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.
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?