US Planned To Blow Up The Moon In 1959: Report | Photos

US planned to blow up the moon

The United States planned to blow up the moon with a nuclear bomb during the cold war, according to reports.

The secret project, dubbed ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights’ or ‘Project A119‘, was allegedly devised by US military chiefs at the height of the space race in the late 1950s as a show of strength over the Soviet Union, scientists claim.

According to reports, the US would have used an atom bomb because a hydrogen bomb would have been too heavy.

A missile carrying the bomb would have been launched from an undisclosed location on Earth and travel to the moon, where it would detonate on impact.

The project would have been carried out in 1959, but was reportedly abandoned by military officials due to fears that it would endanger people on Earth should the mission fail.

Physicist Leonard Reiffel, who was involved with the project, said it would have intimidated the Soviet Union and given the US a morale boost after the Russians successfully launched Sputnik in 1957. Reiffel went on to serve as deputy director at NASA.

Scientists involved raised concerns about contaminating the moon with radioactive material, Reiffel said.

Also involved in the project was astronomer Carl Sagan, at the time a young graduate, who carried out calculations about the behaviour of dust and gas generated by the blast.

According to the author of a Sagan biography, he may have committed a security breach in 1959 by disclosing the secret project in an academic fellowship application.

The US government has never formally confirmed its involvement in the project.

The US Air Force declined to comment on the claims.

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Doha: Sea levels to rise by more than 1m by 2100 – Telegraph

Tuvalu, the pacific island nation, is threatened by global warming induced sea level rise

Sea levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the United Nations originally predicted, according to a new study, putting small island states and coastal cities at risk.

It found that sea levels have been rising by 3.2mm per year for the last 30 years, rather than the 2mm previously calculated.

If the trend continues then sea levels could be rising by 9mm per year within a century. The total rise by 2100 could be 1.2m.

The findings come as almost 200 countries gather in Doha, Qatar for the latest UN meeting on climate change. Already poorer nations exposed to sea level rise are complaining that the negotiations are moving too slowly to help stop small islands being lost forever.

A 1m rise in sea levels by 2100 would wash away much of small island states like Tuvalu and the Maldives. Delta regions like Bangladesh, where millions of people live, will be flooded and coastal cities like New York will have to build up defences.

Already the Thames Barrier plans to protect London against a rise of more than 1m.

According to, that calculates the impact of sea level rise on different countries using NASA data, more than 22,000 people would be exposed to flooding in Qatar if sea levels rise by more than 1m.

Originally the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the science arm of the UN, said global warming would cause sea levels to go up by about 2mm per year, rising by up to 60cm by 2100.

But the new findings, that use more up-to-date satellite data, found already the rise in sea levels is accelerating.

Stefan Rahmsdorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who led the study, said carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are driving global warming, which in turn causes ice sheets to melt and sea level rise.

“This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has under-estimated the problem of climate change,” he said.

Marlene Moses of the Pacific island of Nauru, that has a smaller carbon footprint per year than the whole Doha conference, said the world must cut carbon to stop global warming and sea level rise.

Speaking on behalf of the the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), she called on more ambitious targets to cut carbon.

The EU and a handful of other states have agreed to sign up to targets from 2013 as part of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

The rest of the world, including the two biggest emitters China and the US, are working towards a global deal for 2015 that would cut carbon from 2020.

Ambassador Moses said all countries need to ramp up ambition before 2020 to stop “a man-made disaster of epic proportions”.

Prof Mark Maslin , Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Scholar at University College London, said rich countries like Qatar can build flood barriers but poor nations will suffer.

He pointed out that sea levels will rise even more over hundreds and thousands of years.

“The rise cannot go above more than around 1.2m by 2100, because ice melts so slowly but it will continue to go up if the world keeps warming.

“The worse-case scenario, if both Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheets melt, could push up sea levels by 13m,” he said.

However Prof Andrew Shepherd, Professor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds, was more cautious.

He said more evidence was needed to show ice is melting in the Antarctic.

“This study presents an interesting comparison of variations in global temperature and sea levels, and suggests that in future sea level rise might be greater than the models used by IPCC have predicted.

“Of course for this to be correct, one has to consider the potential sources of that greater increase. In their study, Rahmstorf et al suggest that accelerated losses from the polar ice sheets may be one such source. However, when all of the available satellite data are considered, there is in fact little evidence to support the suggestion of accelerated ice loss from Antarctic. One may therefore need to look elsewhere for potential sources of additional sea level rise.”

:: A separate study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that melting permafrost could make global warming a lot worse.

This is when frozen organic matter under the ice in mountains or at high altitude melts, releasing methane.

The increase in greenhouse gases means more warming, causing yet more melting of the permafrost in a “feedback loop”.

UNEP said the potential impact of the“permafrost carbon feedback” needs to be taken into account when calculating temperature rise.

This would mean cuts in carbon would have to be even more ambitious, to make up for the greenhouse gases released by melting permafrost.

UNEP also warned that melting permafrost will cause buildings, roads and bridges to collapse.

Doha: Sea levels to rise by more than 1m by 2100 – Telegraph.


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Slow pace of carbon cuts brings catastrophic climate change closer: UN | Environment |

A dead fish on the bed of a reservoir on the drought-stricken island of Gran Canaria. Europe is already feeling the effects of climate change. Photograph: Borja Suarez/Reuters

The world is straying further away from commitments to combat climate change, bringing the prospect of catastrophic global warming a step closer, a UN report said on Wednesday. The warning came as nearly 200 governments prepare to meet in Qatar for international climate negotiations starting next Monday.

The gap between what world governments have committed to by way of cuts in greenhouse gases and the cuts that scientists say are necessary has widened, but in order to stave off dangerous levels of global warming, it should have narrowed. There is now one-fifth more carbon in the atmosphere than there was in 2000, and there are few signs of global emissions falling, according to the new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep).

The warning of increasing emissions came as fresh evidence was published showing the last decade was the warmest on record for Europe. The European Environment Agency (EEA) said all parts of the region had been affected, with higher rainfall in northern Europe and a drying out in the south, bringing flooding to northern countries including the UK, and droughts to the Mediterranean.

According to the United Nations report, drawing on research from more than 50 scientists, the widening gap between countries’ plans and scientific estimates means that governments must step up their ambitions as a matter of urgency to avoid even worse effects from warming. “The transition to a low-carbon, inclusive green economy is happening far too slowly and the opportunity for meeting [scientific advice on emissions targets] is narrowing annually,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of Unep.

The explicit goal of international policy is to prevent global warming of more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, which scientists say is the limit of safety beyond which climate change is likely to become irreversible and catastrophic. That goal that has been roughly translated as a concentration of carbon in the atmosphere of no more than 450 parts per million. To meet this, governments would have to ensure that no more than 44 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is emitted per year by 2020. The UN’s latest research, published on Wednesday as the Emissions Gap Report 2012, shows that on current trends, emissions by 2020 will be 58 Gt CO2e.

This gap between the cuts needed and the cuts planned brings the prospect of dangerous levels of climate change – entailing more extreme weather including floods, droughts and fiercer storms, such as those witnessed this year – much closer.

Even if countries manage to change direction in time and meet the emissions-cutting targets they have committed to in the past three years, the gap will still be large – about 8 Gt by 2020. To meet scientific advice, countries would have to agree to much bigger curbs on emissions than they have yet done – and there is little chance of that happening at the next round of annual climate negotiations, which begin on Monday in Doha, Qatar. At the fortnight-long talks, ministers are expected to set out a few more details of how they will work towards their agreed plan of drawing up a new global climate change treaty by 2015, to come into effect from 2020.

Despite the slow pace of progress, Steiner said there was still a chance for the world to obey scientific advice. He said: “Bridging the gap remains do-able with existing technologies and policies.” He said many of the measures governments were undertaking, from investments in renewable energy to public transport and higher energy efficiency standards for buildings, were yet to bear fruit, and their effects should start to be seen in the next few years.

But he warned that countries must avoid being “locked in” to high-carbon infrastructure – power stations and buildings constructed today will still be in operation and spewing out carbon decades from now, and that will be unsustainable. It would be cheaper to make sure that all such infrastructure is low-carbon from the start, than to abandon it or refurbish in years to come.

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate official, who will head next week’s talks, said: “Time is running out, but the technical means and the policy tools to allow the world to stay below 2C [of warming] are still available to governments and societies.”

Environmental groups warned that the UN report showed governments were failing. Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy programme at the World Resources Institute, said: “This report is another harsh reminder that the world is simply not moving aggressively enough to tackle the climate challenge. The gap is growing and carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, yet the current pledges and commitments by countries remain sorely inadequate. We are already seeing how climate change – with more extreme weather events, rising seas and more droughts – is taking its toll on people, property and our economy. Without a rapid change in direction, the world is headed more and more firmly down a path to even more severe changes that will be felt around the globe.”

In Europe, the EEA said land temperatures in the decade from 2002 to 2011 were 1.3C warmer than the pre-industrial average. Europe could be between 2.5C and 4C warmer from 2050, according to projections. The study found heat waves have increased in frequency and length, while river droughts have been more severe and frequent in southern Europe. Glaciers in the Alps have lost about two-thirds of their volume since 1850.

Prof Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA, said: “Climate change is a reality around the world, and the extent and speed of change is becoming ever more evident. This means that every part of the economy, including households, needs to adapt as well as reduce emissions.”

via Slow pace of carbon cuts brings catastrophic climate change closer: UN | Environment |

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