Burning the Sky

Burning the Sky

Operation Argus and the Untold Story of the Cold War Nuclear Tests in Outer Space

Book - 2018
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After the Soviet Union proved to the US that it possessed an operational intercontinental ballistic missile with the launch of Sputnik in the October 1957, the world watched anxiously as the two superpowers engaged in a game of nuclear one-upmanship. In the midst of this rising tension, Nicholas Christofilos, an eccentric Greek-American physicist, brought forth an outlandish, albeit ingenious, idea to defend the US from a Soviet attack: launching nuclear warheads to detonate in outer space, creating an artificial radiation belt that would fry incoming Soviet ICBMs. Known as Operation Argus, this plan is the most secret and riskiest scientific experiment in history, and classified details of these nuclear tests have been long obscured.In Burning the Sky, Mark Wolverton tells the unknown and controversial story of this scheme to reveal a fascinating narrative that still has powerful resonances today. He chronicles Christofilos's unconventional idea from its inception to execution, when he persuaded the military to carry out the dangerous test--using the entire Earth's atmosphere as a laboratory. Combining his investigation of recently declassified military documents with more than a decade of experience in researching and writing about the science of the Cold War, Wolverton examines the scientific, political, and environmental implications of Argus, as well as that of the atmospheric tests that followed. He also discusses the roles played by physicist James Van Allen and President Eisenhower in the scheme, and how the whistleblowing journalists at The New York Times blew the lid off what was supposed to be America's ultimate nuclear secret. Burning the Sky is an engrossing read that will intrigue any lover of scientific or military history and will remind readers why Project Argus remains frighteningly relevant nearly sixty years later. --Publisher
Publisher: New York :, The Overlook Press,, 2018
Edition: First edition
Description: 272 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9781468314175
1468314173
Branch Call Number: 623.45119 Chr

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