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Carl Sagan Was On US Team To Nuke the Moon

timothy posted about a year ago | from the only-a-light-nuking-around-the-edges dept.

Moon 206

First time accepted submitter novakom writes "Apparently during the cold war, one fall-back position the U.S. was looking at to ensure mutual assured destruction was to put nukes on the moon. This would ensure that the U.S. could retaliate against even an effective first strike by the Russians. The first step, of course, would be to detonate a nuke on the moon. And yes, Carl Sagan was on the team (and apparently leaked the info!)"

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206 comments

Why would that be the first step? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135495)

In what world does putting nukes on the moon require first detonating them on the moon? It would seem like that might make things harder.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year ago | (#42135551)

First you launch nukes at the moon to judge how well they work in space warfare. Later you build a base there which can launch nukes of its own.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42135649)

First you launch nukes at the moon to judge how well they work in space warfare. Later you build a base there which can launch nukes of its own.

...

But if the purpose of the moon-nuke-base was to launch attacks on terrestrial targets, who gives a rats ass how they work in 'space warfare?'

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#42135967)

Presumably to make sure that the moon base would be safe from enemy nukes (no thermal shockwave).

Re:Why would that be the first step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135667)

In what world does putting nukes on the moon require first detonating them on the moon? It would seem like that might make things harder.

Clearly you want the place to be highly radioactive so Russia couldn't put their own nukes up there. Sure it makes putting your own up there a bit harder, but what the hee, it was the cold war!

Re:Why would that be the first step? (5, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#42135719)

In what world does putting nukes on the moon require first detonating them on the moon? It would seem like that might make things harder.

I think the summary was poorly worded. It's not the first step to getting them on the moon; it's the first to using them as a deterrent, after siting on the moon, because it would be proof positive to the Soviets that you had actually gotten working nukes onto the moon, as opposed to some kind non-functional decoy. (Ironically, decades later, Ronald Reagan used a non-functioning decoy (SDI) to wreck the Soviet economy and win the cold war...)

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#42136047)

because it would be proof positive to the Soviets that you had actually gotten working nukes onto the moon

Detonating a nuke right before it impacts the moon would be orders of magnitude easier than landing them there, sheltering them from the elements and maintaining them there for years in operational condition. (All long range missiles were liquid fueled back then, and with the primitive computers and robotics of the time, it probably would have required a full-time manned presence on the moon, just like we had in earthbound missile silos.)

Moreover, with the technology of the era, it seems like it would be pretty hard to aim the lunar-based missiles accurately at any kind of target on the earth. There wouldn't be a frame of reference for inertial guidance that earth-based ICBMs would have. As a comparison, all the early manned missions only had to aim at a large patch of ocean for reentry, and they used human intervention to help do it.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#42136337)

(All long range missiles were liquid fueled back then, and with the primitive computers and robotics of the time, it probably would have required a full-time manned presence on the moon, just like we had in earthbound missile silos.)

Or use solid fueled rockets. The "all long range missiles were liquid fueled" doesn't matter because any placement of missiles on the Moon would have been in the future, using near future technologies, not the present. So stable solid rocket motors (which could have been within a decade and were actually developed within two decades) could be included.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (4, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | about a year ago | (#42136131)

It's also proof of concept. If you can launch a nuclear missile from Earth and detonate it on or near the surface of the moon, particularly if you can get reasonably close to a specific position on the surface of the moon, then you can likely do the same in reverse. If you can't nuke the moon from Earth, then you can't nuke Earth from the moon.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

blackicye (760472) | about a year ago | (#42136819)

It's also proof of concept. If you can launch a nuclear missile from Earth and detonate it on or near the surface of the moon, particularly if you can get reasonably close to a specific position on the surface of the moon, then you can likely do the same in reverse. If you can't nuke the moon from Earth, then you can't nuke Earth from the moon.

The margin for error is much larger when you're sending the Nuke over...no atmosphere and no friendlies primarily.
I'm fairly certain sending one from the Moon to an Earthbound target is _much_ trickier..

But then again if your strategy is similar to North Korea's, and you're just trying to convince your potential
enemies that you're batshit insane, it would be a fairly convincing demonstration.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#42136209)

Ironically, decades later, Ronald Reagan used a non-functioning decoy (SDI) to wreck the Soviet economy and win the cold war..

Also, the US economy. This was the start of excessive military spending. Reagan increased the debt from $1T to $3T, or 200%.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42136211)

Personally, I think Ronald Reagan himself was the nonfunctioning decoy.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42135859)

Well that's just it: it's not the world. It's the moon. Your earth-logic has no place on the theoretical-cold-war-moon-nuclear-base.

Re:Why would that be the first step? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#42136073)

in the real world, when designing a nuclear missile silo that will sit in bedrock, it is crucial to ascertain shock propogation characteristics of nuclear detonations

How the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135501)

did this "Idle" story get into the "Science" section?

Typical slashdot summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135503)

Idea was to nuke the moon as a show of ability, not put nukes on the moon to provide second strike capacity.

Re:Typical slashdot summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135569)

And Sagan didn't "leak the info". He put the job on a job application.

Breaking News!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135577)

An AC did not RTFA and made a post saying the exact opposite than what the article said.

More at 11!

Re:Typical slashdot summary (1, Insightful)

Tynin (634655) | about a year ago | (#42135639)

That would have been an amazing(ly terrifying) meeting between world leaders. Truman and Stalins exchange at the Potsdam conference might have gone quite quite differently. Or perhaps it was that conference that made Truman want to go to such lengths to put a nuke on the moon to show American might? Brinksmanship is such a strange game.

Re:Typical slashdot summary (4, Informative)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#42135885)

Hmm, might review your history a bit.

Potsdam (w/ Truman hinting to Stalin about the A-bomb) happened in 1945. Eisenhower was President after 1953. This nuke-the-moon plan didn't get rolling until 1957 (after Sputnik) when the US heard a rumor about a similar Soviet plan to nuke-the-moon (aka Project E-4).

The publication "A Study of Lunar Research Flights" (which documented the nuke-the-moon plan) wasn't printed until 1959.

Re:Typical slashdot summary (1)

Tynin (634655) | about a year ago | (#42136207)

Thank you for the clarification. I completely misremembered the year of the conference.

What was he smoking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135505)

wink wink

War; War never changes (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year ago | (#42135519)

The things they'll sacrifice...

Re:War; War never changes (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year ago | (#42135695)

The things they'll sacrifice...

Yes. Us, basically. We *so* need to get out of this egg before we run out of resources.

Re:War; War never changes (2)

lennier (44736) | about a year ago | (#42135779)

We *so* need to get out of this egg before we run out of resources.

.. and into the giant pit of vacuum in which there are even less resources? Good plan.

Re:War; War never changes (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#42135975)

.. and into the giant pit of vacuum in which there are even less resources? Good plan.

That "giant pit of vacuum" has infinitely more mass and infinitely more hydrogen than this tiny pit of earth, from which fusion reactors can produce other elements. At least those not found on other tiny pits of earth that we may visit.

Re:War; War never changes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42136187)

Too bad that space is also infinitely dilute and infinitely hard to get at. Other than that, all your sci-fi juvenile drivel makes sense.

Re:War; War never changes (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#42136067)

We *so* need to get out of this egg before we run out of resources.

.. and into the giant pit of vacuum in which there are even less resources? Good plan.

WTF man? Of course he was talking about going some where else with sufficient resources and habitable conditions. You might as well have assumed he meant we should set up a colony on the surface of the sun for all the idiocy you've attributed to him.

Re:War; War never changes (5, Funny)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about a year ago | (#42136733)

WTF man? Of course he was talking about going some where else with sufficient resources and habitable conditions. You might as well have assumed he meant we should set up a colony on the surface of the sun for all the idiocy you've attributed to him.

As long as you stayed inside during the day, and only went out at night, a solar colony might be workable.

Re:War; War never changes (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42135891)

I'd argue that this WOULD be a pretty big change to war. The crusades weren't fought with moon-nukes. Sorry, Fallout.

It is truly frightening (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about a year ago | (#42135549)

I know we all joke about politicians and bureaucrats, but to think there are really people that stupid in high places just scares the crap out of me.

Re:It is truly frightening (4, Insightful)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year ago | (#42135559)

Have faith that there are so many stupid people in so many positions that they kinda cancel each other out most of the time

Re:It is truly frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135777)

In fairness, no one actually nuked the moon. What I love about the tech which came out of the US and Soviet sides of the cold war is that many out-of-the-box ideas were on the table. Yes, some outrageous ideas like this got a fair look, a feasibility study, then rejected. Makes for interesting reading when information is finally declassified.

Re:It is truly frightening (4, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#42135669)

What is stupid about it? At the time, the only true revenge weapon was the nuclear submarines, and the US in 1959 had just 5 of those.

You need an if-all-else-fails weapon, otherwise you have to keep your nuclear forces on high alert at all times to avoid losing to a first strike. Staying at high alert risks launching by mistake.

Re:It is truly frightening (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#42135773)

The entire idea of revenge in a thermonuclear exchange is what is stupid. The priority should be PREVENTION, not lobbing nukes with our dying breath. The only winning move is not to play.

Re:It is truly frightening (4, Insightful)

Pulzar (81031) | about a year ago | (#42135845)

"MAD" was exactly what the prevention was about. If you have a system that's going to kill the opponent even after he kills you, then they will likely not try to kill you in the first place.

If Russians felt, at any time, that a quick strike would take the US revenge capability, they'd be a lot more likely to strike than if they knew that moon nukes would be coming afterwards.

Re:It is truly frightening (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#42136287)

The entire idea of revenge in a thermonuclear exchange is what is stupid.

Why? If the USSR thought it could win (in whatever sense, its leaders think "winning" means, probably including the leaders surviving the nuclear exchange) a nuclear war, then it is likely that they would have done so.

It's worth noting that the USSR made several dozen invasions and other military adventures over the decades prior to the development of the nuclear bomb. Ask Finland how aggressive and trustworthy the USSR was during this time.

But after 1945, they magically cleaned up their act. Nuclear weapons did that.

Re:It is truly frightening (2)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#42136385)

Fair enough, but in 1959 you were probably somewhat concerned about what havoc (almost-)conventional warfare could wreak.

At that time the number of warheads was insufficient to destroy humanity. An all-out nuclear war at that time would kill MUCH fewer people than the Second World War did, albeit quicker. Nuclear war was not at all unthinkable -- in fact, right at that time there was Air Force and CIA leaders which believed that the US would soon have an outright missile majority which would make a first strike possible and desirable.

It is quite likely that if the US had done a first strike during the Cuban missile crisis, the number of warheads striking the US would be in the low single digits, perhaps even zero. That particular atrocity could have saved the world from 25 more years of the USSR. Horrible? Of course. Unthinkable? Certainly not.

Re:It is truly frightening (1)

blackicye (760472) | about a year ago | (#42136845)

What is stupid about it? At the time, the only true revenge weapon was the nuclear submarines, and the US in 1959 had just 5 of those.

You need an if-all-else-fails weapon, otherwise you have to keep your nuclear forces on high alert at all times to avoid losing to a first strike. Staying at high alert risks launching by mistake.

Or the easier alternative would have been to not be so paranoid and psychotic and all just try to play nice in this little sandbox we've been forced to share..

Re:It is truly frightening (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | about a year ago | (#42135873)

What's interesting is you have doctors doing mission trips, free software developers, and scientists living off what grants they've begged for and received and they do this all for the good of people. Who do we put in power? Greedy, violent assholes with the means to destroy everything. We got it all wrong, folks. The latter types should be put on the back burner.

Re:It is truly frightening (3, Informative)

Volastic (2781511) | about a year ago | (#42135981)

I know we all joke about politicians and bureaucrats, but to think there are really people that stupid in high places just scares the crap out of me.

Na, what's really frightening is the U.S. missed the moon 2 times in their first attempts.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranger_program [wikipedia.org] so you would have two nukes flying who knows where.

Be try to spot a big boy sized "asteroids" at this time.

To actually answer your post, yes the U.S. was very paranoid and sure the Russians were going to strike.
It wasn't until they tapped into the undersea telephone cable that they found it far from the truth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ivy_Bells [wikipedia.org]

and knowing this, the US got a treaty through (0)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#42135553)

banning weaponry in space and on other planets.

verification is, however, another matter.

but by George, we got us a treaty! where's the Nobels stored, folks, I want a dozen for my mother...

Re:and knowing this, the US got a treaty through (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135627)

but by George, we got us a treaty! where's the Nobels stored, folks, I want a dozen for my mother...

Sorry George wouldn't know, but Obama got one of those Nobels, maybe he'll know were they keep them...
Apparently they are just giving them away to anybody now days, so maybe your mom can get one...

Sagan was against it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135601)

Just a few weeks ago I had read an article stating that Sagan was against nuking the Moon, but I can't find the article now...

Re:Sagan was against it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135733)

That was on reddit -- don't remember seeing it on slashdot

Re:Sagan was against it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42136053)

Reddites! Get thee behind me!

Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (1)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#42135613)

For the claim that Carl Sagan wanted to nuke the frickin' moon.

Re:Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135655)

My best grades and shortest hours (99th percentile, 3-4h of schooling a day) were when homeschooled.
Is that union or non-union?

Re:Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#42135759)

My best grades and shortest hours (99th percentile, 3-4h of schooling a day) were when homeschooled.
Is that union or non-union?

Homeschooling is child abuse.

...or so I was told, by lots of different people, including my mother, who is a teacher. Nevertheless, daughter was homeschooled, due to the school system not recognizing her dyslexia and instead diagnosing her with ADD and insisting I medicate her. She's an adult now and doing pretty well.

It appears to be neither union nor non-union, judging by the fact that both union and non-union school districts are violently against it.

Re:Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42136031)

My best grades and shortest hours (99th percentile, 3-4h of schooling a day) were when homeschooled.
Is that union or non-union?

Homeschooling is child abuse.

...or so I was told, by lots of different people, including my mother, who is a teacher. Nevertheless, daughter was homeschooled, due to the school system not recognizing her dyslexia and instead diagnosing her with ADD and insisting I medicate her. She's an adult now and doing pretty well.

It appears to be neither union nor non-union, judging by the fact that both union and non-union school districts are violently against it.

It is child abuse and shitty for the children, especially when they grow up. But the parents for home schooling (which there arent many for a reason and in the minority for a reason) will never accept it. Its for pretentious parents that want to defy whats normal because they think they know whats best despite something working for thousands of years.

Just like in some parts of the world its ok to mutilate your body, and cut off a womans clitoris and to them its perfectly acceptable and normal but the majority of the world its wrong.

But whatever you know better than everyone else, well atleast you think you do and thats whats important right? Is to feel right and be able to say "Oh well we homeschool our child" to get that smug sense of self satisfaction and being able to snub popular opinion. Obviously thats why you do it because youre doing it now, youre telling everyone you can that you homeschool your kid in a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with home schooling. What nukes on the moon has to do with homeschool Ill never know because it makes no sense, but then again you homeschool so you cant be too bright.

Re:Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#42136105)

[Home schooling] is child abuse and shitty for the children, especially when they grow up. But the parents for home schooling (which there arent many for a reason and in the minority for a reason) will never accept it. Its for pretentious parents that want to defy whats normal because they think they know whats best despite something working for thousands of years.

Thousands? Try barely hundreds. The current American public school system isn't even 100, and the home schoolers look a lot better each passing day.

Re:Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#42135829)

Why would there have to be extraordinary evidence? Why couldn’t Sagan be on this team and have a negative opinion of it?

Why is it hard to believe that
        That there was a team to study a project and
        That a member thought the plan was a bad idea?

If you are going to pack a team with a bunch of ideological yes men – why form a team?

Re:Better Be Some Goddamn Extraordinary Evidence (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#42136239)

I think the central tenet here is deterrent at any cost. Nuclear warheads orbiting the moon must have been a plan for survival. To what extent it was premeditated I would like to know. Did von Braun design the Saturn V to carry nukes? Why wouldn't he?

Carl Sagan Use To Drop Acid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135663)

This proves it. Billions and billions and billions times over.

Not Relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135671)

Considering the cold war and the number of employees in the USA government, from hundreds of thousands of plans it's plain statistics that some would be insane. Isn't the important thing here that nobody actually put this plan into action?

stupid (4, Funny)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42135687)

That's stupid. They should put the nukes on the dark side and then detonate them all at once to crash the moon into Russia. That's so much more direct and efficient than launching the missiles themselves from the moon at Russia.

Re:stupid (4, Funny)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#42136011)

I don’t know. I knew a Polish physics professor who had defected in the 60’s. He though it would be a great idea to detonate a few nuclear bombs to increase earth’s tilt so the USSR would be where the North Pole is now.

This seems a lot less radical.

Re:stupid (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#42136021)

That's stupid. They should put the nukes on the dark side and then detonate them all at once to crash the moon into Russia.

No, no, no. That's stupid. Everyone knows that nukes "going off" on the dark side of the moon will push the moon AWAY from the earth and out into space where we'll come across all kinds of interesting aliens and other planets and stuff within just a few weeks. Don't you watch TV at ALL?

I'd Do It (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42135693)

I'd nuke the moon, if for no other reason than just to see what happens.

I know what you're thinking, and the answer is 'indeed, I am a mad scientist - why do you ask?'

About "nuking" the moon. (1)

superdude72 (322167) | about a year ago | (#42135761)

If by "nuking" the moon, you mean completely obliterating it like some James Bond villain and screwing up our tides, don't be ridiculous. That isn't even within our capability.

They proposed detonating a nuclear device on the moon. So what? Aside from the needless complexity and expense, how is nuking a lifeless rock outside of Earth's atmosphere worse than than nuking the Bikini Atoll, or the desert in New Mexico?

That said, I don't understand what advantage they thought they would gain by having missile bases on the moon.

Re:About "nuking" the moon. (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#42135889)

Remembers me the Armaggedon movie. Should be "a bit" harder to take out the moon from its orbit than stopping a asteroid falling on Earth with nukes. Probably a lot of the big impacts on the moon in historical times were orders of magnitudes stronger than any nuke ever made here... and it still there.

And about making some light up there to showoff, maybe this [xkcd.com] could give an idea of the dimension of the project.

Re:About "nuking" the moon. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#42136075)

That said, I don't understand what advantage they thought they would gain by having missile bases on the moon.

Simple. If country X launches a first-strike trying to disable country Y, then country Y's moon-based nukes would allow them to disable country X in return. "Mutual Assured Destruction" doesn't work when there isn't mutual assured destruction.

If country Y tries to take out country X's moon-based missiles, the time it takes for the attack to reach the moon would allow country X lots of time to ... rain mutually assured destruction down upon the heads of country Y.

Re:About "nuking" the moon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42136195)

If by "nuking" the moon, you mean completely obliterating it like some James Bond villain and screwing up our tides, don't be ridiculous. That isn't even within our capability.

The article covers that. More importantly, it says the blast wouldn't be visible from Earth, even with a telescope, which changed my vote from "Do it!" to "never mind".

Throw Rocks (1)

DakotaSmith (937647) | about a year ago | (#42135769)

Apparently none of those jokers ever read Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It's overkill to lob nukes from the Moon. Simply throw rocks.

My fear is that, literally, he who gets to the Moon and has a permanent base first will rule the world. I suspect it'll be the Chinese or Russians.

Seriously, if somebody took up residence there and put some boosters on a few boulders, there'd be absolutely nothing those Earthbound could do about it.

Re:Throw Rocks (1)

pclminion (145572) | about a year ago | (#42136037)

How are you going to throw a big enough rock? Consider Meteor Crater in Arizona. This is a crater with diameter less than a mile -- big enough to obliterate most of the core of a city, but not region-wide destruction kind of size. The meteor required to do that was 50 meters across and made of iron, making its mass somewhere around 500 million kilograms. The escape velocity from the surface of the moon is 2.4 kilometers per second. The energy required to accelerate 500 million kilograms to 2.4 km/s is 400 gigawatt hours.

Suppose you wanted to be able to launch the rock within 30 seconds of a Russian sneak attack. That means a net power of 48 terawatts. Oh, and multiply that by the number of rocks you plan on throwing. How do you propose we produce 48 terawatts up on the Moon?

Re:Throw Rocks (1)

Spottywot (1910658) | about a year ago | (#42136339)

I'm guessing you're trolling, and it looks like you've been modded as such, but just in case you're not, Heinlen wrote that book in '66, 8 years later.

Re:Throw Rocks (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42136347)

Apparently none of those jokers ever read Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

Well, first, this effort got underway in 1957, a TMIAHM was published in 1966. So that's not surprising. Second, the plan was never implemented, so its quite possible that some of the people involved in exploring it found various reasons for rejecting it, including the ones one might infer from TMIAHM.

Not unbelievable (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year ago | (#42135783)

I'll wait for the moondust to settle on this. But how's this any worse than Einstein writing or at least signing the letter that led to the actual detonation of three bombs, including the two original weapons of mass destruction? Sagan wasn't a nuclear scientist, so he couldn't have had a direct hand in the logistics of the operation, just as Einstein wasn't involved in the design of the first nukes.

Slashback? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135785)

I recall seeing this on Slashdot before:
http://slashdot.org/story/00/05/15/1238219/us-had-plan-to-nuke-the-moon

News for Nerds, Stuff from Twelve Years Ago (5, Funny)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year ago | (#42135801)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2000/may/14/spaceexploration.theobserver [guardian.co.uk]

Slashdot editors, kill yourselves.

In Soviet Union... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42135923)

Nukes Moon You!

All because of a single mistake (1, Offtopic)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#42135925)

Apparently, the last two astronauts on the Moon went through an exchange like this: "Hey, can you help me up the ladder?", "Sure, no problem". Thus, the exchange demonstrated a system whereby those with need were met by those with ability. Sometime later an analyst at the Pentagon reviewed this. Since those were the only residents, their interactions fully characterized the political orientation of the Moon. The interaction was communist in nature, even if not explicitly Communist or otherwise stated as such. Thus, the Moon was 100% Communist and needed to be dealt with as such.

Tonight I'm Gonna Panic Like It's 1999 (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year ago | (#42135959)

Nuclear explosions? On the moon?

Were they hoping to blast it out of the earth's orbit and travel across space on it, meeting a new alien civilisation every week?

why explosions on the moon? (1)

swell (195815) | about a year ago | (#42136241)

from TFA:
"The military considerations were frightening.
The report said a nuclear detonation on the moon could yield information
"...concerning the capability of nuclear weapons for space warfare." "

Does this make sense to you? Exactly what practical information could it yield?

Explosions with that technology might not even be visible to earthlings,
nor be very destructive to the moon.

Perhaps the real reason for explosions on the moon was not written down.
I can't imagine any benefit; scientific, military or political; can you?

Not really surprising, nor Sagan's "leak" (1)

Volastic (2781511) | about a year ago | (#42136333)

A lot of classified "stuff" never made it past the paper stage.

Many that do are unfeasible, Bat incendiaries, that burned up the test area, the nuclear powered airplane that
couldn't get off the ground as the shielding made it too heavy to fly.

The problem with nukes to the moon is the same as sending nuclear waste to the Sun, it might come back.

As for Sagan revealing "this secret" isn't odd at all, as anybody who's filled out a PSQ for a civilian nuclear security
clearance (Q type) would know. If you withhold anything and it's found out what else are you hiding, type thinking.
Which I'm sure he did fill out due to the nature of this paper. A requirement (updated PSQ) of a another job he was after within the "system", he would of listed it.
.

Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42136377)

The moon has no atmosphere. Therefore, there can be no destructive blast wave from any explosion, let alone a nuclear explosion.

Maybe they were intending on some enhaced radiation weapon, aka neutron bomb, or maybe they were relying on the intense thermal effects. But any kind of blast effect from atmospheric overpresure as experienced on the earth would be impossible on the airless moon.

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