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Old 28th November 2012, 07:29 PM   #1
Puppycow
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Wink SMH: Carl Sagan planned to blow up the moon with an atom bomb

US planned to blow up the moon (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Quote:
The United States planned to blow up the moon with a nuclear bomb during the cold war, according to reports.

The secret project, dubbed 'A Study of Lunar Research Flights' or 'Project A119', was allegedly devised by US military chiefs at the height of the space race in the late 1950s as a show of strength over the Soviet Union, scientists claim.

According to reports, the US would have used an atom bomb because a hydrogen bomb would have been too heavy.
Wow. Just one atom bomb would have been sufficient to blow up the whole moon. Who knew!

Quote:
Physicist Leonard Reiffel, who was involved with the project, said it would have intimidated the Soviet Union and given the US a morale boost after the Russians successfully launched Sputnik in 1957.
Yes. That sure would have been great for our morale, knowing that our government blew up the moon! Who needs it anyway!

Quote:
Also involved in the project was astronomer Carl Sagan, at the time a young graduate, who carried out calculations about the behaviour of dust and gas generated by the blast.
Just the dust and gas? What about all those large moon fragments from the death-star like explosion?

Quote:
The US government has never formally confirmed its involvement in the project.

The US Air Force declined to comment on the claims.
They're not denying it. That means it must be true!
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Old 28th November 2012, 07:32 PM   #2
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I heard about this a day or two ago, but was meaning to get around to looking it up. Isn't the moon like, useful for shielding us from a lot of space debris? Man this is a nutty story.
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Old 28th November 2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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Also I just thought they were making a big mushroom cloud for Russians to see, not actually blowing apart the moon.
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Old 28th November 2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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Blow up the Moon. Big ball becomes smaller fragments. Small fragments go in all directions. Including straight at Earth. Pity Carl didn't think about that. It's not rocket science.
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Old 28th November 2012, 07:50 PM   #5
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I've heard a crazy story about Cocoa Cola wanting to use colored power on the moon to create the solar systems largest billboard.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MontagK505 View Post
I've heard a crazy story about Cocoa Cola wanting to use colored power on the moon to create the solar systems largest billboard.
It was Moka Cola. The Man Who Sold the MoonWP.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:39 AM   #7
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I kept not understanding where the phrase "blow up" was coming from. I now suppose that they have modified the headline of the story. It no longer uses that phrase.

ETA
Never mind. I see a video link in the other thread over here -> http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=248439 with Brian Williams describing it exactly as destroying the moon.... ouch.

Last edited by BowlOfRed; 29th November 2012 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 29th November 2012, 02:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by BowlOfRed View Post
I kept not understanding where the phrase "blow up" was coming from. I now suppose that they have modified the headline of the story. It no longer uses that phrase.

ETA
Never mind. I see a video link in the other thread over here -> http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=248439 with Brian Williams describing it exactly as destroying the moon.... ouch.
I see that they have edited the article. It was originally exactly as I quoted it in the OP, including the headline and the first sentence.
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Old 29th November 2012, 03:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
SMH: Carl Sagan planned to blow up the moon with an atom bomb
Given that Sgan was smart enough to know this was (and is) impossible I'd say no.


Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
I heard about this a day or two ago, but was meaning to get around to looking it up. Isn't the moon like, useful for shielding us from a lot of space debris? Man this is a nutty story.
And there are the tides. Plus the rain of lunar debris.

Originally Posted by MontagK505 View Post
I've heard a crazy story about Cocoa Cola wanting to use colored power on the moon to create the solar systems largest billboard.
The idea appeared in one of Arthur C. Clarke's short stories about a US/UK/SU moon mission. I think Heinlein used it also.
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Old 29th November 2012, 03:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
Also I just thought they were making a big mushroom cloud for Russians to see, not actually blowing apart the moon.
There has to be an atmosphere to create a mushroom cloud. Also, it would be like hushaboom since there would be no sound. Actually, getting the bomb to the moon would have been more impressive than the ka-boom.
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Old 29th November 2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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Speaking seriously:

I am extremely skeptical of this. It's an easy thing to say "Hey, look at the dumb Americans!" (and as an American, I do that myself to myself a lot ), but in reality, the physicists who would've been involved would've had a pretty good idea of the power of atomic bombs in relation to the size of the target and realized what a ludicrous idea this would be.

--------

Now, speaking, umm... well, less seriously (*ahem*): If this is for real, I already have a suspect.


... so if the project involved the illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator, we got him dead to rights.
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontagK505
I've heard a crazy story about Cocoa Cola wanting to use colored power on the moon to create the solar systems largest billboard
The idea appeared in one of Arthur C. Clarke's short stories about a US/UK/SU moon mission. I think Heinlein used it also.
Grant Naylor also used it in the Red Dwarf book - only it was done by triggering supernovae. Most amusing!
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:23 AM   #13
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They even made documentary about it:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 29th November 2012, 03:00 PM   #14
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I vaguely remember reading something about this... Wasn't the idea to set off a large explosion on the Moon's surface and analyse the spectra of the flash to find out what sorts of minerals etc were there? Just like they did recently when they crashed a probe into it.
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
There has to be an atmosphere to create a mushroom cloud. Also, it would be like hushaboom since there would be no sound. Actually, getting the bomb to the moon would have been more impressive than the ka-boom.
At least they wouldn't have to get it back alive, which would have simplified matters. And you wouldn't have to tell anyone about the ones that missed or didn't go off.
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:34 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
I vaguely remember reading something about this... Wasn't the idea to set off a large explosion on the Moon's surface and analyse the spectra of the flash to find out what sorts of minerals etc were there? Just like they did recently when they crashed a probe into it.
This is an area where actuality, rational proposals, crackpot proposals and sci-fi all generally confound each other. Some crackpot proposals, for instance, were official. This was the 60's, remember, a place where any crazy theory can find a home. In the shadow of the Bomb and drugged-up to the lower lids, those were years when strange things happened.
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
I heard about this a day or two ago, but was meaning to get around to looking it up. Isn't the moon like, useful for shielding us from a lot of space debris? Man this is a nutty story.
Time for my roll-out about destroying the Earth with nukes:

The largest nuke ever exploded was 50 MT equiv; the sum total of all atomic weapons ever used is 510 MT. The Chicxulub meteor (responsible for dinosaur genocide) concentrated a grand 100,000,000 MT of energy release in a circle about 10 km across in the Caribbean. That amount of energy did not manage to make it through the 20km crust (single sheet of paper thin, if the Earth was a 3 meter diameter ball) into the mantle to expose it in any way. What makes you think anything we can do in the next 100 years might have any significant effect on the moon or its orbit around Earth?
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:46 PM   #18
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By the way, Carl Sagan was a doctoral student, and he was hired to calculate the range of the debris thrown off by the blast. There is, AFAIK, no known idea of what he personally though about the plan; the idea didn't come to light until his biographer unearthed his involvement after his death.

Project A119WP
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:58 PM   #19
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The Soviets were considering sending a nuclear bomb to the moon at the same time. I guess both governments decided it really wasn't that good an idea.
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Old 29th November 2012, 06:14 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dogjones View Post
Originally Posted by catsmate1
Originally Posted by MontagK505
I've heard a crazy story about Cocoa Cola wanting to use colored power on the moon to create the solar systems largest billboard
The idea appeared in one of Arthur C. Clarke's short stories about a US/UK/SU moon mission. I think Heinlein used it also.
Grant Naylor also used it in the Red Dwarf book - only it was done by triggering supernovae. Most amusing!
I'll offer my favorite, from the Wizard of Speed and Time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...w60Ozg#t=4851s
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