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Project A119: The U.S. Plan To Blow Up The Moon

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Now it can be told: during the frigid depths of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War the United States military, working with Carl Sagan and led by eminent nuclear physicist Leonard Reiffel, planned the execution of an incredible schemeto blow up part of the Moon with a thermonuclear rocket bomb.

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Project A119: “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”

Famous novelist Mark Twain once observed that “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Once again Twain’s assertion is proven correct. Nearly 60 years ago the U.S. military and federal government working with hand-picked scientists embarked on a project designed to vaporize part of the Moon and terrorize the leaders of the U.S.S.R.

A young Carl Sagan acted as Project A119′s ‘brains’

The audacious (and exceedingly risky) plan involved launching a powerful nuclear bomb to the Moon. After traveling for days and crossing nearly a quarter million miles, the atomic device would have exploded upon impact creating an intense flash and a glowing crater that would have been visible to everyone on Earth for daysincluding the Russian military.

Brilliant scientist Leonard Reiffel led the Project

Team members planning the incredible goal made the decision to use a specially built, ramped up atom bomb for the blast. Because of engineering and lift capability, they realized the bigger and heavier hydrogen bomb would be impracticable.

Leonard Reiffel, the leader of the operation, told the AP in a 2000 interview that the idea was to intimidate the Soviet leaders and boost the confidence of the media and citizens after the shock that the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, had on the American psyche.

Cold War madness: nuking the Moon

Plan abandoned because of fears

Speaking about Project A119, “Reiffel said the nation’s young space program probably could have carried out the mission by 1959, when the Air Force deployed inter-continental ballistic missiles,” reports the Daily Mail. “Military officials apparently abandoned the idea because of the danger to people on Earth in case the mission failed.”

Reiffel also mentioned the scientific team raised valid concerns about the uncontrollable dangers such a detonation on the Lunar surface could create. Among the negative scenarios that caused project members hand-wringing were: the possibility of a rocket failure causing atomic detonation on Earth; debris flung from the Moon that might fall to Earth causing catastrophic damage to cities or regions of continents; the possibility of long-lasting radioactive contamination of the Moon.

Carl Sagan died in 1996, but Reiffel, now 85, is alive and talking. The physicist says the plan was hatched at the former Armour Research Foundation that’s now incorporated into the Illinois Institute of Technology. After leaving the project he was later appointed a deputy director at the American space agency, NASA.

The Daily Mail reports the Associated Press sought a comment from The U.S. Air Force about Project A119, but received only a terse “No Comment.”

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    Total 16 comments
    • Banderman

      Proof positive; these people have been and are NUTS.

      • avatarowolf

        When the world was on the brink of blowing itself up, anything else sounded like a good idea. If there were no negative efiiects it probably would have worked in scaring the hell out of the soviets.

    • Ozzie_Thinker

      With “brains” like these, who needs idiots!

    • Mayhem

      There’s a great clip somewhere showing all of this civilizations nuclear tests, ever, in a time lapse.

      What an eye opener, all the toing and froing was almost laughable if it wasn’t actually nukes.

      The result of such an experiment, like nuking the moon, would be approximately zilch in the long term thankfully.

    • Anonymous

      What are they trying to accomplish by that?
      On the last moon mission there was a clear Message from Aliens given to the Astronauts, not to return to the Moon.
      Maybe that was B.S., but have you seen the U.S.A. ever try to return?
      You contaminate their bases they will not think twice to do the same thing to us.
      Then you will have war of the worlds brought to you by some of your brain dead elected Officials.

    • watertiger

      They would not be allowed , the EBE’s that are on the Moon would block any attempt and blowing up the Moon , this is exactly why they wanted to blow it up………could not happen even if they tried to….they all nuts!

    • monica4268

      Well i just think that the cover story which was intended to intimidate the Russians is crap, I think they were going to blow up the moon because of the civilization who occupied it then as they do now. Those sending up the bomb knew it would never have been allowed to detonate, it would have been destroyed before reaching the luna surface. The more likely scenario for sending up a bomb is because they knew who is on there and was looking for confrontation, or for the exchange of technology.

    • Mayhem

      Come on. Blow up the moon? We don’t have enough nukes. Who do we think we are?

      Send all the nukes you want the end result, over time, will be approximately nothing.

      • Anonymous

        We have more than enough Nukes to blow the earth into smitherines,and the Earth is a lot bigger than the Moon.Besides there is no atmosphere.

    • Anonymous

      They didn’t want to blow up the moon. They just wanted to pop a big one off to show the world how tough we are fighting against an unarmed planet. Glad they decided not to do it.

    • MR SHOW

      We walked on it, did a push up on it, ate an egg on it, what else can you do with it? I hope they do it during a full moon so we get it all.

    • Anonymous

      Well how many would that have killed? Could have breached the hull and killed them all!

    • platinum321

      Yes the folks running the military industrial complex have been and still are psychopaths.

    • Anonymous

      The moon controls the tides on earth. How stupid could you be as to want to blow up the
      moon?????? Some people are so smart they are imbiciles when it comes to common sense. :roll:

    • kigginit

      Actually, this wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s fake and doesn’t need to be there.

    • Mo2Do

      It would melt if you hit it with a nuclear blast….everyone knows it’s made of cheese.

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