Wired for Space
The newly declassified materials show the US Air Force had a contract with a now-defunct Canadian company to build an aircraft unlike anything seen before. Project 1794 got as far as the initial rounds of product development and into prototype design. In a memo dating from 1956 the results from pre-prototype testing are summarised and reveal exactly what the developers had hoped to create.
The saucer was supposed to reach a top speed of “between Mach 3 and Mach 4, a ceiling of over 100,000 ft. (30,480 metres) and a maximum range with allowances of about 1,000 nautical miles (1,850 kilometres),” according to the document.
Plans to send robot probes to the Moon:
Europe and Russia plan to send a moon-drilling robot to Earth’s satellite in 2020, where it will penetrate the north or south poles and return with frozen soil samples.
The Lunar Polar Sample Return mission ideally hopes to dig for samples in craters, where two-billion-year-old impacts have left deep materials nearer the surface.
However, until the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has the technology to do so, they are limited to only drilling in areas where the surface is permanently illuminated by the sun.
And the crazier plans for the Moon – including sending a nuke up there to show off a bit:
After the early Soviet successes in the Space Race, the US wanted to come up with something dramatic to show everyone who was the most macho imperial space country on this planet. The US Air Force developed a top-secret project codenamed A119 that proposed detonating a nuclear bomb on the lunar surface. As completely crazy as it sounds, the project went on for many years, even roping a young Carl Sagan in to explore the effects of a nuclear explosion in low gravity.