Soviet Tsar Bomba – The King of Bombs

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1st November 1952, US government scientists in the Marshall Islands press the button that ushers in a new era of explosive power. The age of the thermonuclear H-bomb. This bomb is one thousand times more powerful than the atomic fission bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unlike those bombs that created energy by splitting nuclei in a process called fission, this weapon forces the nuclei of hydrogen atom together. This is nuclear fusion. High explosive first initiates a fission reaction, this creates super high temperatures. In the intense heat the hydrogen nuclei fuse to form helium, this releases a huge amount of energy and creates a massive explosion.

Thanks to the H-bomb the United States leads the arms race, but not for long.

30th October 1961 a Soviet bomber flies towards a remote island in the Arctic Circle, on board a special cargo, a 27 tonne hydrogen bomb. This is the king of bombs, the Tsar Bomba. At 8.33am GMT, the Soviet Union sets a new and terrifying record. The Tsar bomb explodes with 38 times more power than the Hiroshima bomb. The fireball is seen over 600 miles away, shockwaves circle the Earth three times. This is the greatest manmade explosion in human history. It heralds an age of mutually assured destruction in which there are enough nuclear bombs to destroy humanity many times over. It’s a threat that despite countless treaties and agreements continues to this day.

Clip taken from the Naked Science documentary “Explosive Force”.

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