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18 Facts About Atomic Bombs And Their Terrifying Power to Devastate

7. During the Cold War, the U.S. actually considered dropping an atomic bomb on the moon to demonstrate its military superiority. The project was conceived in 1958 by the U.S. Air Force, and named A119, or “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”. 

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Legendary astrophysicist Carl Sagan was also said to be involved with Project A119. Leonard Reiffel, deputy director of NASA reportedly said in an interview that the plan was to launch a rocket that would detonate a small nuclear device on the moon’s surface. The project was later abandoned due to reports of Sagan disclosing details about the mission to a fellow academician. Another contributing reason was the danger that the mission could pose to earth if it failed and fear of contaminating the moon’s atmosphere with radioactive material.(source)


8. The U.S. used about 141 pounds of processed Uranium for Hiroshima’s bomb, which was all that was then in existence. Ultimately, only 0.7g of Uranium caused the explosion, as the bomb was blown apart before it reached the supercritical phase. 

Little boy
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In essence, the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion was generated by matter weighing no heavier than a single paper clip (or a dollar bill).

hiroshima bodies
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Codenamed “Little Boy”, this a-bomb weighed 10,000 pounds and was ten feet long. The bomb’s final steps of assembly happened largely in the air and moments before it dropped, as they were worried that a nuclear accident could injure American officers and potentially destroy their airfield. (source)


9. CT body scans would expose you to the same amount of radiation as that experienced within a mile and a half of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. 

CT radiation
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The radiation dose for one CT scan ranges from 1-10 millisieverts (the unit for annual background radiation from natural source). David J. Brenner of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York says that there is no difference between the radiation people are exposed to during x-rays or full-body CT scans and the victims of the Hiroshima blast. He remarks,

“The biggest difference is that the atomic bomb survivors got whole-body radiation, whereas CT is very directed exposure.”

Hiroshima survivors that were a couple of miles away from ground zero received anywhere between 5-100 millisieverts of radiation.(source)

10. New Mexico has an atomic bomb museum, where the first atomic bomb was detonated. It remains open only for 12 hours in an entire year.

trinity site
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The museum is called Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb lit up the entire Jornada Del Muerto (translation: Dead Man’s Journey) desert at night. Admission is free, and open for two periods in a year, totalling to 12 hours. One slot is on the first Saturday of April and the other is on the first Saturday of October, both from 8 am to 2 pm. There are no guides and only a few photos hang from the steel mesh fence.(source)

11. Before dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. dropped 49 practice bombs on Japan that killed 400 people and injured 1,200. 

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They were called “Pumpkin Bombs”, and dropped on several Japanese cities in preparation for the actual bombings. From July 20th to August 14th of 1945, at least 30 cities were ravaged by these bombs, which were made nearly identical to the A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.(source)

12. A 390-year old bonsai tree survived the Hiroshima bombing, a fact that remained unknown until 2001. It was planted in 1626 and now resides at the National Arboretum in Northeast Washington. 

Hiroshima Bonsai
image credit: Christa Joy / Flickr

This bonsai tree was donated as a gift by a Japanese bonsai master Masaru Yamaki to the U.S. in 1976. It looked like any other bonsai, except it was not. When the man’s grandchildren visited the museum in 2001, they brought the incredible story of the tree with them. The bomb that killed thousands of people left the tree unscathed, as it was up against a wall.(source)


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