Washington harbored plans of detonating a nuclear bomb on
the moon to intimidate the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the late 1950s,the Daily Mail has reported, citing one of the scientists involved in the
Scared by the Soviet Union’s success in 1957 in launching
the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, the United States planned to
launch a missile carrying a nuclear device that would then detonate once it hit
the moon in an effort to intimidate Moscow.
The architects of the project, astronomer Carl Sagan and
physicist Leonard Reiffel – who broke his silence over the matter – planned to
use an atomic bomb rather than a hydrogen bomb because the latter might have
been too heavy for the missile.
The project, however, was never carried out due to fears
of damaging people on Earth if the mission failed and concerns about exposing
the moon to radioactive elements.