The crazy U.S. plan to win the Cold War by blowing up the moon

Contributed by
Jan 14, 2013, 1:38 PM EST

Though the Cold War was mostly a decades-long superpower standoff, there were a few hotter moments. There was the launching of Sputnik, the Cuban missile crisis, and the time the U.S. planned to detonate a nuke on the moon in hopes of scaring the Soviets into defeat. No, really.

According to a report by Asian News International, American leaders once seriously considered putting a bomb on the moon in hopes of intimidating the Reds into backing off their space and arms race.

The project, called "A Study of Lunar Research Flights" and nicknamed "Project A119," would have sent a missile carrying a small nuclear warhead 238,000 miles into space to crash into the lunar surface, where it would have detonated on impact. The resulting explosion would have hopefully been enough to rein in Soviet aggression and boost the confidence of Americans living in fear of Sputnik and future Soviet space projects.

The project got so far along that a young graduate student named Carl Sagan (yes, that Carl Sagan) was brought in to predict how the dust and debris from the blast might behave, but the launch never got off the ground.

Apparently military officials and scientists got together and decided there were just too many unknown factors to justify the launch, including how the resulting radiation could affect future American moon visits and what might happen if the nuke should miss its target.

So the moon was never nuked, and the Air Force still won't comment on the plan, but this information will forever serve as a reminder that America almost lived out the plot of a Michael Bay movie in the service of national security.

(Via ANI/Yahoo!)

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