Monday, October 30, 2006

:random: The Apex of the Nuclear Bomb... [Alt. Title: Or "Listen to my Big Boom! Tsar Bomba~!!"]

NOTE: What better way to come back to an anime/boxing blog than with a post on...a huge nuclear weapon! Despite the alt. title, a thing like this can often be less humorous...

To this day, people are still afflicted by the memories of the ominous white mushroom cloud scratching towards the sky over 60 years ago...

In the middle of doing some minor research for a short paper (on nature, no less), I some how ended up reading on the most unlikely of subjects--nuclear weapons. What first caught my attention was a factoid on "the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever built or detonated," that being, the "Tsar Bomba" (aka "Tzar Bomb"). This beyond-behemoth of a weapon was never used in actual warfare, but rather saw its test run on October 30, 1961 at 11:32 a.m. Nuclear testing between the world powers of the US and the then-USSR (Russia, in this case) were not in rare sight, and given the latter's well-known propensity for going BIG, their building of a weapon of this magnitude is even less of an evitability. The bomb weighed 27 metric tons (or, to my best guess, 27,000 kg) (not including the 800 kg parachute used to slow its rate of descent) and had a dimension of 8 x 2 meters, far too gargantuan for the famous Tu-95 to carry and forcing engineers to omit the plane's wing fuel tanks and bay doors. When detonated 4,000 meters above the Artic island of Novaya Zemlya, just north of present-day Russia, the resulting fireball could be seen from a thousand kilometers away. The mushroom cloud itself was about 60 x 40 km, reaching 64 km into the sky. Shockwaves from the blast still created measurable seismic readings on its third pass over the planet, while the atmospheric density in some spots caused for damage to occur just as far as the fireball could be seen (this may explain for some window shattering in Finland). The explosion created by "Ivan," while able to make for some serious burns 100 km away and output the equivalant of 1% of the sun's own power output, was only using half of its planned yield of 100 megatons. Of course, such a resulting blast would vaporize the Tu-95 well before it could escape (so would its 50 Mt yield if it weren't for that parachute) and create FAR too much radioactive fallout (and upon their own population, no less). Add in the bomb's propensity to send most of its power upward instead of horizontally, and you have a one-time-only display of the Tsar Bomba's awe.

In spite of all of this, there is something oddly beautiful in such a morbid display of unrestrained violence. The sight of a nuclear bomb's explosion, can both put you in stunned, mesmorized silence, and let you witness, first-hand, just how far a human being can go to meet an exact end. The following are links to such devices, from Tsar Bomba to "Trinity", the very first.

Tsar Bomba -

Operation Castle -

Operation Ivy -

"Trinity" -

(Note: 11/29/06--Links finally added.)

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