Skip to comments.US planned to blow up the MOON with a nuclear bomb to win Cold War bragging rights over USSR
Posted on 11/25/2012 4:28:28 PM PST by DogByte6RER
Revealed: How the U.S. planned to blow up the MOON with a nuclear bomb to win Cold War bragging rights over Soviet Union
- Scientists were hoping for giant flash on the moon that would intimidate the Soviet Union
- Aim of mission was to launch the nuke by 1959
- Plan was later scrapped due to possible danger to people on Earth
It may sound like a plot straight out of a science fiction novel, but a U.S. mission to blow up the moon with a nuke was very real in the 1950s.
At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America's Cold War muscle.
The secret project, innocuously titled 'A Study of Lunar Research Flights' and nicknamed 'Project A119,' was never carried out
However, its planning included calculations by astronomer Carl Sagan, then a young graduate student, of the behavior of dust and gas generated by the blast.
Viewing the nuclear flash from Earth might have intimidated the Soviet Union and boosted U.S. confidence after the launch of Sputnik, physicist Leonard Reiffel told the AP in a 2000 interview.
Reiffel, now 85, directed the inquiry at the former Armour Research Foundation, now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He later served as a deputy director at NASA.
Sagan, who later became renowned for popularizing science on television, died in 1996.
The author of one of Sagan's biographies suggested that he may have committed a security breach in 1959 after revealing the classified project in an academic fellowship application. Reiffel concurred.
Under the scenario, a missile carrying a small nuclear device was to be launched from an undisclosed location and travel 238,000 miles to the moon, where it would be detonated upon impact.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Thank you - I was hoping that pic was here. :o)
Seemed perfect. Funny thing is, last night I was thinking of this picture.
Ever see the movie? I watched it for the first time today:
The entire nuclear arsenal of the planet at the heighth of the cold war (~50,000 Mt) fabricated into one bomb would hardly make a noteworthy new crater on the moon aside from the fact that the surface in the blast area would be vitrified and reflect some more light.
Major extinction events here have been in association with energy releases on the line of 200,000,000 Mt, and while it screwed the earth up, it came no where near destoying it, or all life on it for that matter (which would actually probably take reliquifying the lithospere to a depth greater than 1 mile).
I believe that’s closer to 16 or 17%, I think you lost a decimal place there. If it was 1.2%, tides would be a few inches...
Damn, you appear to have been right, 1/6th volume and yet that much less mass... It must have a creamy filling!!!
They say 1/4 the diameter, so if the densities were similar that is a ratio of 4 cubed, or 64. A bit under 2% by volume, and then the creamy filling factor (actually the moon does not boast a dense iron core as best we know).
The danger would have come if the rocket somehow did not make it to the moon, especially if it failed in low trajectory. Presumably the bomb would be set not to go boom in such an event, but it would be a source of radioactive dirt.
That wouldn’t be the first catastrophe to result from it. Without the Moon we’d have no tides on Earth, the oceans would stagnate, and Earth would slowly die.
I suspect if we put a crash program on it we could develop a bomb that would do more than that. I’m not saying we’ve got one ready in the garage.
“Where’s the kaboom? There was supposed to be a Moon-shattering kaboom!”
And we just voted these nitwits in charge of our health care.
Actually The smallest US warhead was the W54
These were subkilton, but in the Nagasaki range was the W44/Tsetse at 175lb. The Brits considered using an anglised version of Tsetse (Tony) as a primary for their 60s bombs, but eventually decided on UK designed Katie, which was even lighter
These all date from the early 60s
All that radioactive dust would have floated around and eventually got back into the Earths atmosphere...maybe years later.
Most of the dust it kicked up would have fallen back to the moon. Besides tons of naturally occurring radioactive space dust falls to the earth every year.
Yup, we think we would do “so much damage” to the moon by putting a nuke on the moon....
Hubris, thy name is humanity!
Maybe the concept was that the Soviets would see us attacking the moon for no discernable reason, and conclude that we were so deranged, that they should just stay very far away from us.
The B-52s did.
There’s a moon in the sky
It’s called the moon
And everybody is there, including,
OK, you’re right, it doesn’t rhyme.
That's a LOT of beer!
Not many are aware of the Lager Bombs. The trick was to shake them violently before lobbing them at the target.
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