US detonated a nuclear bomb in space in 1962

Sleeping last night was a bit hard with all the fireworks exploding around my house for the holiday. All those blasts paled in comparison to one the U.S. government set off about this time way back in 1962. Scientists sent a massive hydrogen bomb into space about 250 miles above the surface of the Earth and blew it up.

The test had some strange goals, one of which was to see if a nuclear blast at that level could hide incoming missiles. The oddest goal though was supposedly to see if a blast could alter the natural shape of the Van Allen belts.

Photos from the tests have recently been declassified, but in 1962 if you were in Hawaii, you had a front row seat. The bomb used was 1000 times more powerful than the one that hit Hiroshima. The blast turned the atmosphere into colored flashes that could be seen across the pacific.