YouTuber simulates the US military's secret space weapon

How powerful is it really?
Loukia Papadopoulos

In the late 1950s, the Soviet Union launched its first artificial satellite into orbit: Sputnik. Just over a month before this famous event, the nation had also successfully tested the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The weapon had the power to deliver a nuclear warhead from the Soviet Union to cities in the U.S. east coast in under 30 minutes. Because of this threat, a researcher at Boeing called Jerry Pournelle came up with an even more impressive invention.

He conceived of a space weapon that could hit any area on earth in 15 minutes (half the time of ICBMs) and could even potentially intercept an ICBM midway to its destination. It also most notably could destroy targets buried 30 meters in the ground which is where the Soviet Union kept its nukes.

Pournelle called the weapon Project Thor, after the God of thunder.

What was this monstrous weapon? How did it work? Did the U.S. ever have to use it? Have we invented anything more powerful since? YouTuber Veritasium answers all these questions and even tests out a smaller version of the weapon for good measure. 

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