November 28th, 2012
07:06 PM ET

U.S. had plans to nuke the moon

By Brian Todd and Dugald McConnell

You could easily skip by it in an archive search: a project titled "A Study of Lunar Research Flights." Its nickname is even more low-brow: "Project A-119."

But the reality was much more explosive.

It was a top-secret plan, developed by the U.S. Air Force, to look at the possibility of detonating a nuclear device on the moon.

It was hatched in 1958 - a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a nuclear arms race that would last decades and drive the two superpowers to the verge of nuclear war. The Soviets had also just launched Sputnik 1, the world's first satellite. The U.S. was falling behind in the space race, and needed a big splash.

"People were worried very much by (first human in space Soviet cosmonaut Yuri) Gagarin and Sputnik and the very great accomplishments of the Soviet Union in those days, and in comparison, the United States was feared to be looking puny. So this was a concept to sort of reassure people that the United States could maintain a mutually-assured deterrence, and therefore avoid any huge conflagration on the Earth," said physicist Leonard Reiffel, who led the project.

Reiffel, now 85, spoke to CNN at his home in Chicago. A 1959 report Reiffel wrote on the project, declassified many years ago, was obtained online by CNN.

According to Reiffel's report, "The motivation for such a detonation is clearly threefold: scientific, military and political."

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." Reiffel said that in military circles at the time, there was "discussion of the moon as military high ground."

That included talk of having nuclear launch sites on the moon, he said. The thinking, according to Reiffel, was that if the Soviets hit the United States with nuclear weapons first and wiped out the U.S. ability to strike back, the U.S. could launch warheads from the moon.

"These are horrendous concepts," Reiffel said, "and they are hopefully going to remain in the realm of science fiction for the rest of eternity."

The basic plan, Reiffel explained, was for an intercontinental ballistic missile to be launched from an undisclosed location, travel some 240,000 miles to the moon, and detonate on impact. Various news reports since 1958 have said project leaders considered using an atom bomb the same size as "Little Boy," the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, near the end of World War II.

Reiffel, who was cited for that information in those reports, now says he wasn't in on those discussions.

Contrary to some reports, Reiffel told CNN, the device would not have "blown up" the moon. "Absolutely not. It would have been microscopic, so to speak. It would have been, I think, essentially invisible from the Earth, even with a good telescope."

Reiffel had some brilliant minds on his team. One of them was an up-and-coming graduate student named Carl Sagan. Sagan went on to become one of the world's most renowned astronomers, creating the book and popular TV series "Cosmos."

But after working on the moon program, Reiffel said, Sagan violated security when he mentioned the still-classified project on a job application. "He did formally break the classification status of the project", Reiffel said of Sagan, who subsequently died in 1996.

Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, told CNN she's not sure if Sagan ever broke the classification, but if he did, she said, it wasn't intentional. "I can't imagine he would have done that knowingly," Druyan said.

By 1959, Project A-119 was drawing more concern than excitement.

"We didn't want to clutter up the natural radioactivities of the moon with additional bits of radioactivity from the Earth," Reiffel said. The project was abandoned.

Project planners also weren't sure of the reliability of the weapons, and feared the public backlash in the U.S. would be significant," Reiffel said.

"It disappeared in the files of the Pentagon", he said of the project. "They come up with what I believe was the right answer."

Contacted by CNN, the Air Force would not comment on Project A-119.


Filed under: Security Brief
soundoff (1,038 Responses)
  1. Nope

    IIf you think this is crazy, wait until you hear how many nuke power plants Obama wants to build.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
    • PeriSoft

      Oh, do tell! How many is it? Have you spoken with him lately, or was there some news item I missed about Obama suddenly adopting a position which would be political poison, for no reason whatsoever?

      At any rate, since the left seems to be much more opposed to nuclear power than the right, why bother accusing Obama of taking that position to begin with?

      I eagerly await your response.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Kevin

      I'd love for Obama to start pushing Nuclear power. That's exactly the kind of large-scale infrastructure project that this country could use to make jobs NOW and take a huge step away from fossil fuels in the future.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  2. Joncook

    Back then they didn't have guidance systems for warheads that could have redirected the bombs enough. If they had to launch one from the farthest side of the moon, it could have gone anywhere. That's scary.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  3. OffTheWorldPolitics

    Does not sound unreasonable considering a possible Soviet installation.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  4. MCP123

    ...because according to republicans and Karl Rove the inhabitants of the moon possess extensive WMD capabilities and are currently producing new stockpiles. Karl and his crew verified this by an advanced spy program called "making stuff up".

    November 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
    • Consultofactus

      does your psyche ward nurse know that you are using her computer again?

      November 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • dc

      That's not a good look for you – the one with your head up your buttttt...

      November 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      That's it! That is where those sneaky Iraqis hid all their WMDs!

      November 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  5. Nomad Jones

    This is news? Really? This has been publicly known since 2000.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  6. Jim

    Don't forget about the 900+ nuclear weapons the United Stated detonated on EARTH.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Reply
    • dustymack

      This is why we need to cut DOD spending in half! If they got enough money to spare a nuke to throw at the moon than they can afford a cut. Plus, I know of a huge U.S debt that needs to be paid. I would like to meet the "beautiful mind" that came up with this idea in the first place! We need to put that person out of a job...

      November 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply
      • barfly

        ike warned us about guys like reagan

        November 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Fatilon

      wake up America, not be too silly, it is sham.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      ummm....missed the 50+ years ago part of the story?

      November 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  7. wp8

    For God sake why can't they just nuke themselves!

    November 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      It's always fun to see someone hating America, while on an American news site and completely dependent on technologies developed by America. You're a fool.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:07 am | Reply
  8. J McDonald

    Sounds like a bad idea, chief. signed Maxwell

    November 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  9. adrifter

    It's April 1 already?

    November 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  10. Lindsey Lohan

    If I went to the moon and got all blasted while driving the moonrover could I still get a DUI?

    November 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • thomas

      She said blasted.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Reply
    • Rich

      Why not.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  11. PassiveAggressive

    Ok America,
    now are you ready to admit YOUR the crazy one?

    November 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      We are insane like most other nations. We just have our own unique flavors.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • Consultofactus

      OK PassiveAggressive but only if you admit that you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're"....

      November 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
      • SchoolTeachVA

        They're are many people who believe there own grammer is correct. Their should knot bee grammer Natsis like youreshelf running rampent amok in comment secsion. I am a school teahcer in english. You sir, are, very; wrong. Good knight sir!

        November 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Clyde M

      I don't know. I think it shows our overwhelming restraint and benevolence. After all, how many other nations planned to blow up the moon, only to find the strength of will to refrain from doing so? Maybe Latveria? Other than that, though, only the USA has come up with a plan to nuke the moon and then seen the wisdom of not doing it.

      U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

      November 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  12. Alex Falcon, CO

    They were aiming for the decipticon!

    November 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • pa sayitstraight

      i'm glad to know this. it feels so much better to know that real priorities were considered in the good old days, as opposed to now when all people want to talk about is taking care of the homeless and feed the poor and educate children. what a waste of time when we could be nuking the moon. of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, the republicans are going to say, Yeah, and Obama doesn't even want to nuke the moon! That's because his birth certificate is fake and he was born on the moon and still has relatives there. Gosh. Compared to these GOP fanatics and evangelical reactionaries, nuking the moon is beginning to sound good. I'm going into the T shirt business with the slogan. Just wait and see. And you bad nasty ruskies, watch out. We're going to make a good old american splash! It's called the trickle down nuke the moon theory, where the haves take out their hand held weapons and trickle down on the rest of us. But, heck, gosh, gee, it's the good OLD american way.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Reply
      • Job Creator

        At least you understand that other concepts, besides those you believe in, are credible.

        Or you just spewed a bunch of BS democratic talking points.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Don't even get me started on the sheer scientific stupidity of that movie... I only watched it because it was free on streaming and couldn't get more than about 15 minutes in before I wanted to claw my eyeballs out–most of it from the terrible, terrible science that most 6th graders would call out as being off.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
  13. Consultofactus

    "Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
    Removes the colors from our sight
    Red is grey and yellow white
    So a nuclear fuse we will light"

    November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  14. jvance

    It was a weird time to be a kid. I was pretty excited when my dad thought about installing a fall-out shelter in the back yard. He never did but I still have the schematic plans he got from the Civil Defense office.
    Admittedly, we were just past 2 wars (WW2 and Korea) but there was an air of blase' acceptance that a commie H-bomb could come crashing down at any time. I grew up about 15 miles from Ft Knox and the neighborhood boys were proud to think that the gold vault would surely be an important target. Very odd to imagine now.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
    • Consultofactus

      Goldfinger didn't think so, did he?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
      • jvance

        Since you brought it up, they shot a few 2nd unit scenes for that movie around the area and in unrestricted parts of the base. No movie stars or anything but pretty exciting stuff for a Kentucky boy, and lot less destructive than a nuke.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • dentate

      Yep, I remember the "duck and cover" drills at school. As though your desk would protect you from nuclear incineration.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply
      • jvance

        I guess they felt obligated to do something. Did you live in one of the little towns where they ran the air raid siren at 12 noon every day? My dog absolutely hated that.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
      • Joesandra

        Ummm... I think you mean the four "D's": duck, dodge, dip...and.....dodge... well whatever, you're still wrong

        November 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
      • Clyde M

        Hey, it had a cartoon duck (sometimes turtle?) mascot and if it didn't really work would they really have gone through all that trouble to brand it with a cartoon?

        November 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Mark_in_FL

      I'm "slightly" younger than that and still find it surreal to think back to growing up mentally prepared for instant incineration with little to no notice. And that was the preferred option when discussing it with friends. Who would want to survive (for however long) an all out nuke fest. And people wonder why we were the "me" generation. Live for the day seemed reasonable then.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Reply
      • jvance

        It's been a long time but as kids I think we had it in mind that we'd be just fine. We'd climb out of the basement, dad would make us clean up the yard, mom would put together some sandwiches and we'd get a break from school for a few days.
        My parents never actually talked about it and the PSAs on TV about fall-out and atomic attacks were tripe. There's a hilarious docu-movie called "Atomic Cafe", if you haven't seen it will really leave you shaking your head but there's some good laughs. Ignorance truly can be bliss.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
      • Mark_in_FL

        Yeah, I grew up slightly later when the population had pretty much accepted that a nuclear war was pretty much a one-way ticket to extermination. We read "Alas Babylon" and knew it was far too optimistic.

        November 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  15. pa sayitstraight

    i'm glad to know this. it feels so much better to know that real priorities were considered in the good old days, as opposed to now when all people want to talk about is taking care of the homeless and feed the poor and educate children. what a waste of time when we could be nuking the moon. of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, the republicans are going to say, Yeah, and Obama doesn't even want to nuke the moon! That's because his birth certificate is fake and he was born on the moon and still has relatives there. Gosh. Compared to these GOP fanatics and evangelical reactionaries, nuking the moon is beginning to sound good. I'm going into the T shirt business with the slogan. Just wait and see. And you bad nasty ruskies, watch out. We're going to make a good old american splash! It's called the trickle down nuke the moon theory, where the haves take out their hand held weapons and trickle down on the rest of us. But, heck, gosh, gee, it's the good OLD american way.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  16. Allen

    Some people at work are just full of hate. Others are nice.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  17. Yeah they R

    THIS ! I cannot believe.
    But then again, Americans involved, no limit to stupidity!

    November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • Consultofactus

      Hey we elected Obama twice! Talk about stupidity!

      November 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
      • George Bin Laden

        No! YOU voted for Obama twice.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
      • Brilliant

        Go with the flow mitt was a much better option

        November 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Mark_in_FL

      We also let the most ignorant segment of our population take control of the once great Republican party. How stupid was THAT?

      November 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  18. JeffinIL

    When the moon hits your eye
    Like a big pizza pie,
    Let's a nuke it

    November 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • chris

      by far, the funniest thing i've ever read on the internet.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  19. Bobbo

    I always wanted to blow up the moon, before a real bad guy... like from a Bond movie does it first.
    That way I'll at least leave a legacy. Being the guy who blew up the moon.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • heyartaud

      You wouldn't have a legacy because blowing up the moon would throw us off orbit and we'd all be dead.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  20. Alan Page

    Probably there was this plan...but after Ike was warned by the "Visitors" that we were not alone and to stop "f...ing" around he gave up the idea. This plan looked even more stupid after life was confirmed on the Moon, with pictures, carefully blurred and manipulated by NASA showed "structures " and "funny objects". This facts where even more confirmed when Jim Lovell at the Apollo VIII came back with the following code sentence ""Please be informed, there is a Santa Claus" after going around the Moon to explain that the dark side is populated. This wall of secrets is collapsing...Disclosure Now.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      Turns out Santa is Russian according to the carefully placed secret message in a recent "children's" movie I saw. Makes you kinda wonder, huh?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  21. Emigdio Alvarez

    Hoaxers: the only thing more infuriating than Truthers.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  22. bfdgdfgdfbdf

    Is this a slow day? Does the writers just Google anything and write a story? This is OLD news, and was REPORTED in May 4 2000 by Leonard Reiffel who was with Exelar Corporation at the time and at the time of the story, it was classified. Just google the darn thing....

    November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  23. Chris

    And still the moon stares at me through my window. Oh how I swear to one day wipe that stupid grin off your face.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  24. Phil

    Two weeks ago,talk of Government plans to "nuke the moon" would have been trivialized as a "conspiracy theory". But since mainstream media now reports on it, it is considered valid news. How many other "conspiracy theories" are actually truths? By the way, do you know who the first person was to use the term "conspiracy theory"? It was none other than Adolf Hitler who would say "Do not believe wild conspiracy theories that say us Nazis are killing Jews in concentration camps". And we all know how that turned out, right? Wake up, people!.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      *yawn* *stretch* ... *snore*

      November 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
      • Phil

        People like Mark in Fla allowed the Nazis to rise to power. They are the ruination of a country, USA is the next tyranny.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
      • Mark_in_FL

        Shhhh.... It's getting late and you forgot to take your meds.....

        November 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  25. quackmire

    the u.s goverment knows that there is some sort intelligent life form on the moon reason.. the wanted to destroy or kill where these life form was.....

    November 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  26. Leslie Ann Warren

    Wow, Interestin & Crazy Scary @ The Same Time, I'm Baffled??!! Lord Help Us & 4Give Us @ The Sametime In Jesus Name!!

    November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

      November 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  27. peterweicker

    Tests conducted in space on the far side of the Moon are an obvious (if expensive) response to the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty. No seismographs to worry about if you're building something dodgy. Even if nobody's tried it, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that several countries have gamma ray detectors floating around in halo orbits.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • Consultofactus

      Yeah, they'd be so hard to detect even WE couldn't measure them...

      November 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  28. Consultofactus

    It is a well known fact that more recently Barney Frank had plans to nuke Uranus...

    November 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      He's always attacking Uranus.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • pa sayitstraight

      why do i have the feeling that you are a terrible bore at a party, or pretty much anywhere?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
      • pa sayitstraight

        oh, right. of course. why didn't I think of it before. It's because you are.

        November 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
      • ...

        Really? REALLY? I would like to hear more from your, you 8 year old stuck up child.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  29. DickPerry

    Nothing surprising here. Its just the ol american craziness at work as usual. Americans who as usual are the bad guys of the world.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
    • James

      It is only in recent years the name of the United States has been smeared, try being involved in four wars/dilemmas on three continents and not be seen as a bad guy by someone. We have done wrong, but we are still a valiant great nation that welcomes the abused with open arms. Somewhere in our core we still have a portion of our old traditions and values. Our soldiers have always been great devoted men/women risking their lives for the west honourably. We may have done wrong occasionally, but we are still an amazing nation.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      We were attacked in case you missed that.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Reply
      • Mark_in_FL

        By Iraq?

        November 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  30. Pilar Sansa

    And now, almost 65 years years later, can we _please_ stop malingering and destroy the moon already?

    November 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  31. cocteautwin

    yet many still believe men landed on the moon....lol, so typical

    November 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      And some people even believe that intelligent beings will be discovered on the Internet one day.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      You can see the foot prints and the flag if you get your head out of your ass.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • MDATB

      We did.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • Clyde M

      Trolling, right? Please be trolling...

      November 29, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  32. paul

    and people scorn us because we up hold the ten commandments, and put our eternal well being in the hands of the lord,

    November 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      At least six of the ten commandments are completely unconst.itutional and will never be law here.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Don't include me in your delusions.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
    • Zubenelgenubo

      Maybe if people that call themselves religious actually lived by the ten commandments instead of just holding them up, you wouldn't feel so scorned.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • Gawd

      “I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.” – Douglas Adams

      November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  33. gary

    sick americans sick with military madness ... and they are still with us ... USA is sick with militarism, guns, killing, power, obsessed with making the world our at any cost. .... sick

    November 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  34. No one

    If I recall correctly, the moon is very slowly pulling away from the Earth, so perhaps someone will consider an explosion on the other side to halt that.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
    • gary

      wouldn't work

      November 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Reply
      • Heads Up

        you know gary...take off the "R"..... loooooooolllolololoooooooooll

        November 29, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • kurtinco

      Hahahahahaha.....that's so cute, Bruse Willis!!! That's like some " Armageddon " like stuff.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Why should we care?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  35. a

    2 words: MARS ROVER

    November 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • a

      nicely played NASA...nicely played

      November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  36. Camille

    All of these space stories in the MSM are to condition you to accept the extraterrestrial hypothesis, which is a reality all must face. Please check out Project Camelot, base on Mars, moon anomalies, Project Blue Beam, Project Pegasus, and other such subjects on your favorite search engine. Also, get ready for the Mars discovery press conference late next week.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      They discovered Mars? I hadn't heard. I'll definitely tune into the press conference!

      November 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
      • kurtinco

        F in sweet!

        November 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  37. Michael

    The "trick" in all of this is to figure out what aspects of our current national ambitions will appear equally ludicrous when viewed in retrospect several decades from now. Could be anything...fracking?

    November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      Gingrich's Moon base?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  38. mary

    So once again we find out more about man and his stupid plots to destroy not just every living creature on earth.. But Hey.. Lets also muck up the moon..
    This story seriously, is depressing..

    November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Are you seriously trying to imply that the detonation of a nuke on the moon's surface in 1958 would have destroyed it?

      Jeez, you people are clueless. It would have changed NOTHING – the moon is not protected by any electromagnetic fields (so it is sizzling with solar radiation already), there is no life to harm, and two nukes of the same size didn't even destroy an island in the pacific... The moon wouldn't even have noticed – nor would we have.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  39. Lester

    Story is a nice example of the type of bizarre thinking that sometimes occurs when all the discussions are conducted in secret.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      Frankly, this plan is far less bizarre than many that were publicly debated in that era. The only crazy idea that actually made sense in a very sick twisted way was MAD. It worked (we're still here, through a lot of luck and MAD) and it eventually bankrupted the USSR.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  40. GayAtheistMarine

    Can't wait for the movie.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  41. achepotle

    I think it is time we started rounding up Chinamen.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  42. Dan

    The Russians still had the horrors of the Great Patriotic War fresh on their minds. A light show on the moon would not have fazed them in the slightest.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  43. ted

    Nuke the Gay Baby Whales.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  44. MoonBeam

    The gov will never reveal the truth about our moon. Those Apollo mission were only for show. What we need is full disclosure about the real situation with this planet.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • PeriSoft

      Let me guess – the moon was in on the conspiracy to forge Barack Obama's birth certificate...

      November 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • jim d

      if you can get to dallas/ft. wrth area and have your scripts transferred to a pharmacy here. i'll gladly meet you and pay for them.....

      November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
      • GB

        Too funny...LOL

        November 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Yacon

      So you were thrown off by the nonsense online about the flag held up by a rod and still swinging back and forth, etc.? Do you really think that they could have duped all of the 5000 people at mission control? YOU have been duped by conspiracy theorists who cherry pick their data in hopes of convincing a few people who are not willing to dig into the facts.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  45. Guest

    Well I see this was before the Space Exploration treaty which banned the militirazation of space.

    Either way it was one of those many military plans that later just comes up with no need to or to much of a hassel.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  46. jwest

    Big deal the Russians had the same idea in the late 60's

    November 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • Josh

      I was not impressed by your comment at all! GOOD DAY SIR!!!!!

      November 29, 2012 at 12:56 am | Reply
  47. Harvey Wallbanger

    I don't know why this is news now. I was born in 1951, remember sputnik, and knew about these plans I was a child. I had always assumed it was called off because it was a dumb idea. Just like the idea to build a 600 foot radio telescope to listen in on Soviet radio traffic reflected from the moon

    For those of you from that era; I liked Burt the Turtle.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • Josh

      Whoa! Let me stop you right there. If you were born in 1951 you would not be alive today. SO that right there proves you are a liar and anything else you have stated is not credible.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
  48. Martin

    There was a lot of concern about our precious bodily fluids at the time.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • Loki

      Gen Jack D. Ripper is that you?

      November 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  49. James

    So it isn't enough we use our weapons race to destroy valuable cultures on earth, but we honestly considered testing nuclear weapons on our moon!?

    November 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      nope, the idea was to nuke Moon and make it inhabitable for Russians, just in case they figured out to live on planet without air

      November 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Name a "valuable" culture that we destroyed?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  50. Lockerius

    Jeez guys, relax. Planning departments for all branches of the military spend millions of man-hours planning for every possible contingency. This one would have been thought out, planned, and then filed in the "not bloody likely" cabinet.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  51. Margaret

    Man is not content to foul his own nest he has to foul up others. At least this time they did not.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
    • Hadenuffyet

      Whose nest might that be? Moonbirds?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
      • Frank

        You're mocking Margaret's very sensible comment? You're actually defending the notion of nuking the moon!?! I sincerely hope nowhere on this world do you have any significant control over... anything.

        November 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
      • Mark_in_FL

        Well, "others" does beg the question of "who are they?"

        November 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Consultofactus

      Hey Maggie, methinkest you may be foul in the nether regions, eh?

      November 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  52. theeverynamestaken

    yea good thing they never went with that horrific plan and developed MIRVs, SLBMs, ICBMs, and kinetic bombardment instead.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  53. innersixx

    this isn't news, its fairly common history

    November 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  54. Hadenuffyet

    Send a bunch ...and dig a cavern , although neutron missiles might be a better choice.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  55. Bryan

    at first I thought I was reading Fox News!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  56. 111Dave111

    Upon receiving his fourth star in 1951 at age 44, Gen. Curtis E. LeMay became the youngest four-star general in American history since Ulysses S. Grant and was the youngest four-star general in modern history as well as the longest serving in that rank. Gen. LeMay was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in July 1957, serving until 1961, when he was made the fifth Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force on the retirement of Gen Thomas White. His belief in the efficacy of strategic air campaigns over tactical strikes and ground support operations became Air Force policy during his tenure as chief of staff.
    As chief of staff, Gen. LeMay clashed repeatedly with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Air Force Secretary Eugene Zuckert, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Maxwell Taylor. Though Gen. LeMay lost significant appropriation battles, he was largely successful at expanding Air Force budgets. He advocated the introduction of satellite technology and pushed for the development of the latest electronic warfare techniques. By contrast, the U.S. Army and Navy frequently suffered budgetary cutbacks and program cancellations by Congress and Secretary McNamara. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, LeMay clashed again with U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Defense Secretary McNamara, arguing that he should be allowed to bomb nuclear missile sites in Cuba.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • Brasil1958

      Col Jack Ripper (Dr Strangelove). Curtis LeMay once considered vice-presidential running mate. Glad his plan for bombing missile sites in Cuba did not come about. Would have led to possible nuclear exchange with Soviets and we would all be back in the stone age (at least the survivors would) and Curtis and buddies would be safely esconched in their bomb shelters plotting their next escapade. Crackpot. Beware the Military Industrial Complex....Dwight D. Eisenhower.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  57. soaponapope

    If I am not mistaken this was the idea of or based on the idea of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man credited for being among other things the head of the brain trust behind the Manhattan Project. The guy was brilliant but he was out of his mind. He had all sorts of ideas that involved using nukes, among them was yes, to nuke the moon to collect samples of lunar soil for study. The man was one of the men who gave us the Atomic Age, but he also lost his damn mind and was full of awful ideas.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • AS

      You are probably mistaking Oppenheimer for Edward Teller. Oppenheimer was removed from the Nuclear program in early fifties as a target of Mccarthyism for his pro-leftist history.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  58. CommonSensed

    Awww...Newt won't get his nuclear launch moon base either.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  59. me

    They should put a nuke under their pillow and go to sleep with the detonator in their hand.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  60. Lizzy10

    Goodnight Moon

    November 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  61. (bribri patriarca haaahaahaaaa)omg..

    *shakes head*

    November 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  62. Buzz

    You boys put your nukes away and come in for supper. Boys and their toys.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  63. kalo

    Uh, guys....One nuke wouldn't do anything to the moon. Have you seen the crators all around it? It can take quite the punch this was mostly to show the Russians "We can launch space junk too!"

    November 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
    • Jamison

      Why bother with space junk? just show them your junk. They would have backed down for sure.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  64. Richard

    so basically, the law not allow any nuke test on earth after the cold war, their heart and hands feeling itchy and try to nuke the moon? why these ppl like to see destruction on other things, what will this nuke the moon project will benefit people on earth? to show America able to nuke moon? to start another cold war, or WW3 or WAR? Please spend more money on research energy replacement for petrol and nuke power plant.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • kalo

      Uh...they did scrap it. This was from the 1950s, please read again.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      I think someone nuked your reading skills.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Can't read nor write. Let me venture a guess your from......... Uhhh Russia??

      November 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  65. RaDaR Bluetooth WIFI Detector

    LOL
    theoretical scientists, because had a rocket been successfully launched? and finally, do you remember all those launches than didnt take off but crashed back down in the area of the launch? LOL nuke yourself? omg no wonder sagan went into tv- fiction

    November 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • Observer

      Huh? What do you mean "TV fiction"? Cosmos was about astronomy.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Arm it when you get close.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  66. FOREVER KNIGHT

    Incredible, because when I was in junior high school, we were discussing nuclear testing and I suggested that to avoid the fallout on earth that we should test on the moon. I was laughed at because Sputnik I had not gone up yet, but I knew it was only a matter of time...I feel vindicated...

    November 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  67. nickmi

    are you serious?? blowing up the moon would in turn pretty much destroy earth as we know. it plays a huge role in our existence. i cannot believe they even thought about this!!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • CommonSensed

      One nuke on the moon would have no effect on earth except to have a "fuzzy" moon for a few years as the dust settles.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • Mark_in_FL

        ...not even fuzzy. As article noted it would probably have no visibility from Earth.

        How small do people think the moon is anyway? It's a quarter the size of earth. A baby nuke like Big boy would be like a friendly punch on the arm to the moon

        November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
      • Thomas

        A nuke would not have done much to the moon.

        Now if we had the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, that would be a different story.

        November 29, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • spaz

      Not "blow up the moon", silly. Detonate warheads on the Moon. Big difference.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      What would we do without those tides?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  68. Semper Cogitatus

    There are plans out there for all sorts of ridiculous things. Alien invasions, asteroids. All it takes to get a possible plan looked at is some guy with a high enough rank saying "Hey, what if..."

    There are probably plans out there, especially from the '50s, about using those weapons on an America city in rebellion, or to stop an epidemic. Folks have drawn up, and continue to draw up, all sorts of crazy plans. This may be one of the sillier ones, but the fact that it exists isn't really much in the way of news.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  69. Dan

    Yeah, Bristol idea!...All it would been is a big thud without an oxygen atmosphere anyway.

    Man, the most intelligent specie on Earth.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
    • Hadenuffyet

      It might make a pretty light though , if only for an instant.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Mark_in_FL

      A nuke ain't gunpowder. Oxygen is not of importance.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  70. everything in Moderation

    I'm sitting here torn between relief and disbelief. What a horrible idea!

    How many of these genius plans have been concocted? How many have been enacted in secret and now weird stuff is happening as a result? This is enough to make a person very, very paranoid.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
    • Semper Cogitatus

      How many have been conceived? Countless thousands. How many have been enacted? Vansihingly few. How many are now resulting in "weird stuff"? Probably none. What sort of "weird stuff" do you think is happening?

      Should it make you paranoid that people with imagination are thinking of absurd things that then get written down and filed away? If you think so then you were already paranoid.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • cricket

      Just think a moment. We are just a species in the grand scheme of things that just happens. Were we to implode ourselves, no intelligent beng would take notice. Probably nothing would be noticed. We, as a sub-species, with little mental capabilities, think we're the greatest thing since GOD, however, we live at most, 100 years. That not even a blink of an eye of time if you consider how long this planet has been circling this lessor sun in the huge cosmos. Some like to imagine themselves as all important but no one is any better than anybody else. We all arrived here the same way and we'll all eventually die. Believe it or not, it's true.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  71. (bribri patriarca haaahaahaaaa)omg..

    LOL now wouldint THAT be a interesting news forcast ..(that is if we lived the moon crashing into the earth to Watch the news lol..:O..) and quite imbaressing lol.. The world would all be like yeahhh uhh that americaa uhmmm i think they jst blew up the uhhhmm moon now? Instead of IRAK LOL now theyre out to get space???:D ..and im sure they would be laughing there butts off if this were to happen today ..sad:p.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
    • kalo

      Re-read...it would be a small nuke with no where near the power as some metors that have crashed into it.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  72. buffalo

    "the public backlash.....would have been significant" Gee! Do you think? Sad to see that nothing has changed in Washington. You can bet that they are still pis*ing away billions on hare-brained schemes like this.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  73. IndianaGreg

    Anybody else out there read FrankJ over at IMAO? One of his most popular blog entries was from about 10 years ago, and it had to do with achieving World Peace through Nuking The Moon.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  74. Applethetic

    eh... its made of cheese, it would just turn into a nice glop of tasty mess... food for the stranots

    November 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • Livvy

      Attach a loaf of bread to the warhead i suppose. Grill cheese anyone?

      November 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
      • Me

        Nachos...

        November 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • Livvy

        Some good can come out of this, the end to world hunger.

        November 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  75. Larry L

    Incredibly stupid. As the most warlike nation on Earth we must fear and control our own capabilities for evil.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  76. Yeru

    What gall! How dare they even think of militarizing the moon. The moon doesn't belong to any one country.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • Scott B

      That's completely foreign thinking to the 1950s. Remember, the major powers just got through carving up the world.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • Hadenuffyet

        Except Antartica , who wants to rule penguins?

        November 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  77. Tony in St. Louis

    Maybe there is some truth to that Apollo 18 movie after all!!! Aliens I tell ya!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  78. pkfops

    Nukes are useless with out an atmosphere.

    All you get is a bright flash of light; no blast.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Two words

      Starfish Prime

      November 29, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply
  79. Johnson

    The moon remains a threat to our vital interests. We should have nuked it years ago. If you need me I will be out back in the shelter cleaning my guns.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  80. George Patton

    ya right, like US was expert in pin-point strike after launching nuke missiles from Moon, morons

    November 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  81. Jack

    Without the moon, Earth as we know it would not exist.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  82. Livvy

    Who's the idiot that thought of this?

    November 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  83. JohnnyInSNJ

    Pass the word along...tell the men, it's time to shoot the moon.

    SHOOT THE MOOON!!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Jeff

      NOOO...on the radio you idiot!!!

      November 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Me

      I don't get it....Please explain......

      November 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
      • Booyahhayoob

        It's a line from Up in Smoke.

        November 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Guest

      LOL My luck in hearts is so bad I am actually able to pull that one off!

      November 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  84. captiosus

    While reading this article, I seriously COULD NOT get the image of Vault-Tec and Vault Boy out of my head. This whole thing reads like it should be in a Fallout game.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  85. Jeff

    Gee...I could see this stupid country blowing up the moon and some chunk of the moon that quite probably could have been the size of a small country would hurdle towards the Earth and destroy us all.

    What a great plan there U.S.!!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  86. terrymcmanus

    What a bunch of idiots.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  87. MikeM

    Gotta bomb something. Little boys playing with atomic bombs.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  88. Lardeau

    If the moon ever split, it would lose its orbit and pieces would be sure to crash on earth and destroy many things and people. Are there no checks and balances to rein in lunatics who would even think about this stuff ? Scary.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • Sheldotron

      What? Total amount of force to do such a thing would be insurmountable. I'd be willing to bet we couldn't take on such a thing these days. Besides that, if we could split or blow up the moon we might get a shower of devastating moon rocks, but we would more than likely form a ring of crap orbiting earth. Beyond that, say goodby to the 24 hour days and tidal forces.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  89. Mike

    This idea to nuke the moon was as lame-brain as the actual practice of exposing some U.S. troops to atomic detonations at a supposedly "safe" distance in the desert and also ordering troops to walk into areas where a nuclear detonation had taken place a short time before.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  90. Mark

    Atomic..

    November 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  91. Don

    There was also talk of using nukes to blast a canyon through the Sierra Madres and diverting the Colorado river into southern California during the late 50's. So much for the best(?) laid plans of mice and morons...

    November 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
    • cavepainter

      and there were plans to use nukes to dig a second panama canal, among other things.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Operation Plowshare. Constructive nuclear explosives. :(

      aka PNE

      November 29, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
  92. thesyndicateproject

    First comment

    November 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  93. abdullah ablongotta

    Fascinating how mankind can dream up new ways of killing each other, yet we still suffer from curable ills such as famine, drinkable water, and all the handicap parking spaces so close to the McDonalds entrance. Can Grimace get a break?

    November 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  94. Mark

    Romney would have tried to revive this project if he had been elected.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • John

      embarrassing

      November 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • ...

      .. And how would you know that. Are you Mitt Romney. From my side of the coin, I don't think so.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  95. Scott B

    Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the Moon.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • cavepainter

      Can anyone blame us? Just look at it, taunting us with its phases. ;_;

      November 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  96. AmericanDumfux

    Look out moon America's gonna get ya gonna go ka-boom was nice to have met ya...cause you don't mess around WITH GOD'S AMERICAAAAA

    November 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Mr Wiggles the Monkey

      We're spending so much money, millions of dollars to blow up the moon, when there's so much to blow up right here on earth; Mount Everest, the North Pole, etc. We're Earthlings, let's blow up Earth Things.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  97. DJCowboy

    "Shoot the Moon!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  98. snowboarder

    crazy stuff.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  99. Loki

    Seem to recall reading about this many years ago

    November 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  100. Brolle

    What sick person would come up with an idea like that..??

    November 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • 111Dave111

      Gen. Curtis E. LeMay (at the time 4-Star Air Force General, Later 5-Star Air Force General, and Vice Presidential Candidate with George Wallace during Vietnam).

      November 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • 111Dave111

        Above Mr. @soaponapope says:
        If I am not mistaken this was the idea of or based on the idea of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man credited for being among other things the head of the brain trust behind the Manhattan Project. The guy was brilliant but he was out of his mind. He had all sorts of ideas that involved using nukes, among them was yes, to nuke the moon to collect samples of lunar soil for study. The man was one of the men who gave us the Atomic Age, but he also lost his damn mind and was full of awful ideas.

        November 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Your friends at the pentagon.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • atlsouth56

      I know but I can't tell you, it's classified.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • Dan M

      Sick is harsh. This was a time where the slightest blink of weakness would have probably plunged the world in World War 3 and oblivion. This kind of unwavering determination is a necessary evil in such a dark shadow. We've become so numb to war today because the fear of losing is gone. Back then... winning a war against the Soviet Union was anything but.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
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