also love the fact that his voice kinda sounds like that of George HW Bush.
First landing on the moon? July 20, 1969. First satellite launch? January 31, 1958. 11 years, 5 months, and 20 days.
If you look at the early space programme it can really be seen as a set of milestones directly aimed at the manned moon landing - orbital manned flight with safe landing (Mercury), two-man operation (Gemini), space suits, EVA, docking, and so on.
Von Braun was interested in astronomy and space exploration well before the war. He is quoted as saying "the rocket worked perfectly, except for landing on the wrong planet." - referring to the Sept 7 1944 launch. In essence it was a peaceful rocket turned into an ICBM and thankfully later on returned to its peaceful status.
And on a side note: imagine being Von Braun after the US handed him the keys to their state of the art space program with a cold war sized budget. Beyond a dream come true.
Luckiest man in the war. He could have been killed in any number of ways during the war, he managed to surrender to the Allies and not the Soviets, and they chose not to hold him responsible for the 12,000 slave labour deaths of the V2 programme. Not all the beneficiaries of slave labour did so well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Sauckel
As Tom Lehrer sang , "'Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department,' says Wernher von Braun."
The real problem with returning to the space race was that it was fundamentally a public sector project. People seem to forget that it was the state that put a man on the moon. In 2018 the key question for such projects would be not "how can we benefit humanity" but "who gets to keep the profit"?
It's not like the Apollo program was the space equivalent of a state owned rail system -- capable of making money for the first private owner to take it over. It was always "in the red" if you measure such things in business terms. People twist themselves in knots trying (IMO) to assign dubious "spinoff" benefits, with dollar signs attached, to NASA work.
Give up on trying to justify all scientific research in the vocabulary of business, I say. I support public funding for space probes, astronomy, high energy physics, and all sorts of other things that expand the frontiers of human knowledge without being likely to generate new commercial products or profits.
see soviet union section for their equivalent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceful_nuclear_explosion
Cooler coastal air could be drawn into California's dry, hot inland valleys by blasting a number of large, artificial passes through mountain ranges up and down the state.
And atomic explosions could ameliorate intense traffic problems in Los Angeles not only by conveniently creating new passes through the Santa Monica mountains for new multilane highways between the Valley and the West Side, but also as a means of clearing gridlocked intersections.
Can you imagine trying to justify this project to the public? It would be a nightmare: "Nuclear explosions planned outside Los Angeles"... it would likely trigger a mini-freakout.
I would be interested in their research on this, from a purely curious standpoint.
But what physical material is ejected from a nuclear explosion and can it create a pressure wave? I was under the impression that the main component of a nuclear explosion is heat. Lots and lots of heat in the form of photon energy in a rainbow of EM spectrum. The destructive pressure wave is a result of the air/material around the detonation being violently heated to millions of degrees in mere microseconds.
Of course even in the vacuum of space anything within "ground zero" (can you say that in space?) of a nuclear explosion will still vaporize, producing expanding gases which can create a pressure wave. This is how I imagine a nuclear "asteroid buster" would have to work. The bomb would have to be on the surface or damn close to vaporize material from the object to influence its trajectory.
Note that I said "normal" nuclear weapon. ;-) The Atomic Rocketship page describes something called a Casaba Howitzer. This is basically a shaped charge version of a nuke, that discharges its energy in a beam or cone shape. Details beyond that are still classified.
Anyway, there's more than you ever wanted to know here:
Search within that page for "nuclear" or "Casaba" and have fun.
 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=kinetic+energy+of+the+...
(This was proposed as a way to move the Earth out of the path of an approaching body, given enough warning, without actually having to reach the much-further-away approaching body, and alter its path.)
I don't really see it as all that different than drilling for a core sample, except in scale, but that scale still doesn't affect anything, so I'm not sure it matters.
What sets my eyes rolling is the midcentury enthusiasm for setting off nukes wherever we could possibly put them. I bet there were people thinking about nukes under the antarctic ice cap, in a volcano, a major fault, a hurricane's eye...
Maynard: Mr. President, I'm here to bring you up to speed on a program we've been running out of Cheyenne Mountain for the past seven years.
Hayes: I've already had my top secret briefing.
Maynard: Yes, Mr. President. But not this. Mr. President, for the past seven years the United States Air Force has been sending teams to other planets by means of an alien device known as a "star gate".
Hayes: That's funny. That's very funny. My first day. This is a joke, right? I have a great sense of humor—I didn't know that you had one—but this is good because we're finding out about each other. Now I have to call the ex-President of Togo, and when I'm done, apparently, the rest of the world is coming to an end.
Maynard: The ex-President of Togo will have to wait, sir. This is not a joke.