U.S. Air Force Had Plans to Nuke the Moon

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Declassified documents from the Cold War era show that the U.S. Air Force once had a plan to detonate a nuclear warhead on the surface of the Moon. According to CNN's interview with Leonard Reiffel, the leader of the little known top-secret plan Project A-119, the plan was hatched in 1958 shortly after the launch of the world's first satellite Sputnik 1, which brought pressure on the American government to catch up with the Soviet Union's lead in space exploration. Had the plan been set in motion, the bomb would've been launched from an undisclosed location to travel 240,000 miles to the moon and blow up on impact, though Reiffel believes its effect on the Moon would've been more or less negligible.

5 Men Stand Under An Exploding Nuke of the Day

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July 19, 1957, the heart of the Cold War.

1 test atomic warhead, detonated 18,500 feet above ground.

5 Air Force officers and 1 photographer, who volunteered to stand underneath it to demonstrate the relative safety of a low-grade nuclear exchange in the atmosphere.

As NPR's Robert Krulwich writes: "You have to see this to believe it."

[krulwichwonders]