North Korea's Brand New Ballistic Sub Discontinued by Soviets in 1990

Looks like North Korea's engineers have been hard at work brushing up on their obsolete Soviet-era technology. Because after acquiring 10 discontinued Soviet subs, everyone's favorite little warmongering-dictatorship-that-could has finally rendered the outdated ballistic vessels seaworthy—and it only took them 21… » 11/03/14 11:33am 11/03/14 11:33am

The Abandoned Communist Nuclear Reactor That Could Have Killed Us All

Just 90 miles off the tip of Florida lies a half-baked, abandoned relic of the Cold War-era arms race—what was once going to be a joint Cuban-Soviet nuclear reactor. And thank god it never panned out. Because not only do we now have these incredible shots from photographer Darmon Richter, but every last aspect of… » 10/09/14 2:56pm 10/09/14 2:56pm

Humans First Saw the Far Side of the Moon 55 Years Ago Today

The side of the moon that faces Earth is familiar to anyone who's stood outside at night. But it wasn't until this day in 1959 that mankind was able to glimpse the dark side of the moon, thanks to a grainy-yet-distinct photo sent back by the Russian spacecraft Luna 3. » 10/04/14 10:04am 10/04/14 10:04am

How the Soviet Union destroyed the fourth biggest lake in the world

NASA has published these two images of the Aral Sea, which used to be the fourth biggest lake in the world before the Soviet Union plugged into the rivers that fed it to irrigate massive agricultural areas. The photo on the right was taken in 2000. On the left you can see its current state. » 10/01/14 9:21pm 10/01/14 9:21pm

The collapse of the USSR left behind a haunting post-apocalyptic world

These photographs by Rebecca Litchfield make it seem as if the apocalypse has come and gone and the world is in complete ruins. Not quite. They're actually photographs of countries and places that were a part of the former Soviet Union. The forgotten decay is haunting. » 9/15/14 9:09pm 9/15/14 9:09pm

A Rare Tour of the Long-Secret Russian Town Where Cosmonauts Are Born

If you went looking for Zvezdny Gorodok, aka Star City, on a map in the 1960s, you'd have no luck. This small town outside of Moscow was long a state secret, and for good reason: It was the base where Cosmonauts came to train for—and recover from—space flight. And it's still cooking. » 7/09/14 3:20pm 7/09/14 3:20pm

Soviet Doctors Cured Infections With Viruses, and Soon Yours Might Too

In the Soviet Union, western antibiotics couldn't make it past the Iron Curtain. So Eastern Bloc doctors figured out how to use viruses to kill infectious bacteria. Now, with antibiotic-resistant bugs vexing doctors, that eerie yet effective method might come our way. In post-antibiotic world, infection cures you! » 6/07/14 2:00pm 6/07/14 2:00pm

Buying Pieces of the Space Race at Bonhams' Space History Auction

This week, Bonhams hosted an auction of historical space items in Manhattan. The Space History Sale featured troves of objects and documents, both American and Soviet, dating back to the heyday of the space race. And Gizmodo got the chance to take a peek. » 4/10/14 4:00pm 4/10/14 4:00pm

This Woman Secretly Dubbed American Movies During the Cold War

In the 1980s Irina Margareta Nistor worked as a translator of TV programs in Romania under the Communist regime. But in her spare time she secretly dubbed over 3,000 banned movie titles, all VHS tapes smuggled in from the West. These tapes quickly spread throughout Romania. Nobody knew Nistor's name. But everybody… » 2/18/14 7:10pm 2/18/14 7:10pm

This Insane Rocket Is Why The Soviet Union Never Made It To The Moon

Americans tend to talk a lot about the Space Race and how we made it to the Moon and we were first and no one else was second because we are the best. It's put into context by the fact that the Soviet satellite Sputnik was the first in space, but by the time we get around to discussing the moon landings no one… » 10/19/13 1:54pm 10/19/13 1:54pm

The World's Largest Cargo Plane Can Swallow a 737 Whole

Whether you need to get an airliner across a continent without flying it, piggyback a space shuttle to its launch site, or ship Snoop Dog's oversized tour stage to Nigeria, you're going to need the world's biggest and strongest aircraft: the Antonov An-225. » 6/06/13 11:30am 6/06/13 11:30am

Tons of Hackers Are Hanging Out in Old Soviet Cyberspace

The Internet is a huge place. Some parts of it are awesome, but others are...less so. And falling squarely in that latter category is the ancient .su domain, once the cyberhome of the Soviet Union. It's not exactly well maintained, or well policed, which is why more and more online criminals are using it as a hideout. » 6/01/13 12:00pm 6/01/13 12:00pm

The Berlin Wall: A 50-Year-Old Relic That's Still Powerful Today

On August 13th, 1961, East German troops set out to close the border between East and West once and for all with the construction of the Berlin Wall. This one-124 mile expanse of barbed wire and concrete changed the tone of the Cold War and remains a powerful symbol to this day. » 8/13/11 2:20pm 8/13/11 2:20pm

Your GPS Doesn't Work at Mach 2 Because It's Afraid You're a Soviet Spy

Fun fact: GPS technology has built-in limits based on speed and altitude. Basically, if a vehicle is moving faster than 1200mph or cruising higher than 60,000 feet, GPS shuts off. Why those numbers exactly? You can thank the commies. » 7/26/11 6:20pm 7/26/11 6:20pm

Russian Cosmonaut: Our Shuttle Was Safer (And Could Drop Nukes from…

Russia's Buran program was very short lived. Like, only one flight short lived. But according to cosmonaut (and ISS alum) Oleg Kotov, the craft had some serious potential—outclassing its American rival at both saving lives and destroying them. » 7/07/11 9:20pm 7/07/11 9:20pm

The Soviet Ship That Cuts Through Ice Like a Nuclear-Powered Knife…

What the Soviets lacked in ability for effective governance, they made up for in ballsy engineering prowess. Really, who else would think to pack two nuclear reactors into a ship and set it loose in the Arctic breaking ice? The North Koreans? Psshhh, not likely. » 7/06/11 8:01pm 7/06/11 8:01pm

Why Everyone Loves Yuri Gagarin, the First Human to Reach Space

It happened when Earth was still in black and white: 50 years ago we stepped outside our home planet for the first time. This is the tale of the beginning of an adventure that hasn't ended yet, the biggest, most dangerous and rewarding quest ever embarked on by the human race—the fascinating story of two men who took… » 4/11/11 11:50pm 4/11/11 11:50pm

Got a Few Million Bucks Lying Around? Bid on This Soviet Space Capsule

Charity is for chumps. Real estate? Too dangerous! Stock market? Boring! If I had the $2 to $10 million that this Soviet Vostok 3KA-2 space capsule is expected to sell for in April, it'd be mine. » 2/25/11 12:00am 2/25/11 12:00am

Soviet Safety Posters Were Terrifying and Slightly Hilarious

Working in any hazardous factory isn't a treat, but at least you aren't met with these horrifying posters, which make it seem like you could be impaled or electrocuted at any moment. That hair-in-drill one looks like it REALLY HURTS. » 2/02/11 10:00am 2/02/11 10:00am

How the CIA Spent Secret Millions Turning Modern Art Into a Cold War…

The most vivid icons of Cold War militarism—the ever-looming destruction that could be unleashed—are usually a mushroom cloud or gleaming ICBM. But we should count Jackson Pollock, too. The CIA spent millions weaponizing modern art against Russia. » 11/10/10 6:40pm 11/10/10 6:40pm