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United States sent a nuclear bomb into space called Starfish Prime to see what would happen

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posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 04:35 PM
In 1958 the United States sent a nuclear bomb into space called Starfish Prime to see what would happen to the Van Allen Belt

Never forget, the government is capable of "trying out" anything, regardless of what effects it may have.

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 04:44 PM
No, they didn't. Starfish Prime had nothing to do with the Van Allen belts. The purpose of the test was to determine the upper atmospheric effects of a nuclear detonation, and had no effect on the ground. However, it did give researchers a wealth of information on the workings of the upper atmosphere, including the formation of auroras, and the movement of tropical air masses. It did create a temporary electron radiation belt, which has dissipated as of 1968.

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 04:49 PM
Shocking,i never heard of this but not surprised.Isnt this whats happening at the CERN?I dont think these people have any idea what could happen.Similiar public recklesness?

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 04:55 PM
Why couldn't they wait till a few years after the invention of hd cameras to ban open air nuclear tests, what a beautiful sight that would have been.

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 05:11 PM
It wasn't done to 'see what would happen to the Van Allen radiation belts', they had several experiments in mind including a test on using nukes to blast incoming enemy nukes, to take out enemy satellites (they did), and to test for dispersal of radiation. It was also one of the few ways to test nukes with minimal damage to surrounding areas. (Underground testing took a lot more effort and surface testing (done in the Pacific over atolls) caused too much damage to surrounding areas).

I remember reading back int he day one of the big cold war fears was that the Soviets wouldn't need to reach the continental United States with a nuke to radiate us, an upper atmosphere blast over the polar regions even within the Soviet Union could reach us, causing harm for years. I guess when the Soviets got around to testing their nukes in the upper atmosphere they found it caused them quiet a bit of harm as well, in any case the US and USSR signed arms limitations against testing nukes in the upper atmosphere and in space.

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 10:11 PM

In 1958 the United States had completed six high-altitude nuclear tests, but the high-altitude tests of that year produced many unexpected results and raised many new questions. According to the U.S. Government Project Officer's Interim Report on the Starfish Prime project:

Starfish Prime

It looks like there have been several nuclear tests at high altitudes.



While some of the energetic beta particles followed the Earth's magnetic field and illuminated the sky, other high-energy electrons became trapped and formed radiation belts around the earth. There was much uncertainty and debate about the composition, magnitude and potential adverse effects from this trapped radiation after the detonation. The weaponeers became quite worried when three satellites in low earth orbit were disabled. These man-made radiation belts eventually crippled one-third of all satellites in low earth orbit. Seven satellites failed over the months following the test as radiation damaged their solar arrays or electronics, including the first commercial relay communication satellite, Telstar.[9][10] Detectors on Telstar, TRAAC, Injun, and Ariel 1 were used to measure distribution of the radiation produced by the tests.[11]

In 1963, Brown et al. reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research that Starfish Prime had created a belt of MeV electrons,[12] and Wilmot Hess reported in 1968 that some Starfish electrons remained for five years.[citation needed] Others reported that radioactive particles from Starfish Prime descended to earth seasonally and accumulated in terrestrial organisms such as fungi and lichens.

The Starfish Prime explosion

on 9 July 1962, at 09:00:09 Coordinated Universal Time, (which was 8 July, Honolulu time, at nine seconds after 11 p.m.), the Starfish Prime test was successfully detonated at an altitude of 400 kilometres (250 mi). The coordinates of the detonation were 16 degrees, 28 minutes North latitude, 169 degrees, 38 minutes West longitude.[4] The actual weapon yield was very close to the design yield, which has been described by various sources at different values in the range of 1.4 to 1.45 megatons (6.0 PJ).

Van Allen radiation belt

The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles (plasma) around Earth, which is held in place by Earth's magnetic field. It is believed that most of the particles that form the belts come from solar wind, and other particles by cosmic rays.[1] It is named after its discoverer, James Van Allen, and is located in the inner region of the Earth's magnetosphere. It is split into two distinct belts, with energetic electrons forming the outer belt and a combination of protons and electrons forming the inner belts. In addition, the radiation belts contain lesser amounts of other nuclei, such as alpha particles. The belts pose a hazard to satellites, which must protect their sensitive components with adequate shielding if their orbit spends significant time in the radiation belts.

edit on Nov-25-2011 by xuenchen because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 04:25 AM
i am wondering as to whether the high altitude tests caused the south altantic anomaly. similar to a boil forming on the body. was there any data concerning the saa prior to these tests?

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 04:59 AM

Originally posted by ShadeWolf
The purpose of the test was to determine the upper atmospheric effects of a nuclear detonation, and had no effect on the ground. However,.

I did have a effect on the ground EMP.

The relatively small magnitude of the Starfish Prime EMP in Hawaii (about 5600 volts/metre) and the relatively small amount of damage done (for example, only 1 to 3 percent of streetlights extinguished)[10] led some scientists to believe, in the early days of EMP research, that the problem might not be as significant as was later realized. Newer calculations[9] showed that if the Starfish Prime warhead had been detonated over the northern continental United States, the magnitude of the EMP would have been much larger (22 to 30 kilovolts/metre) because of the greater strength of the Earth's magnetic field over the United States, as well as the different orientation of the Earth's magnetic field at high latitudes. These new calculations, combined with the accelerating reliance on EMP-sensitive microelectronics, heightened awareness that the EMP threat could be a very significant problem.

And Starfish Prime was not designed to be a EMP weapon.

By designing the weapon in a special way you could increase the pulse by 1000%

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