Yellow Blog, Up High in Banana Tree

I love the beautiful world at night.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

But seriously, I just learned about the USA's bizarre late-fifties plan to nuke the moon:

It was clear the main aim of the proposed detonation was a PR exercise and a show of one-upmanship. The Air Force wanted a mushroom cloud so large it would be visible on earth. The US was lagging behind in the space race.

Apparently, Carl Sagan was consulted regarding nuking our lovely moon. Sagan thought the bomb might be an effective way to detect potential lunar life (and decimate it: *BOOM* Go to hell, moon critters!)

Of course, the idea of nuking the moon is appalling, abhorrent -- but I can't help this, okay? The evil ten-year-old in me thinks that it'd be totally awesome to see a big-ass mushroom cloud on the moon....sorry.

Did you know that the US was also itchin' to nuke Alaska?

I'm not kidding! The operation was code-named "Project Chariot". The goal was to detonate a nuclear device 100 times stronger than the one used in Hiroshima to excavate a deep water port on the west coast of Alaska.

The project was never carried out, but preliminary studies were done, including the importation of irradiated soil from a Nevada nuclear test site (to measure radiation's effect on the local environment -- you know, to study water runoff patterns, to measure how brightly the flora and fauna were glowing, etc.). The soil sat at the Chariot site for over 30 years (!) until it was finally crated up and shipped back to Nevada to be "disposed of".

About 30 miles north of the site of this proposed idiocy was an inconveniently located Inupiat Eskimo village called Point Hope. The residents were not informed of the government's nefarious plan for several years, and when they were let in on the joke, they were given the following unsubstantiated (read: made-up) information to calm them down:

....the fish in and around the Pacific Proving Grounds were not made radioactive by nuclear weapons tests and [there would not be]... any danger to anyone if the fish were utilized; that the effects of nuclear weapons testing never injured any people, anywhere; that once the severely exposed Japanese people recovered from radiation sickness...there were no side effects; that the residents of Point Hope would not feel any seismic shock at all from Project Chariot....

The Atomic Energy Commision was full of shameless liars. I'm awfully glad they didn't play their silly games to completion and nuke the moon or Alaska. (Although, honestly, don't you think the moon explosion would've been spectacular?)

What was their next target going to be? Yellowstone park?

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