The United States Once Planned On Nuking The Moon
Moon Nuking Plan Fascinating Facts
If you presumed that the reasoning behind such an act was “because we can”, you are entirely correct. The United States had vague plans to nuke the moon in order to one-up the Soviet Union, who were perceived as leading the space race at the time.
The project was labeled “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” or “Project A119″ and was developed by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s. It was felt that this would be a relatively easy thing to do and would also boost public perception of America’s position in the space race.
According to one of the leaders of the project, physicist Leonard Reiffel, hitting the moon with an intercontinental ballistic missile would have been relatively easy to accomplish, including hitting the target with an accuracy of about two miles. This accuracy would have been particularly important as the Air Force wanted the resulting explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.
As such, it was proposed that the explosion happen on the border of the visible part of the moon, so that the resulting cloud would be clearly visible, being illuminated by the sun. The project was eventually scrapped as it was felt that the public would not respond favorably to the U.S. dropping a nuclear bomb on the moon.