- The Chicago Astronomer -
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During the height of the Cold War, U.S. officials debated whether to detonate nuclear bomb on the moon in order to send a message to the Soviet Union, the Asian News International reports.
The secret project dubbed, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” and nicknamed “Project A119,” was seriously being considered until it was scrapped because military officials were worried it would hurt the people on Earth.
The original story at CBS asks if the astronauts would have even had a moon to walk on if we'd done this? Really? A Hiroshima-sized nuke didn't even completely wipe out the entire city, much less the country or planet.
Fat Man, the larger of the two nukes we dropped on Japan, was a 21kiloton yield.
The maximum radius for bomb damage was only 3.5mi/5.6km. By comparison, crater Gassendi, Paulie's favorite, is a whopping 110km across.
My guess is that aside from the danger of sending this size nuke into space, the payoff would have been a very minimal scar on the moon only visible with strong binoculars or a telescope. Not really the fearsome message that the US government wanted to send at that time.