||As detailed elsewhere
on this website, during 1958 and 1959 the US Air Force studied project
A119 which called for the explosion of a nuclear weapon on the surface
of the Moon. This project remained secret until 2000, when Leonard Reiffel,
a former scientist of the Illinois Institute of Technology revealed its
One report (AFSWC TR-59-39) was produced by the Armour
Research Foundation of the Illinois Institute of Technology on the scientific
aspects of the project, and I was able to obtain its first volume from
the Kirtland AFB FOIA office.
This volume is now available in PDF version by clicking
on the cover at left. (NOTE: the second volume is apparently unavailable
either from Kirtland AFB and the Illinois Institute of Technology)
In fact, the report reveals very little on the A119
project and the main reason of its interest is that it provides an overview
of lunar science at the very early days of lunar exploration.
Some parts make for a good reading even today. Chapter
IV in particular, details the knowledge to be gained from seismic studies
on the surface on the Moon. Chapter VIII, on the possible presence of organic
matter on the Moon, betrays the association of a young Carl Sagan with
As a final remark, it is worth noting that the report
does not carry any "secret" marking!