Rare photographs of atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll

When io9 reader Chris Carey's grandfather, a WWII veteran, passed away, he took it upon himself to assemble a slideshow for the funeral. While searching through a dusty photo album that he'd found in the attic, Carey made an incredible find: numerous photographs of the atomic bomb testing conducted at Bikini Atoll. » 7/27/12 4:14pm 7/27/12 4:14pm

Remembering the day when the US nuked its own communications satellite

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of Telstar 1, the first U.S. communications satellite to relay television signals, phone calls, and fax images through space. But just as the astromech-like satellite started to settle in orbit and make its ground-breaking transmissions, it had to contend with… » 7/12/12 11:45am 7/12/12 11:45am

Supercomputer simulates nuclear explosion down to the molecular level

Treaties forbid the detonation of nuclear test weapons — which creates problems for national defense developers who need to efficiently certify the effectiveness of their arsenal. Luckily for them, a powerful new supercomputer is now able to replicate the physical impact of nuclear explosions — albeit digitally. And… » 6/06/12 4:30pm 6/06/12 4:30pm

Welcome to the Smithsonian​’s Atomic Weapons Museum

The Atomic Age is a difficult period to memorialize. Research from the time period yielded a clean form of energy, but also killed hundreds of thousands of individuals in World War II and plunged the planet into a Cold War. The National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada aims to collect artifacts and interpret… » 5/17/12 8:20am 5/17/12 8:20am

An interview with a woman who survived the 1958 atomic bombing of…

On the afternoon of March 11, 1958, Ella Hudson was nine years old and visiting her cousins' home in Mars Bluff, South Carolina. After an otherwise normal school day wrapped up, Ella had the bizarre pleasure of witnessing firsthand the United States Air Force accidentally drop a nuclear weapon — with its fissile… » 5/08/12 9:20am 5/08/12 9:20am

This insanely sinister infographic illustrates the power of the world's …

On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union conducted an atmospheric test of the 50-megaton Tsar Bomba (Russian for "Bomb King") nuclear weapon over the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. The ensuing detonation threw up a mushroom cloud 64 kilometers high and would've subjected anyone 100 kilometers away to third… » 4/20/12 2:05pm 4/20/12 2:05pm

A 1969 plan to build a second, nuke-proof Manhattan below New York City

Every now and again we encounter a retrofuturistic urban planning proposal that is equal parts whimsical and hilarious, such as the proposed million-person city spanning from New York to San Francisco. Here's something that eclipses that design in terms of comic impracticality. Behold Oscar Newman's 1969 plan to hollow … » 12/20/11 12:25pm 12/20/11 12:25pm

Could an electromagnetic pulse send us back to the Dark Ages?

The electromagnetic pulse. It's the big, bad boogeyman of the electronic age where we depend on a constant stream of communication and connection. Everything stops – instantly. EMPs are often used in pop culture (particularly any time Magneto wants to take over the planet) to caused widespread destruction and to… » 10/07/11 8:00am 10/07/11 8:00am