In tests to determine if the northern Marshall Islands are safe for resettlement after nuclear testing nearly 70 years ago, scientists discovered that the areas are worse off than previously thought.
In 1955, the Soviet Union tested a bomb designated RDS-37 at a missile testing site in northeast Kazakhstan. The bomb’s power had been scaled down for the test, but a relatively rare weather phenomenon gave it an unexpected, and destructive, increase in power.
Though it played out on the international stage, the arms race between the United States and the USSR took place mainly in rural, isolated parts of the world. The Americans tested their nuclear bombs on a desolate patch of Nevada. The Russians chose a barren polygon-shaped patch of what is now Kazakhstan.
March 1953: A dummy sitting behind a protective shield in a Nevada basement used for atomic bomb testing. The mannequins used for these kinds of tests were often purchased from downtown Las Vegas department stores like J.C. Penney's. [National Geographic's Tumblr "Found"]
This is the Chagan nuclear test. It was part of a larger effort to both test nuclear weapons and to use those weapons for peaceful purposes. The result is a lake it is barely safe to swim in and a severely polluted river nearby.
Sixty five years ago today, the Department of Defense launched a nuclear missile test in Nevada, as they would hundreds of times again. But this time, five guys and a cameraman were placed right underneath the massive atomic explosion. Why?
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Treaties forbid the detonation of nuclear test weapons — which creates problems for national defense developers who need to efficiently certify the effectiveness of their arsenal. Luckily for them, a powerful new supercomputer is now able to replicate the physical impact of nuclear explosions — albeit digitally. And…