After the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union became the two major super powers. Both countries remained in a constant arms race until the end of the Cold War. During this period, both nations rapidly modernized and developed new weapons, especially atomic bombs.
The ‘Tsar Bomba’ is just one of these examples. Originally known as the RDS-220 project, Tsar Bomba was a hydrogen bomb that was tested by the Soviets on 30th October 1961. The bomb is the most powerful explosive ever detonated. It was originally designed to have a yield equal to 100 megatons of TNT, but to reduce the amount of nuclear fallout, the design was slightly modified to decrease the overall energy yield of the bomb by half. Another reason to do this was to increase the survival chances of the pilots that were going to drop the bomb in the testing area.
Some interesting and shocking facts about the Tsar Bomb:
- The prototype of the bomb that was detonated, had an energy yield of 50 megatons.
- The bomb was developed from 1954-1961.
- Tsar Bomba had a length of 8m and a diameter of about 2.1m.
- The bomb weighed about 27000kg.
- It had about 10 times more energy than all of the non-nuclear explosives used in World War II.
- It was 1570 times more powerful than the combined power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
- Also, the bomb is estimated to have about 10% of the combined energy yield of all the nuclear tests done to date.
- The bomb was dropped from a modified Soviet Tu-95 bomber aircraft.
- The aircraft was redesigned so that it could carry the massive bomb.
- The pilots were given a 50% chance of survival.
- There was a chance of them crashing or getting burnt by the heat and shockwave produced by the blast.
- The bomb was dropped by the Tu-95 and it detonated mid-air over the Sukhoy Nos island, a Russian nuclear testing site. On the return flight, about 35km away from the test area, the Tu-95 dropped from the blast shockwaves. The pilot, however, was able to gain control of the aircraft. Both aircrafts, the Tu-95 and the Tu-16 which was tasked with taking pictures, were able to return safely.
- The bomb explosion produced a fireball that was about 8km wide and 10.5km in height.
- The mushroom cloud produced by the bomb was about 67km high.
- The mushroom cloud had a peak width of 95km and a base width of 40km.
- The heat of the explosion was so severe that it could’ve caused third degree burns to anyone within 100km.
- Nearby uninhabited villages were completely destroyed by the bomb.
- The bomb produced shockwaves equivalent to a 5-5.25 magnitude earthquake.
- Windows of buildings located upto 900km away broke as a result of the shockwaves.
- Reportedly, no one died from the explosion as it was conducted in a very remote area with no population at all.
The Tsar Bomb was developed as a weapon that could cause unimaginable and devastating damage. Looking at its power, it should be a reminder to us about how deadly nuclear weapons can be. Countries that possess nuclear bombs should realize about the destruction nuclear weapons can cause. Especially India and Pakistan, who have already fought 3 wars with each other and are frequently escalating things between themselves. All countries possessing nuclear weapons should opt for disarmament