back to article America planned to NUKE THE MOON

America once hatched a plan to nuke the moon, according to a report from CNN. The broadcaster interviewed one Leonard Reiffel, a former US Air Force physicist CNN says led the project to plan a lunar nuclear launch. Cold war paranoia drove the project, Reiffel says, with the plan calling for a conventional missile to be …

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  1. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    It was also felt best not to disturb the moon's environment.

    Well there is that!

    Na fuck it, lets blow the bitch up yee-haa!

    This one's for you Paris, baby!

    1. LarsG
      Meh

      Just shows us the mentality of our friends from across the pond.

      No wonder so much shit emanates to the rest of the world from there.

      1. I like noodles
        Mushroom

        Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

        I've thought it before but I'll say it now - thank fuck we had the commies to protect us all from that lunatic redneck Uncle Sam.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

          Probably shouldn't express that sentiment anywhere east of germany, mr noodles...

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

            Wow, so far 7 people think setting a nuke off on the moon is worse than doing it on Earth.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: so far 7 people think setting a nuke off on the moon is worse than doing it on Earth

              @JDX

              I'm not so sure.

              I think 4 of them think that it's your "what's wrong with nuking the moon" that's worth a downvote, and the other 3 think that whilst there would be a lot of collatoral damage, nuking the earth would take you out and therefore be just about preferable.

        2. YARR
          FAIL

          Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

          How the commies "saved us" from Uncle Sam....

          - seized power without electoral mandate

          - sadistically tortured political opponents to death

          - forced their own citizens into slave labour camps in their millions but not admitting to it

          - confiscated grain supplies from the peasantry and took away all their farm machinery so they starved to death in their millions (in the name of Collectivisation)

          - forced their soldiers to advance or take a bullet in the back of the head (the Nazis never treated their troops this way), then encouraging mass rape of the women in occupied lands

          - building walls and border fences to prevent people escaping rather than invading

          - imprisoned the head of their rocket programme for political reasons (countless other less fortunate high profile persons were executed)

          - building more nukes and subs than NATO

          - building ever more powerful nukes while the US made their Minutemans smaller with improved targeting

          - installing puppet governments in surrounding nations

          - covertly supported communist takeovers in developing nations across the globe, again involving numerous executions and disappearances of political opponents

          - infiltrating the West and using subversion to brainwash a generation of academics, students and the future educators and political class into self-hating, unpatriotic commie-loving traitors.

          But you're right, nuking the moon would just have been a step too far!!!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

            @YARR: Remove the star-spangled blinkers. The US is equally guilty of a good lot of those sins and plenty others besides.

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

              AC, I don't know if you're an idiot or just poorly educated. I'll assume the latter.

              1. Local G
                Trollface

                Re: mentality of our friends from across the pond.

                Thinking that the Russians wouldn't immediately begin their own program of Moon Missile Bases. Followed by skirmishes during construction of the two enemy instillations. The Yanks and Russians fighting astride giant moonworms and dewbacks. And finally the grim realization in Washington that their missiles needed wings and pilots to guide them, lest they accidentally hit London or Paris, while the Russians even then were practicing to drop space capsules on a ten kopeck piece.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        What exactly is wrong with nuking the moon? It makes more sense than setting it off on Earth, which is what we actually did.

        Although, would a nuke work as well with no atmosphere... you need matter to create a shock wave.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Chemist
            Headmaster

            Re: Nukes in SPAAAAAAACEEEEEE!!!!1!one!!

            "Without an atmosphere there is no effective blast wave nor thermal radiation"

            No thermal radiation ? - better tell the sun

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. An(other) Droid
          Mushroom

          No atmosphere on the Moon...

          Yeah, what use is the big bang if you dont get a mushroom cloud?

          Icon shows how it must look like or it did not happen.

  2. Esskay
    WTF?

    The moon's environment?!

    I would have thought a massive rocket moving in a not-so-dissimilar-to-an-ICBM trajectory would cause somewhat unwanted disturbance to the political environment here on earth too...

  3. Mondo the Magnificent
    Coat

    So...

    .....what did the Clangers ever do to piss the Americans off?

    1. P. Lee
      Coat

      Re: So...

      Clangers? I think they're still hunting Nazis.

      1. sabba
        Holmes

        Re: So...

        Highly unlikely I think most of 'em have been in the employ of the good old US since 1945 or shortly after.

        1. EddieD

          Re: So...

          To quote Mr Lehrer....

          Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown

          "Ha, Nazi schmazi," says Wernher von Braun

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Light up the dark side

    I can imagine some dumb general chomping on his cigar, enthusing: "We'll light up the dark side - then those damn commies will be able to see who's the boss."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Obviously, the DoD foresaw "Space 1999"

    We have to wait until we have a moonbase up there, and then we nuke the Moon!!!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Obviously, the DoD foresaw "Space 1999"

      Obviously they should have continued with the development programme so we would have had Eagles by now.

  6. edge_e
    WTF?

    I find it deeply disturbing

    That anyone would think this was a good idea

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I find it deeply disturbing

      But blowing up islands and deserts and populated Japanese cities is?

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: I find it deeply disturbing

        I think we agree that blowing up islands and deserts and populated Japanese cities is NOT generally considered to be a good idea; it's a bit of an oxymoron to conclude from this that blowing up bits of the moon therefore IS a good idea.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: I find it deeply disturbing

          But if you're GOING to test the tech can't we agree the moon is a better target than part of our own planet?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I find it deeply disturbing

            Can you grasp that neither is a good idea? Or are you too worried about bodily fluids?

          2. Tom 13

            Re: if you're GOING to test the tech

            Depends on exactly what you are trying to test. The moon would yield lousy data on shockwave and other data. And it's remoteness actually makes gathering data rather more difficult.

            On the other hand, if you have the tech to hit a specific spot on the moon and guarantee detonation, and you time it to go off when the moon is up over Moscow and making a very bright light that everyone can see, there is a certain fear and awe affect. This affect is particularly persuasive with the sort of atheist megalomaniacs who chatter endlessly about what kind of baby killing neanderthals Americans are when they are the real killer on the planet and fear nothing more than their own deaths.

            Still I do prefer Reagan's solution on crushing them economically.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: @Loyal Commenter: I find it deeply disturbing

          oxymoron

          I think the word, or rather expression, you're looking for is "non-sequitur" (Latin for "it doesn't follow")

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Code Monkey
        Angel

        Re: I find it deeply disturbing

        How about we agree to not blow anything up m'kay?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I find it deeply disturbing

          "How about we agree to not blow anything up m'kay?"

          For some nutters there's a disturbed sort of creativity in destruction!

    3. Androgynous Crackwhore
      Mushroom

      Re: I find it deeply disturbing

      >That anyone would think this was a good idea

      Hmmmm... let me think....

      I've got this enormous and unimaginably toxic nuclear device and I want to see if I can make it explode. Should I:

      a) Drill a very deep hole into the bedrock of some uninhabited backwater of my own country, carefully lower my lethal contraption down the hole, plug the hole, then see if I can make it go bang.

      OR

      b) Pile said pile upon an even more enormous conventional bomb with a small hole at the bottom, light the fuse and run away.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look at it this way...

    It would be an interesting way to see the effects of a blast "first hand" with little danger. Lord knows that every little kid likes to blow things up anyway. And as for "disturbing the moon's environment", all I can say is that there isn't much of one there, just dust. Science might even discover something a bit below the surface, water for instance?

    1. andy 45
      Thumb Down

      Re: Look at it this way...

      With little danger?

      Does anyone know what destroying the moon will do?

      Isn't it responsible for the sea's tides? I think the earth would go through some serious changes if the moon was destroyed.

      Besides, if we accidentally killed all the aliens living inside the moon the mothership is gonna be mighty peed off...

      1. peyton?

        Re: Look at it this way...

        Erm... nuking the moon is not the same as blowing up the moon. As other posts point out, the Earth has been nuked several times, to relatively* little effect.

        Not saying I approve of nuking anything, terrestrial or otherwise, mind you.

        *cf volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Johan Bastiaansen
      Thumb Up

      Re: Look at it this way...

      Or cheese.

  8. Steve Brooks

    "I can imagine some dumb general chomping on his cigar, enthusing: "We'll light up the dark side - then those damn commies will be able to see who's the boss."

    Perfectly reasonable statement, you do realise that once a month the dark side of the moon is facing the earth? (for any particular spot on the earth I mean). I am sure you are confusing the Far Side of the moon with the incorrectly named "Dark Side of the Moon" musical album by...um..musicians, not astronomers. Fair enough for them to make a mistake, being filthy rich musicians they probably know naff all about anything else, although I won't swear on that since I have never met any of them, but a reader on a tech site? Come now!

    1. DJ Smiley
      Devil

      Made me giggle considering Brian May has a PhD in astrophysics.

    2. GettinSadda

      You mean the one containing the words "There is no dark side of the moon"

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Coat

        "as a matter of fact, it's all dark"

        Mine's the one with the light splitting prism in the pocket, thanks

    3. Dave Mundt

      "Dark Side Of The Moon"???

      Hum.....I suppose that is "correct" depending on what you call "the dark side of the moon". Just to be slightly pedantic, the moon is tidally locked the the Earth, so, the same face points at us all the time (ignoring the fact that precession and such does add about 1.6% to the total visible amount). It is the Moon, going from the same side of the Earth as the Sun, to the opposite side to the Sun that causes the changes in the illuminated amount of the Moon's surface.

      So...the only way to create a flash visible to the USSR would have been to time it so the missile hit as the new Moon was setting, and, making sure that a general broadcast through VOA alerted the population to the event. Frankly, though, it would not be worth the cost and effort, as the biggest bombs available would have had less energy than quite a few of the meteors that continually pound the Lunar surface. Much more effective to blow up an island, film the event, and broadcast it all over the places

      pleasant dreams

      dave mundt

    4. illiad

      um...

      the dark side of the moon is always there, whether it is visible or not.... Y'know when you see the moon, and it is crescent shaped??? the part that is not lighted/ visible, is .... guess what???? lol

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: um...

        Y'know when you see the moon, and it is crescent shaped??? the part that is not lighted/ visible, is .... guess what????

        When the moon is less than full, the earth-facing part that is not lit is visible, even to the naked eye once sufficiently dark-adapted.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Note on Sagan

    I've always found him to be a bit schizophrenic in his reasoning.

    Especially his argument about atheists being unable to prove god exists due to the lack of evidence has somehow always rubbed me the wrong way. But maybe he was just trying to be funny.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Note on Sagan

      Well, I screwed that one up didn't I ? It should've read 'unable to prove god DOESN'T exist'. I still don't like the argument though. Demanding proof of negatives is very unscientific.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. johnck

        Re: Note on Sagan

        Demanding proof of negatives is actually very scientific, follow this thought experiment if you will.

        I can prove the oxygen is toxic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_toxicity) and if you believe that you don’t have to prove negatives (in this case oxygen isn’t toxic) ,then you must agree that you would be better off living in an environment free of oxygen, as its toxic.

        This is one of the things that annoys me about Richard Dawkins and his religion of god doesn’t exist, yes I called it a religion. If you believe god(s) exist good for you, if you believe gods(s) don’t exist good for you too. However, from a purely scientific point of view neither hypothesis, the existence or non-existence of god(s), can be proved so both are matters of personal choice, faith, or religion if you like.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Note on Sagan

          You seem to be somewhat confused, and you are ignoring the logic of reasoning.

          1. From a philosophical standpoint, believing does not enter into the equasion. My comment is about proof.

          2. From a scientific standpoint, you believe someting to be the case, you can go about proving it.

          In your case of oxygen, proving or disproving oxygen is toxic is proof in both cases. What Sagan seems to be postulating (from what I read about the man, I never met him) is that absence of proof of non-existance is proof of existance. This is pertinently untrue.

          Again, this is not a matter of belief. It is cold hard logic. In the case of the existance of god, the fact that there is no(t yet) a unyfying theory of evolution in it's broadest sense does not equal proof of the existance of a deity.

          I am sorry I can not make this clearer to you in a forum post, and I wil therefor shut up about the matter.

          You may, of course, believe what you like.

        2. Dan Mullen
          FAIL

          Re: Note on Sagan

          Er, what? From a purely scientific point of view, there is no evidence whatsoever that points to the existence of any god or gods, therefore it is illogical to believe in any. If you choose to believe in any, that is your personal choice and is a matter of your faith, but it's not science. NOT believing in something for which there is ZERO evidence IS the scientific way. Doh!

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: Note on Sagan

            Nah, nah, you're all wrong. The existence, or lack thereof, of any god is a non-testable hypothesis. There is no means of falsification, hence no theoretical basis by which the existence of a deity can be tested. There can never be "scientific proof" of the existence of god, or the lack, or even the possibility of a quantum superposition of states of God, because the very concept of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being is not falsifiable.

            So to say that science can't prove God doesn't exist is correct. The scientific method can't be applied the idea, therefore it lies outside the realm of science, and any opinion on the subject is a matter of faith. Any opinion. Not just the ones that you don't like.

            Same with m-theory and whole bunch of other stuff that gets waved around as "science" when it's just so much handwaving and fancy hypothetical models. Can't be tested, not falsifiable, ergo not science. Might as well claim the universe looks pink on the outside.

            1. Ian Yates
              Angel

              Re: Note on Sagan

              Surely, the important point is that if it has proven to be impossible to record/measure such supposedly major effects (i.e., curing cancer) of something that appears to be undetectable, does it even matter?

              Lump it in with psychics and homeopathy.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: Oxygen

          Your example shows all the signs of an immature and uneducated mind. The very basis of science is that the premise must be falsifiable, and that eventually all premises are proven false. See Popper, even the Wikipedia links will do for a quick orientation.

          The question of the existence or non-existence of God is inherently non-falsifiable and therefore untestable by science. It is not unscientific, it is meta-scientific if you will, which was the original meaning of metaphysics. And metaphysics provides the logical underpinnings of science.

        4. Vic

          Re: Note on Sagan

          > I can prove the oxygen is toxic

          No you can't.

          You can prove that oxygen causes several toxic reactions in mammals under certain conditions. That's very far from what you stated.

          Vic.

      3. illiad

        Re: Note on Sagan

        huh, if god does exist, he is a very evil, totally ignorant one... just think of all the very good spiritual people that die in awful ways...

        Just remeber a good quote " anything sufficiently advanced, looks like the work of god, to a primitive society" especially if they do not know any truth about how the human body works...

        My answer is, that god *may* have existed, but saw how stupid and evil people got, ignoring and totally changing his teaching, to just make money out of peoples suffering, etc, that he gave up on his 'project', and went away to another place, just leaving the mess behind....:(

    2. JimmyPage

      Re: Note on Sagan

      From what I remember of Carl Sagans comments on religion was the great quote:

      "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"

      which is kinda cool.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Note on Sagan

        Speaking of Carl Sagan...

        he was one of the investigators on Project A119.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_A119

        Not sure why this is news, it was declassified more than 10 years ago.

      2. moonface

        Re: Note on Sagan

        Our hemitic God is scientifically advanced to veil his existance from us. The sneaky bugger!

        Unfortunately for him, he can't just hide behind a cloud, like he scripturally did, in the old days.

  10. Grikath
    Meh

    ummmm...

    unless I'm very much mistaken, even a fully untampered Czar bomb would amount to very little on the moon, even if they sat it right on the surface. Something about vacuum not propagating a shockwave very well.

    It'd make a nice little crater, and that'd be about it.

    1. Chemist
      Joke

      Re: ummmm...

      "It'd make a nice little crater, and that'd be about it"

      So it has been done before and many times !

      Mad fools - they probably thought "Dr Strangelove" was a documentary.

    2. gisabsr

      Re: ummmm...

      Well, if they sat it on the surface there might be a decent bit of shockwave transmission. And glass. Pretty, pretty, glow in the dark glass.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: ummmm...

      Actually setting one off on the moon could have some pretty dramatic affects on the Earth. The atmosphere on the Earth provides a lot of material for interaction with the radiation, so it get absorbed into particles instead of propagating endlessly. On the surface of the moon there's nothing to absorb it, so it continues until it encounters something it can interact with. Since the blast would necessarily be directed toward Earth the most likely thing the blast would interact with is the van Allen belts. I believe the current thinking on that is it that at a minimum it will mess up radio and satellite communications for everybody on the planet for at least weeks. Potential affects of disrupting it on weather patterns: unknown, but given that at least a portion of the protective belt would be disabled it seems reasonable to assume it will have SOME affect. Likewise for certain types of cancer. Ozone would likely be depleted as charged solar particles would be likely to interact with it instead of being caught up in the belts. And on, and on, and on.

      The sole potentially positive affect is the intimidation of your enemies. It is the last warning shot before all out nuclear war.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm glad they decided to nuke the Earth instead.

  12. APatriot1

    Not as crazy as what they DID do

    Operation Fishbowl was worse. It detonated nukes in the upper atmosphere. Not once, but FIVE times http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Fishbowl

    Can anybody say Jet Stream?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a scoop!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_A119

    1. Michael Dunn
      Joke

      Re: What a scoop!

      Ah ha! So this is how that B52 bomber got onto the moon!

  14. Velv
    Coat

    That's no moon!

  15. jonathan keith
    Mushroom

    Nuke the moon... from orbit?

    After all, it's the only way to be sure.

    1. Simon Harris

      Re: Nuke the moon... from orbit?

      Damn you, jonathan keith, I was about to do that joke!

      (... but +1 upvote for getting there first!)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do that and Mental will MOON YOU!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "CHA"...

    1. Poor Coco
      Megaphone

      “SPOON!!!!!!”

  18. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Typical school bully

    only ever attacks someone they don't think will fight back.

    Fuckwits!

  19. mark 63 Silver badge
    Go

    well used phrase

    Its amazing how many entirely separate things come up if you google "shoot the moon" , I was thinking of Cheech & Chong , which didnt !

  20. jon 72
    Alien

    I for one am glad they did not disturb our alien overlords

    The post is required, and must contain letters.

  21. Aoyagi Aichou
    Megaphone

    Well, they could send nukes to the moon periodically to make sort of a beacon for aliens. HERRE WE ARRR.

  22. the-it-slayer
    Pint

    Scary crap from the states... NOT surprised

    I'm glad I'm not part of that era where insecure human beings had to intimidate other insecure human beings just to get a foot-hold on the world. And the moon; well, it's magic as they say and looks freakin' awesome when close to the early on full moon. Glad they didn't blow it up. Peace. And beer because it's Friday for me today.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Scary crap from the states... NOT surprised

      >>I'm glad I'm not part of that era where insecure human beings had to intimidate other insecure human beings just to get a foot-hold on the world

      You're not? Sounds like a typical school or internet forum.

  23. Mako

    This is the sort of lunacy that was probably thought up by some jingoistic psychopath as he sat on his mother's severed and mummified head, masturbating with a fistful of his own faeces and giggling at a lampshade.

    You would hope that at some point down the line, someone looked up from their slide rule and notebooks and went, "Wait - what? Why are we even...? This is completely insane. Im going out for a beer."

  24. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    Had they put the nukes on the Moon can you imagine the panic when Carter lost the key for the launch codes.

  25. RainForestGuppy

    To quote the Galaxy Song

    .. and pray to god there's intelligent life out there

    because there's bugger all down here on Earth

  26. Ross K
    Mushroom

    They Didn't Want To Disturb The Moon's Environment...

    ...but they didn't give a fuck about disturbing the environment down here on earth?

    Dickheads.

  27. Dave 32
    Coat

    NEMP

    I wonder what kind of a NEMP that would have caused on Earth? Might have been, umm, interesting. After all, Starfish Prime did cause a bit of a blip in the power grid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

    Oh, and there's a reason that one was called "prime"; because the original Starfish failed due to a rocket failure. Whoopsie! Of course, the Starfish test wasn't nearly as bad as the Bluegill test, which required four tries before it worked (Bluegill, Bluegill Prime, Bluegill Double Prime, and Bluegill Triple Prime!):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Fishbowl#Bluegill

    Ok, so what if there's a bit of Plutonium contamination of on Johnston Island? At least it's fate was better than that of Elugelab Island, which was an island in the Enewetak Atoll:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elugelab

    Better there than in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Mississippi, Alaska, err, umm, oh wait...

    Dave

    P.S. Mine's the one with the Iodine tablets in the pocket.

  28. Johan Bastiaansen
    Mushroom

    What you guys don't realise

    Back in the early days of atomic bombs (they were called nuclear weapons much later), little was know fall-out, radiation and their long term side effects. Atomic bombs were just seen as a tool that could big holes. Plans were made to make (Panama class) canals using atomic boms. To build instant harbors. To move riverbeds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceful_nuclear_explosions

    and for a blast from the past: http://books.google.be/books?id=ZC0DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false

    1. Tom 13

      Re: What you guys don't realise

      The bad effects of radiation were understood before they detonated the first test bomb. Marie Curie was dead from radiation poisoning well before work on the bomb was started. And I believe they did have at least one accident that killed researchers working on the first abomb before it was detonated. It might not have been as well understood as it is today, but it was understood to be an effect. The pipe dreams you listed were pretty much that: pipe dreams from people who either didn't know what they were talking about or deliberately chose to ignore the affects.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: What you guys don't realise

        at least one accident that killed researchers working on the first abomb before it was detonated

        Not sure about the 'before', but in 1945 Harry Daghlian and in 1946 Louis Slotin died of radiation poisoning after criticality incidents at Los Alamos; Slotin definitely did know what it was that was going to kill him after his radiation exposure.

  29. JohnStead2012

    What makes America has the right to do.

    It's everybody's moon.

    I certainly vote NO

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