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 How the U.S. planned to blow up the MOON

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Join date : 2012-05-29
Location : Manchester UK

PostSubject: How the U.S. planned to blow up the MOON    Mon 26 Nov 2012, 15:25

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

19:06, 25 November 2012 UPDATED: 22:37, 25 November 2012

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.

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.

Plot: The U.S. was planning to launch an atomic
bomb, like Fat Man, pictured above, that would be launched into space in
a scrapped plan to blow up the moon

Brains of the operation: Astronomer Carl Sagan,
left, was involved in the planning of the mission and physicist Leonard
Reiffel, right, was the man in charge
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.
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.

Would you miss it? American scientists were looking to blow up the moon to get an edge of the Soviet Union in the space race

Sagan, who later became renowned for popularizing science on television, died in 1996.
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.
The planners decided it would have to be an atom bomb because a hydrogen bomb would have been too heavy for the missile.
said the nation’s young space program probably could have carried out
the mission by 1959, when the Air Force deployed inter-continental
ballistic missiles.
Military officials apparently abandoned the idea because of the danger to people on Earth in case the mission failed.

The scientists also registered concerns about contaminating the moon with radioactive material, Reiffel said.
When contacted by the AP, the U.S. Air Force declined to comment on the project.

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