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Nuke the moon

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#1 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:55 PM

Ever been angered by the brightness of the moon bleeding out those sometimes elusive DSOs? Messier marathons spoiled by that bright arrogant circle in the sky?

Well, in the 1950s, they almost did something about it, in the form of nuking the moon:
http://security.blog...e-moon/?hpt=...

#2 llanitedave

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

There have been dumber ideas.



But not many.

#3 ColoHank

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:11 PM

There have been dumber ideas.



I'm not so sure about that. What could be dumber than declaring war on the Moon? Imagine how embarrassing it would have been if we'd done it and lost...

#4 Rick Woods

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:32 PM

There have been dumber ideas.



I'm not so sure about that. What could be dumber than declaring war on the Moon? Imagine how embarrassing it would have been if we'd done it and lost...


We would certainly have lost!

And the guy said there's no way the Moon would have blown up! Hey, I saw the remake of "The Time Machine", and they nuked the Moon and blew it up! So I know it would happen, because they couldn't say it if it wasn't true. :shocked:

#5 skyguy88

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:26 AM

In the early 70's there was serious consideration of nuking the moon to provide a strong signal that the Apollo seismic network could use to examine the lunar interior. The idea was shot down quickly.

Bill

#6 FlorinAndrei

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:10 AM

Humanity in the '50s and '60s was like a high school kid who suddenly got bodybuilder-like muscles and couldn't wait to use all that new-found power. The corny, immature, embarrassing hubris of those years. It was awesome. :grin:

Some good things came out of it, like the beginning of space exploration. But then they had stuff like the Soviet plan to dig artificial rivers using nuclear explosions. Or this silly idea to nuke the Moon. Jeez.

I like to think we're wiser now. But at the same time we're less bold, more introverted, and we've lost a good deal of inspired imagination. It's time to tackle again some great challenges - and I mean in the real world, not on the social media. :vomit:

#7 scopethis

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:53 PM

yea..and those X-ray Vision glasses ordered from a comic book never arrived....

#8 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:21 PM

I dunno guys, lets not toss the baby out with the bath water. We need to get that cheese off the moon somehow!

#9 russell23

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:57 PM

According to the "Rare Earth" hypothesis we have the Moon to thank for our existence. It helps stabilize the Earth's tilt which provides climate stability.

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#10 llanitedave

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:59 PM

They weren't trying to blow it up, they only wanted to spend millions of dollars to create a momentary flash and a small crater.

#11 Rick Woods

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:23 AM

They weren't trying to blow it up, they only wanted to spend millions of dollars to create a momentary flash and a small crater.


That would give a whole new meaning to cutting the cheese.

#12 D_talley

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:04 AM

It is too bad that it was not done. We could use the data from the explosion to determine the size of a blast we would need to divert a threat to the earth.

#13 ColoHank

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

It is too bad that it was not done. We could use the data from the explosion to determine the size of a blast we would need to divert a threat to the earth.




I'm sure we've got data like that from test shots here on Earth. It's also easy (not for me) to simulate all manner of blasts and blast effects using supercomputers, which is what the US has been doing since signing the nuclear test-ban treaty. Detonating a nuke on the Moon would have been a shame, needlessly polluting the surface and perhaps compromising later research efforts there. And grandstanding like that just to impress our adversaries would have been pretty childish, in my judgment. I'm glad we decided not to do it, whatever the rationale.

#14 D_talley

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:27 PM

I agree with you and we should not do it but I am thinking long term and when it comes time to move a 6 mile wide chunk of iron would the bomb go off like an old style flash bulb, a lot of light and heat but nothing else.

On Earth most of the blast of a bomb is the overpressure of the air and the shock wave that follows. There would be no (very little)shock wave in space to breakup the object. Or am I looking at this wrong.

#15 FirstSight

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:06 PM

On Earth most of the blast of a bomb is the overpressure of the air and the shock wave that follows. There would be no (very little)shock wave in space to breakup the object. Or am I looking at this wrong.


WELL THEN, if there's no shock wave in space, they how do all those spacecraft in the "Star Wars" movies broadcast such loud rocket engine noise as they whiz by? Answer that one, Mr. smarty science pants.
:grin:

#16 llanitedave

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:26 PM

I'm thinking that if an asteroid is relatively solid, a penetrating bomb could burrow in a few tens of meters maybe into the regolith before it detonates. The energy shooting back out through the entry hole could act a bit like a nozzle, propelling the whole body just a nudge in the desired direction.

A really loose asteroid would probably just fragment, though.

#17 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:41 PM

I'm thinking that if an asteroid is relatively solid, a penetrating bomb could burrow in a few tens of meters maybe into the regolith before it detonates. The energy shooting back out through the entry hole could act a bit like a nozzle, propelling the whole body just a nudge in the desired direction.

A really loose asteroid would probably just fragment, though.


When it comes to nuking asteroids I have read before where scientists claim nuking an asteroid might be bad because it would send many fragments at Earth which would still do damage, but I do not understand this rationale.
A huge solid asteroid will make a huge crater which will send up dust and soot, block out the Sun, lead to the extinction of all life. Fragments, will atleast burn up some as they enter the atmosphere, and the ones that do hit, yes will cause mass damage and death, but sans huge crater and sans extinction.

If given the choice between total extinction vs mass death, but non-extinction, isn't the latter less negative than the former?

#18 Jarad

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:37 AM

If given the choice between total extinction vs mass death, but non-extinction, isn't the latter less negative than the former?



If those are the only two choices, yes. But as I recall, they didnt simply oppose nuking an asteroid, they proposed alternatives like landing a thruster on it to nudge it away intact, or coating one side with reflective or absorptive material to cause solar light pressure to nudge it over time, etc.

In other words, if the choices are between total extinction, mass death, or no damage at all, they prefer door #3.

Jarad

#19 llanitedave

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:13 AM

When it comes to nuking asteroids I have read before where scientists claim nuking an asteroid might be bad because it would send many fragments at Earth which would still do damage, but I do not understand this rationale.


The rationale is that most asteroids aren't really solid, but basically are big rubble piles. The approach I suggested would only work for the relatively solid ones, or comets(if even then), but not for more typical bodies like Itokawa.

As Jarad pointed out, there are gentler approaches that are likely to be more effective.

#20 StarWars

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:26 PM


Launch a space craft to the Moon with a huge paintball gun full of flat black paint... :D

#21 Mister T

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

and once the military gets involved, killing a mosquito with a grenade becomes a more attractive (manly) option :cool:

#22 D_talley

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:14 PM

If given the choice between total extinction vs mass death, but non-extinction, isn't the latter less negative than the former?



If those are the only two choices, yes. But as I recall, they didnt simply oppose nuking an asteroid, they proposed alternatives like landing a thruster on it to nudge it away intact, or coating one side with reflective or absorptive material to cause solar light pressure to nudge it over time, etc.

In other words, if the choices are between total extinction, mass death, or no damage at all, they prefer door #3.

Jarad


If there is time. All of the plans work on the premise that there is enough time to develop, test and launch the strike. If we don't have the time and can only launch some of our ICBMs at it, would the explosion do anything?

#23 ColoHank

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:27 PM

Wrong tool for the job. ICBMs are suited only for killing folks right here on Earth.

#24 Jarad

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:18 PM

If there is time. All of the plans work on the premise that there is enough time to develop, test and launch the strike. If we don't have the time and can only launch some of our ICBMs at it, would the explosion do anything?



Good question. No easy answer. It depends on how close the object it, how fast it is moving, how squarely is it going to impact us (i.e. how much does it need to be shifted to miss), how dense is it, how cohesive is it, how big it is, etc.

The more advance notice we get, the less energy it takes to shift it and the more likely we are to be able to succeed. If it is small enough, breaking it up might be better than letting it hit in one chunk, but for a really big one multiple still-pretty-big chunks just spreads the damage over a larger area. The main goal has to be making it miss.

Jarad

#25 Pess

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:03 PM

You guys are so easily misled...

They blow the moon up every month! Don't you wonder where it goes?

After a few days the pieces start to fall back together from gravity and you can see with your own eyes the moon steadily getting bigger every night!

I'm not sure why they keep trying. It never seems to work.

Pesse (Now let's get back to the idea of moving those Deer crossing signs so the poor deer have a safer place to cross highways) Mist






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