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The U.S. Air Force developed a top-secret Cold War plan to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon in the 1950s.
In a letter to the journal Nature, physicist Leonard Reiffel, leader of the effort which was called Project A 119, wrote that the Air Force wanted to explore the effects of exploding a nuclear bomb on the moon’s face. The Air Force wanted the explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.
Part of the team researching the hypothetical explosion was a young Carl Sagan, who was recruited to study how the mushroom cloud would expand and collapse under the moon’s lighter gravity.
Originally posted by Infoholic
I wonder what they were planning to prove by doing that? Ahh... the "man in the moon" was a terrorist, too.
Originally posted by ababsdfg
that has to be one of the worst ideas ive ever heard,
the entire climate of the earth would change
also the force of the explosion, could send the moon flying into the earth, and even if that didnt happen the mass of the moon would change drammatically, and the chunks that were blown off would hit the planet..
thats proly why that didnt actually do it
Originally posted by Blitz
The moon has one million tons of Helium 3. I dont know much about Helium 3, but I can tell you it is very scarce on earth and it is the optimum fuel for a fusion reaction.
In other words, detonating a nuke on the moon would be like, throwing a match into an ocean of gasoline.
Sagan apparently presented some of the results of his research on the project in an application for an academic fellowship
Originally posted by ignorant_ape
the He3 on the moon is bound into rock , in such low concentrations [ PPM ] that no chain reaction could occur .
to be of any value in a fusion recaction it must be compressed to mind boggling pressures .
this is why planets like saturn / juptier cannot "ignite " to form a star - the gravity / pressure @ thier cores is simply no where near that required
that is incorrect , lunar He3 is both dispersed and unpressurised .
a thermo nuclear explosion would only initiate fusion in a few molecules of HE3 at ground zero .
the rest would be unnaffected , and there would certainly be no chain reaction