Video: Five volunteers stand under an atom bomb as it detonates

We now know what an atomic bomb really sounds like. So what does it feel and look like? In June of 1957, five Air Force officers found out, volunteering to stand directly under an exploding two-kiloton nuclear warhead. They narrate the whole thing, live.

The test was carried out by the U.S. Air Force, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It was meant to demonstrate the "relative" safety of low-grade nuclear exchanges to an increasingly anxious Cold War public.

Along for the test was one reported non-volunteer, cameraman George Yoshitake, who captured the whole thing at ground level (check out the footage below).

Specifically, the test was of a two-kiloton nuclear missile, fired from an F-89 Scorpion, exploding some 18,500 feet above after being intercepted by a second jet. (The video states that it happened 10,000 feet above, but the government's official numbers state the explosion was at the higher altitude).

To put this "low-grade" explosion in some context: the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had blast yields of 16 kilotons and 21 kilotons, respectively.

The footage shows the five enthusiastic Air Force officers standing next to a handwritten sign that reads "Ground Zero. Population: 5." The explosion happens overhead and turns the sky black before the boom of the event hits the six men, which they joyfully describe as "tremendous."

The Jackass crew of the nuclear age.


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