The Nova Catalyst is a large explosive device that is greater than TNT and tends to leave massive craters. They blister through all forms of material with relative ease, and have a very wide area of effect.
Characteristics of ExplosionThe Nova Catalyst won't hurt the player, or any mobs for that matter, (unless there's Lava underneath of course). You can stand right next to the blast as it safely vaporizes all materials nearby to their appropriate "collectable" forms. This also means no items will ever be "accidentally" vaporized.
Nova Catalysts don't drop individual items. Much like several of the alchemical items, this explosion drops everything in a neat, lag reducing Loot Ball nearby the player, leaving you free to detonate massive quantities of Nova Catalysts in relative safety, and without the worry of losing the items in lava.