The US had planned to blow up the Moon with a nuclear bomb during the Cold War to show its strength, a British media report says.
The US military chiefs allegedly devised the secret project, "A Study of Lunar Research Flights" - or "Project A119" - in the hope that the then Soviet Union would be scared by viewing the nuclear flash from the Earth. It would have given the US a much needed morale booster after the Russians successfully launched Sputnik in 1957, according to physicist Leonard Reiffel, who was a part of the project.
The US would have used an atom bomb, because a hydrogen bomb is too heavy. The planning also included calculations by the renowned astronomer Carl Sagan, who was then a young graduate.
But the idea was abandoned because of fears of its adverse effect on Earth, should the explosion fail. Instead of blowing up the Moon, the US intensified and eventually won the space race against the Soviet Union, with Neil Armstrong landing there in 1969.