will either collide with Mars's surface or break apart.
Dropping the Moon on Earth is the Anti-Spiral's failsafe plan for eliminating humanity if it looks like they're getting too uppity in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
Though technically speaking, it was actually the battleship Cathedral Terra that was transformed into a moon. On the other hand, Lagann-hen successfully ups that by having the Moon transform into Chouginga Lazengann and try to punch the Earth.Yes.
In Net Runner, normally the corporation can target the hackers with goons and hit squads, which deal two or three damage out of the hacker's five live points. A corp willing to go that extra mile can use the card "I Got A Rock", which drops an asteroid on the hacker for a total of fifteen damage.
In the Justice League story "Terror Incognita" the Martian Manhunter is confronting dozens of powerful White Martians on the Moon after those same White Martians have all but conquered Earth. While The Manhunter has them distracted the rest of the Justice League pulls the moon toward Earth so that the entry into the atmosphere will burn the Martians to nothingness if they do not surrender and enter the Phantom Zone. Spell Casters cast a massive spell to keep the gravity of the Moon from destroying Earth, and the Justice League (after imprisoning the surrendering White Martians) pulls the moon away from Earth before it can impact and destroy the planet.
A Rule34 fan comic of Avatar The Last Airbender ended with the Princess Yue, Sokka's old squeeze turned Moon Spirit, getting turned on by the naughty activities the main cast gets into and, well, decides to come on down as the Moon itself and join the fun. Yeah...
In the recent film incarnation of Wells' The Time Machine, the extinction of most of humanity, leading to the Eloi and Morlocks evolving, is caused by lunar colony construction causing the moon to break apart.
In the '80s remake of Flash Gordon, Ming the Merciless is sending the moon spiraling down into the Earth. It doesn't get there, but it gets close enough that things must have been pretty messed up.
Doctor Hans Zarkov: Check the angular vector of the moon!
Neil Gaiman's The Matrix short story, Goliath, had inexplicably pissy aliens follow one of the Machines' "seed-probes" back to Earth. The aliens begin dropping rocks and warn that if the Machines do not surrender immediately, they'll drop the moon on them.
One of Larry Niven's prehistoric The Magic Goes Away stories featured a group of magi seeking out a comatose god on a "mana"-starved Earth in the hope that he will be able to help them land the Moon on Earth. How big can it be, after all? The magi think this is a great idea and awaken the god using the mana left in the comatose worldwyrm of Norse Mythology. The awakened god shows the relative sizes involved to the magi, who now realize that smashing the Moon into the Earth would be a bad thing, even though the god promises to remake them after. As the god awakens, he stretches up to grab the Moon with his hands and push against it, presumably to stop it from orbiting the Earth.
In the Magic: The Gathering storyline, Yawgm- er, The Lord of the Wastes is attempted to be killed by Urza and Gerrard dropping the Null Moon, a storage facility for pure white mana, on him.
In the Nightside novels, John Taylor notices that the moon is absent from the skies when he visits an After the End future, and theorizes that it's fallen and caused the devastation all around him. Twice subverted when he A) finds out it was a war between himself and his mother, Lilith, that was to blame, and B) ultimately prevents it from happening.
The Last Survivors Series features a variation on this theme.
Live Action TV
In Three Moons Over Milford, an asteroid has broken the Moon into three huge (and a number of much smaller) pieces and it is unknown when or if any of them will fall to Earth.
The first series finale of The Sarah Jane Adventures, where Mr Smith, Sarah's Magical Computer, who is revealed to be from a race of alien sentient rocks attempts to smash the Moon into the Earth to free members of their species who are stuck in Earth's crust. The episode before also had The Trickster, the living embodment of Chaos remove from the Earth the person fated to stop a large meteorite naturally smashing into the planet.
In the DS game The World Ends With You, the second week's game master Sho Minamimoto leaves a note saying "Any tree can drop an apple, I'll drop the freakin' moon!". He doesn't actually do it, it's just a note proving his insanity.
Joshua can actually drop the moon or some sort of astral body (a.k.a. the Jesus Meteor) on your enemies with the right upgrades.
In Skies Of Arcadia, one of the special party skills is called Prophecy, where the party throws the Silver Moon at the enemy.
Occurs several times in I Wanna Be The Guy, with the first one being a Brick Joke of sorts: you go past a screen that prominently displays the moon in the background, and a few screens later it falls on you and tries to kill you. It gets to the point of being a Running Gag: if the moon appears on screen, sooner or later it will try to kill you somehow.
In the DS game Infinite Space, during the Irvest Sector war, Kalymnos attempted to obliterate Najbaro by crashing its moon-equivalent, Monarho, to said planet.
In Donkey Kong Country ReturnsDonkey Kong punches the moon into Tiki Tong's tower. DK isn't trying to destroy the world, only the tower, and the resulting explosion pops the moon back into place.
Inverted in Titan A.E..: When the Drej blow up Earth, a piece of it shatters the Moon.
In Megas XLR Gorrath tried to ram the Moon into Earth by strapping a giant engine to it. Coop instead flip the engine so its tail end pointed down, blasting a huge crater into it. It permanently altered weather patterns on Earth.
In a Dexters Laboratory episode, Dexter launched a tractor rocket that moves the moon so he will gain strength from the rays of Saturn. But suddenly, the rocket gets broken so the moon will come crashing down into Earth, wreaking havoc by rolling across the city and then his laboratory.
In The Tick, evil boy-genius Charles randomly gets the idea to smash the Moon into the Earth using a tractor beam, simply to demonstrate how smart and/or evil he is. It either doesn't occur to him that he will still be on the Earth when the Moon smashes it, or he simply doesn't care, because it the most evil thing he can think of.
In an Itchy & Scratchy show in The Simpsons, Itchy takes Scratchy's tongue and ties it to a rocket. The rocket makes several circles to the moon, ties the tongue around it, and begins to fall. When Scratchy realizes that the moon is falling over him, he tries to hide inside a closet.
Anime & Manga
Avenger deals with a dying colony on Mars that's about to be crashed into by one of the moons.
Die Buster inverts this: the human race plans to deal with an extremely powerful (and extremely large) Space Monster by dropping Earth onto it. Fortunately Nono shows up and stop this plan before dealing with the Space Monster herself.
In Green Lantern First Flight, Hal takes a page from Lensman below, crushing the Yellow Lantern Battery between two massive moons of some gas giant.
The follow-up movie, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, has the Lanterns defeat their planet-sized antimatter enemy by hitting him with a planet, both of which are then crashed into the nearby star.
Lars Von Trier's Melancholia revolves around the planet of the title crashing into Earth, obliterating all life in the universe.
Lensman probably takes this to its most ridiculous extremes when they variously squash a planet between two planets (the "Nutcracker"), squash a planet between two planets moving faster than the speed of light, and drop a planet sized load of antimatter on a planet. Oh, and "negaspheres", called that because in the 1940s the term "black hole" hadn't been coined yet. There's a reason we call it the Lensman Arms Race.
In Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's "Sunstorm," it's discovered that the reason the Sun is going berzerk (soon to send out a 24-hour pulse of energy that will destroy life on Earth) is that thousands of years ago vastly powerful and paranoid aliens saw sentient life had developed on Earth, figured we'd eventually be a threat, and flung a Jupiter-sized planet into the Sun. The idea was that this caused instability in the Sun that would (thousands of years later) cause it to lash out and cook us. However, one does wonder why they didn't simply fling the gas giant at the Earth, thus saving time and solving the problem directly (and preventing the primitive humans from doing anything about it, unlike how things turned out).
Unique variant: In The Shattered World, a fragment of a planet collides with a bigger, inhabited chunk of the same planet, causing massive death and destruction. This is possible because magicians intervened when their world was broken to bits a thousand years ago, and equipped the pieces of world with Artificial Gravity and a shared atmosphere. Unfortunately, the spells that keep the fragments safely confined in their orbits are wearing out, so this isn't the last Colony Drop in the offing. Also, a Colony Drop strike by another planet, not the Necromancer, is what really shattered the world.
The Dwellers, from the Iain M. Banks novel The Algebraist, crank this Up to Eleven: fuck with them and one day, though it may come far, far, far in the future, and they will throw a planet at your homeworld. Surrounded by moons, which are in turn surrounded by thousands of asteroids, which are in turn surrounded by millions of smaller chunks of rock. And the whole horrific mess is traveling at a sizable fraction of light-speed...
This is done in the Doctor Who special The End of Time when the Master opens a link to Gallifrey, causing it to materialise directly beside Earth. The two planets' gravity starts pulling them together.
Used rather unexpectedly in the series finale of Smallville, with Apokolips being summoned next to Earth, nearly colliding with it. It is stopped by Clark/Superman pushing it away with his bare hands.
Star Ocean The Second Story pulls this one, as the planet of Expel is destroyed by crashing into Energy Nede, a planet made out of Pure Energy and populated by one of the most ancient and knowledgeable races in the series' existence. Makes sense that their artificial planet would be powerful enough to vaporize anything else it hit. They never intended to hit anything anyway, but that's what bad guys are for...
The Tera Star spell in Disgaea 4 drops most of the solar system on the target.
Ennesby: They did that, too. They crashed one gas giant into another.
So not only did they destroy their gas giant colony planet and the planet it crashed into, they destroyed at least one other planet that got caught in the ensuing catastrophe and screwed up the ecosystem of the one planet in the system that actually had one.
Invader Zim discovers the planet Mars "looks unnatural, as if nature was not involved in its formation" and discovers it's a giant spaceship. He plans to roll it around on the surface of the Earth to squish the filthy Earthicans.
Zim: People of Earth, prepare to taste the mighty foot of my planet!
A close call with a "runaway planet hurtling between the Earth and the Moon" kicked off the collapse of civilization in the backstory to Thundarr the Barbarian. Neither Earth nor the Moon was struck, but the Moon cracked in half, while Earth suffered massive tsunami, quakes, etc.
In The Transformers, Galavatron's plan in the series finale involved crashing Cybertron directly into earth.
One hypothesis about the Moon's formation is that it was produced by the ejecta thrown out from Earth as the result of a collision with a roughly Mars-sized body.
Anime & Manga
In the final arc of Magical Project S, Romio attempts to send the Earth on a collision course with the sun.
The sci-fi classic film When Worlds Collide had a passing star smack into the Earth — with the survivors taking refuge on a planet orbiting the star. In the 1930s novel on which the film was based, the Earth-destroyer was one of a pair of incoming rogue planets, with the second planet predicted to assume Earth's orbit after the boom.
The Xeelee Sequence features the extreme colony drop option where a Neutron Star is accelerated to high fractional C and smashed into a Cosmic String.
Other examples ramp up the magnitude, including accelerating entire galaxies to use as projectiles.
In Larry Niven's A World Out of Time, earth develops extrasolar colonies, and they eventually go to war. By throwing stars at each other. The one headed for earth misses, but makes the sun go red giant.
Archchancellor Ridcully of Discworld reminisces about the time a star crash-landed near his family's estate in one of the Science of Discworld books. Of course, in his Verse, stars are balls of flaming rock only a few feet across, so it wasn't a particularly-destructive example.
In Sa Ga Frontier 2, The Egg's final form has a skill called Xenocide, where he'll throw the fucking sun at you! He'll use this skill every other round.
Asuras Wrath: Chakravartin's Basic projectiles in the first phase of the fight with him are both Planets and Stars, and even includes a Red Giant in his arsenal.
Inverted in The Transformers, during the episode "The Revenge of Bruticus" when Onslaught attempts to fling the Earth into the Sun. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
In Zone Of The Enders: Dolores, i, Radium Lavans attempts to drop a space elevator on the earth by destroying the large mass at the top of it that is acting as an anchor. Dolores prevents it by compressing the space between the earth and the moon to increase the moon's gravitational pull on the space elevator until enough mass can be added to keep it stable.
In a little known comic series called Meridian, a large number of the population lives on floating islands while the ground (At least most of it) is too heavily polluted. Naturally, the threat of a city-state falling down onto the ground is present.
In recent years, the Marvel version of Asgard, a mystical city-state, has hovered over the American Midwest. Recently, during the Siege storyarc, Asgard fell to the ground.
In an issue of The Spectacular Spider-Man in the 90's, Spidey and the original X-Men teamed-up against Professor Power who was in control of a floating castle. They defeat him and his Mooks but the castle is sent plummeting toward New York. Obviously, they stop it just in time.
Done by Knuckles in Sonic The Comic he punches a fault line near the Carnival Night Zone and since the Carnival Night Zone was built on the edge of the Zone, Knuckles completely smashed off that portion of the Floating Island, removing Carnival Night Zone from the island, the Zone fell to Mobius, slightly cushioned by remaining Master Emerald power. The crash-landing of the ruined Carnival Night Zone was a shock to one Emerald Hill boy who had just before wished that the Zone was closer then it crashes in front of him.
In the 2009 movie adaptation of Astro Boy, the power goes out in the floating city during the climactic fight, which causes it to start falling. Astro slows down the fall enough to avoid a catastrophe.
The school in Sky High has its floatation device disabled by Royal Pain. Will just barely manages to slow down the school long enough for his friends to fix the device and stop it from crushing a neighborhood.
In Gulliver's Travels, the Laputan emperor's ultimate punishment against wayward earthbound cities was to drop his floating island on them.
Subverted in he had to do it slowly, or the bottom would be badly damaged. He explains this as the love of his people being so great, he wishes to permit them every chance of survival.
Happened for every floating castle in the Dragaeran Empire when sorcery stopped working at the beginning of the Interregnum.
Live Action TV
In My Hero 6x08, "Believe", Thermoman accidently drops a village in Bavaria on another village, causing them to both catch fire and set alight to a third one. However, no-one actually gets hurt as Thermoman manages to rescue them all from his blunder, though they weren't overly grateful about it.
The Gorillaz' floating windmill ends up being shot down by pirates in the video for "El Manana".
BIONICLE: when Mata Nui crashes onto Aqua Magna thanks to Makuta.
The destruction of Zeal in Chrono Trigger results in the floating kingdom falling from the sky. Between Lavos generally causing havoc and chunks of islands falling from near-orbit, the world is destroyed and flooded. It gets better, though. In fact, it's implied that the disaster is what ends the Ice Age, in the same way that Lavos's arrival started it... which qualifies for this trope as well.
In Lufia II Doom Fortress was used to attempt to destroy Parcelyte as a last ditch effort by Daos.
In the grand finale of Final Fantasy XII, Sky Fortress Bahamut is fatally damaged by the Undying's unrelenting assaults on it during the Final Battle. The miles-and-miles-tall FloatingTower falls from the sky in a collision course with Rabanastre, to everyone's horror. Although the lowest bits crash into the city's Paling, it's obvious that this shield won't hold, and last-ditch, desperate actions are taken to ensure the city's survival, from suicidallyramming it away with a capital ship, to staying behind to rig emergency power to its engines.
In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Link invokes this trope as a last resort to stopping The Imprisoned for good by wishing to the Triforce to destroy The Imprisoned for good. It grants the wish by causing part of Skyloft to break off and fall from the heavens, landing directly on the sealing pit just as The Imprisoned is breaking out of its seal, squishing it.
It's an odd example, as the city starts on the surface and then falls through the crust and into the planet's poisonous-gas-filled yet oddly populated core, but this is pretty much what happens to Akzeriuth in Tales Of The Abyss
In 8-Bit Theater a pissed-off Sarda teleports Black Mage away "to Hurt". BM ends up in the middle of the ocean, next to a sign reading "Welcome to Hurt, Australia". As he's wondering what an "Australia" is, the reader's view is pulled back so you can see the Australia-shapedshadow looming around him.
The Neopets story arc 'The Faeries' Ruin' had an epicWham Episode which revealed that not only was Xandra the villain, she just crashed Faerieland- that is, a giant floating city-state- into Neopia.