The US had a secret plan that focused on detonating a nuclear bomb on the moon. The plan, which was hatched in 1958, is easily overlooked in an archive search.
The project, titled "A Study of Lunar Research Flights," has a nickname that is even less indicative of its real nature, "Project A-119," reports CNN.
The plan was top-secret and developed by the US Air Force at a time when the US and the Soviet Union were stuck in a nuclear arms race that drove the two world powers to the verge of a nuclear war.
Physicist Leonard Reiffel, the project's leader, spoke about the reason behind the plan to nuke the moon by saying:
"People were worried very much by Gagarin and Sputnik and the very great accomplishments of the Soviet Union in those days, and in comparison, the United States was feared to be looking Puny."
"So this was a concept to sort of reassure people that the United States could maintain a mutually-assured deterrence, and therefore avoid any huge conflagration on the Earth."
The project's documents remained classified for almost 45 years and the US government has never confirmed they were at all involved in the project. Instead of nuking the moon, the US instead focused on its space program and became the first country to put a man on the moon with Neil Armstrong in July 1969.