A whole bunch of really, really bad ideas (and a few interesting ones that just didn’t work out) are explored in this book of failures. From exploding bats, to giant space mirrors, to the titular nuking of the Moon, Dr. Vince Houghton takes us on a guided tour through the drawing boards (and sometimes frighteningly, the test sites) of some strange ideas. For History and tech buffs, this one is a must read. But it’s also just fun (and scary) if you want good stories well told. Dr. Houghton’s style is conversational and filled with humor. (I actually know Vince, and he’s an excellent storyteller, which is captured here in his writing). He doesn’t drown you in technobabble. He doesn’t talk down to you or past you. You don’t need to be an expert to ‘get’ it.
You’ll recognize some of the names of folks who get wrapped up in these bad ideas, Carl Sagan among them. You’ll remember a few of the headlines that came from them…at least the ones that made a public splash. A few ideas were more victims of timing than of conception, but many should never have been considered, and certainly not funded for any amount of time. I can’t promise this book will help you sleep better, ’cause you know bad ideas are still out there.
Nuking the Moon is a very readable and fun book, with some crazy ideas and bits of history seen from odd angles. It’s well worth checking out.