At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States found themselves locked in a chilling race to nuke the moon, declassified military documents reveal.
Following the end of the Second World War in 1945, the USSR and the USA spent decades trying to prove their military might to the world.
During this tense era, the two superpowers found themselves locked in an arms race that saw them spend decades scrambling to develop the most powerful armaments.
As the arms race morphed into a space race, the two nations set their sights on the moon and made it their goal to extend their influence beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
Now, newly declassified documents reveal just how far the superpowers were prepared to go, as they hatched terrifying plans to obliterate part of the moon with a nuclear strike.
Codenamed Project A119, the plan cooked up by the US Air Force in 1958 set out how America could prove its might once and for all.
Physicist Leonard Reiffel was put in charge of the project, which had the terrifying goal of detonating a nuclear warhead on the moon.
The team of military and physics experts planned to explode a warhead the same size as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on our planet’s natural satellite.
The detonation would light up the moon’s surface, generating a sphere of dust that would blot out any hopes of Russia winning the arms race.
At the time, the team believed it could feasibly hit a target on the moon within an accuracy of two miles.
However, by January 1959, US military bosses were convinced that the public backlash against such a senseless strike would be enormous, and the risks of a malfunction in the launch were too great.
After that realization, America’s leaders turned their attention to putting people, rather than weapons, in space.
Meanwhile, the Soviets were cooking up a scheme of their own as part of a project codenamed E-4.
This plan involved striking the moon with a nuclear missile of their own, although this plot faced the same overwhelming risks and difficulties as the Americans’ secret plans.
These chilling Cold War revelations come after The Sun revealed the secret US plans that could have led to the total destruction of the USSR.