Did you know that the United States once planned to blow up the moon

The US is already planning to drop a nuclear bomb on the moon. If you assume that the justification for such actions is “because you can”, you are absolutely right.

The United States wanted to do this to escape the Soviet Union in the space race they were clearly leading at the time.

A project developed by the United States Air Force in the late 1950s was called “Lunar Exploration Flight Research” or “Project A119.” This was thought to be relatively easy to do. It would also increase public awareness of what the US is doing in the space race compared to the Soviet Union.

If an intercontinental ballistic missile hit the moon, it would have been relatively easy to reach with an accuracy of about two miles, according to physicist Leonard Reifel, one of the project leaders. The level of accuracy is very important, as the Luftwaffe wanted the explosion to be clearly visible from the ground. It was therefore important to ensure that the explosion occurred at the edge of the visible part of the Moon and that the resulting clouds were visible when the Sun was illuminated.

It was soon found that the public would not react favorably to the United States dropping atomic bombs on the moon, and the plan was eventually abandoned.

I can only imagine the conversation between the United States and the Soviet Union…

United States: “Hey, Soviet Union, don’t worry about the intercontinental ballistic missiles we just launched with nuclear warheads. I swear it’s aimed at the moon
USSR: Why are you launching nuclear missiles at the moon?
US: “…”
USSR: “???”


  • Young Carl Sagan is one of the many scientists who hired Reifel for this project. Sagan’s mission was to study in detail how blast clouds spread on the moon and make them clearly visible from Earth, which was the goal of the project.
  • Sagan felt the project had scientific value because it allowed him to study organic matter that may be in the clouds themselves.
  • Sagan violates national security by exposing aspects of the project while applying for a graduate student fellowship at the Berkeley Miller Institute, just one year after being hired (1959). This detail first came to light after Sagan’s death in 1996, when biographer Keigh Davidson discovered the information while researching Carl Sagan’s biography.