Science and Tech
You Won't Guess Which of These Strange Science Pics Was Taken in Space

Marshall Lemon | 28 Nov 2014 17:00
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Science isn't always about intelligent people conducting rationally thought out experiments. Every now and then, you find a study conducted by people who took an absolutely insane idea and ran with it simply because they could. Starfish Prime was one such case, where United States scientists set off a nuclear explosion in freaking space just to see what would happen.

The end result? As the test footage reveals, nuclear explosions in space are surprisingly colorful when viewed from Earth (skip ahead to 15:25 for the blast itself).

To the scientists' credit, it was technically a great learning opportunity, helping enrich our understanding of nuclear effects. That said, some have argued the entire procedure was incredibly risky. The blast set off a massive EMP pulse that caused extensive electrical damage in Hawaii, taking down phone lines, disabling street lights, and even setting off burglar alarms. More worrying were the newly formed radiation belts around the Earth, which went on to cripple one-third of orbiting satellites. While the radiation eventually dissipated, it took over five years to do so, which is a lengthy side effect for any single scientific procedure.

Perhaps it's the good thing the US decided to discontinue these tests. But not before launching another four.


That brings our Black Friday Guessing Game to a close! Go ahead and discuss what you got right (or wrong!) in the comments, and if you have any suggestions for future images, you can message or tweet me about them!

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