US military once planned to explode atom bomb on Moon

by | Nov 28, 2012 | Seradata News | 0 comments

There has been much tabloid interest in what is a re-release of the revelation, originally made by the protect’s leader Leonard Reiffel in 2000, that the US Air Force had once considered launching a rocket to explode an atom bomb on the surface of the moon. 

The plan which was part of Project A119 “A study of Lunar Research Flights” was thought up in the late 1950s as a “shot across the bows” of the Soviet Union as as morale booster for the US general public, after the Soviet Sputnik satellite launch in 1957.  It was also rumoured that the Soviet Union was planning a similar “demonstration” featuring a nuclear explosion’s flash being visible from Earth.   

The decision was made early on to use an atomic bomb rather than a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb as the latter type was deamed too heavy for the launch vehicles at the time.  The famous astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, who was then a young researcher, was part of the team predicting the effects of the bomb’s explosion on lunar dust. 

In the end the plan was dropped as being too dangerous given that launch vehicle reliability was very poor at the time.  

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

NORAD to track Santa again

As part of the Christmas celebrations, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) is attempting to track Father Christmas (Santa Claus) Read more

Musk plans a stock offering for SpaceX after successful IPOs in his other firms

Elon Musk, the billionaire Internet, clean energy and rocket entrepreneur who made his initial fortunes in the internet business, most Read more

Opinion: ESA has chosen badly with respect to its launch vehicle development

ESA really had three choices with respect to its launch vehicle development: it could built the Ariane 5 ME which Read more

Musk goes for methane-burning reusable rockets as step to colonise Mars

While speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London in November, the billionaire former Paypal Internet executive, Tesla electric car Read more

No space predictions (or space errors) in Skyfall as James Bond serves his country well (Updated)

While the latest James Bond adventure Skyfall (Director: Sam Mendes) does use a lot of 'Big Brother' surveillance technology to Read more

History: UK gave up impressive space programme including plans to launch UK astronauts “just to get into Europe”

There will be sadness in those "space cadets" in the United Kingdom of all ages as we note that new Read more

Opinion: The madness of imprisoning earthquake scientists may halt satellite seismic forecasting research

To world scientific dismay, on 22 October, seven scientists working at the Italian National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention Read more

Budget cuts force US Air Force to throw out reusable booster baby with the bathwater

As reported by Flightglobal, the US Air Force has now its its back on liquid-fuelled flyback boosters as it shut Read more

Cookies & Privacy

Click here to read about use of cookies on the website

Categories

Archives