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Can a nuclear bomb explode in space?

Attila Proper 2009/02/04 04:38:51
The 7-11 dude is right.  Nuclear bombs blast just fine in space.
It depends.  Whose askin?
Nope.  You need the right chemicals to make stuff explode and air is one of them.
Is a bear Catholic?  Does the Pope poop in the woods?
Attila has finally proven himself a total dorko.  What a stupid question.
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I always wonder about this but when I ask, I get conflicting answers.

Hollywood and this dude at 7-11 says atomic bombs will work fine in space but don't these bombs need Oxygen, Hydrogen and other stuff from our atmosphere?
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  • will 2009/11/22 07:14:50
    None of the above
    will
    +1
    yes nuclear war heads explode with fission not combustion
  • Attila ... will 2009/11/22 21:53:35
    Attila Proper
    Oh gads. How obvious.
  • GOD 2009/03/17 17:08:37
    None of the above
    GOD
    +1
    a nuclear bomb would need to have oxygen to explode, BUT if you were to use an Atomic Bomb I do believe it would explode in space because it doesn't use FIRE like all other bombs. FIRE needs oxygen or else it can't burn, BUT an atomic bomb just splits the atom in two, so therefore the theory of a bomb in space is IMPOSSIBLE, UNLESS you use an atomic bomb.(no oxygen needed)
  • Attila ... GOD 2009/03/17 18:56:26
    Attila Proper
    Thank God someone answered with that! I figured one needed air because of the obvious but never for sure about the Atomic version. But don't you use a conventional explosive to separate the Atom? How does it explode? I can't believe I can't find some definitive answer on Google.
  • Attila ... 2012/11/18 00:53:23
    +2
    Bombs don't really need oxygen to explode , they are anaerobic ( burn without air ) just like a shuttle engine that doesn't need pressured air like a turbo jet does . Bombs usually need air to push it . So is this air pressed shock wave that does the biggest damage . so bombs would work in space but are not very effective . In the other hand nuclear bombs and atomic ones which basically are the same thing would work like a giant microwave in space , they can't blow up objects that are , lets presume ( 1/ 10 of the distance of damage they would do in earth ) but if a spaceship is close enough it would be slightly pushed but probably melted instantly without even moving much .
  • GOD 2012/11/18 00:53:32 (edited)
    +1
    Bombs don't really need oxygen to explode , they are anaerobic ( burn without air ) just like a shuttle engine that doesn't need pressured air like a turbo jet does . Bombs usually need air to push it . So is this air pressed shock wave that does the biggest damage . so bombs would work in space but are not very effective . In the other hand nuclear bombs and atomic ones which basically are the same thing would work like a giant microwave in space , they can't blow up objects that are , lets presume ( 1/ 10 of the distance of damage they would do in earth ) but if a spaceship is close enough it would be slightly pushed but probably melted instantly without even moving much . GOD you presumably created every thing but you are still so wrong .. lol
  • Simmering Frog 2009/02/04 04:41:27 (edited)
    The 7-11 dude is right. Nuclear bombs blast just fine in space.
    Simmering Frog
    +1

    The government actually exploded one in space during the 1950s according to declassified documents. Isn't that nice? It was mentioned in the Atomic Bomb movie narrated by William Shatner.
  • Attila ... Simmeri... 2009/02/04 05:04:13
    Attila Proper
    On the edge of the atmosphere or out there? I mean, how does it explode without Oxygen and Hydrogen? Doesn't the explosion live by eating atmosphere?
  • Simmeri... Attila ... 2009/02/04 05:10:55
    Simmering Frog
    +1
    I don't really know but it's the splitting of the atom not an abundance of oxygen that causes the explosion. Atomic bombs explode under water but you be hard to find an abundance of oxygen under water to feed an explosion. Honestly, I don't really know.
  • Attila ... Simmeri... 2009/02/04 05:24:34
    Attila Proper
    I looked it up once and got a scientific answer but I still didn't get it. Maybe enough element is trapped within the field to react or whatever.

    I was hoping an egghead would drop by and make a fool of me so I could finally get it.
  • RobertK... Attila ... 2010/04/15 06:37:18
    RobertKarwacki
    +2
    Fear no more, an egghead has arrived to make a fool out of you!

    First of all conventional (non-nuclear) explosives fall into two broad categories:
    -Those that combust, i.e. react with oxygen or some other oxidizer. Examples include gunpowder, hydrogen and gasoline.
    -Those that detonate, i.e. the chemical bonds within the molecules of the explosive break apart, thus releasing energy. Examples include TNT, dynamite, or C-4.

    Notice that detonating explosives like TNT and C-4 DO NOT require oxygen or any other outside reagent, so they can explode under water or in outer space.

    Nuclear weapons (also known as atomic weapons) come in two varieties:
    -Fission (atomic bomb is used mostly to describe pure fission bombs)
    -Fusion (aka hydrogen bomb or thermonuclear bomb)

    Fission bomb works by splitting atoms. The nature of atoms is such that when you split an atom of any element heavier than iron, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation. As a rule of thumb the heavier the element is the easier it is to split and more energy is released, which is why uranium and plutonium are used as nuclear fuel (Iron has an atomic number of 26, lead 82, uranium and plutonium 92 and 94 respectively - by the way an atomic number is a measure of an element's heaviness, in case you didn't know).

    ...











    Fear no more, an egghead has arrived to make a fool out of you!

    First of all conventional (non-nuclear) explosives fall into two broad categories:
    -Those that combust, i.e. react with oxygen or some other oxidizer. Examples include gunpowder, hydrogen and gasoline.
    -Those that detonate, i.e. the chemical bonds within the molecules of the explosive break apart, thus releasing energy. Examples include TNT, dynamite, or C-4.

    Notice that detonating explosives like TNT and C-4 DO NOT require oxygen or any other outside reagent, so they can explode under water or in outer space.

    Nuclear weapons (also known as atomic weapons) come in two varieties:
    -Fission (atomic bomb is used mostly to describe pure fission bombs)
    -Fusion (aka hydrogen bomb or thermonuclear bomb)

    Fission bomb works by splitting atoms. The nature of atoms is such that when you split an atom of any element heavier than iron, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation. As a rule of thumb the heavier the element is the easier it is to split and more energy is released, which is why uranium and plutonium are used as nuclear fuel (Iron has an atomic number of 26, lead 82, uranium and plutonium 92 and 94 respectively - by the way an atomic number is a measure of an element's heaviness, in case you didn't know).

    The trick with the fission bomb is how to split the atoms. The most common way of doing this is the implosion method. A uranium core in the shape of a sphere is surrounded by conventional explosives. To detonate the bomb the explosives are set off, the uranium core compresses and achieves critical mass and a chain reaction starts. An atom is hit by a stray neutron causing the atom to split. This releases energy but also produces more stray neutrons which hit other atoms, and so on and so forth.

    A fusion bomb works in reverse, it combines (or fuses) two atoms to form an atom of a heavier element. Again the rule of thumb is that elements lighter than iron release energy when they fuse, and the lighter the element the more energy is released, which is why fusion bombs use hydrogen (the lightest of the elements) as their fuel.

    There are several ways to get the hydrogen atoms to fuse, but the easiest way to do it is to bombard them with energy released by a fission bomb. A typical hydrogen bomb consists of a fission bomb next to the hydrogen. When the fission bomb explodes it gives the hydrogen atoms enough kinetic energy that when two of them collide they fuse to form helium, and huge amounts of energy are released.

    It is important to note that a nuclear hydrogen bomb DOES NOT work through combustion, i.e. hydrogen reacting with oxygen in the atmosphere. Such a reaction can be quite powerful - note the Hindenburg. But of course the Hindenburg disaster pales in comparison with a nuclear detonation.

    So in short, nuclear weapons and even conventional explosives can explode in outer space. As a matter of fact the sun and all the other stars are huge fusion reactors. Hydrogen constantly fuses to create helium, and helium then fuses to create heavier elements, and so on (though pretty much all of the energy the sun releases comes from hydrogen fusion).

    HOWEVER, the effects of those explosions are different in outer space. The destruction caused by nukes is mostly due to the blast (a pressure wave caused by the explosion) and thermal wave of heat. Both of these phenomena require air to propagate through. Thus a nuclear explosion will only give off electromagnetic radiation.

    To be honest I just stumbled here by accident, but when reading some of the responses I decided to jump in. Hope this helps. If you have more questions, feel free to ask.
    (more)
  • Attila ... RobertK... 2010/04/15 07:11:11
    Attila Proper
    Cool. You filled in the blanks.

    This is how I went wrong: first, we used to hear that scientists involved in the first atomic explosion were concerned with an unstoppable atmospheric reaction where the explosion just kept eating atmosphere until the planet fried or suffocated. Next, I thought I always knew that the initial explosion was triggered by oxygen dependent conventional explosives.

    Anyway, as you can see around here, I searched for the final, expanded explanation of how we can nuke inbound alien invaders while they hang in orbit and do all sorts of slobbery, gooey alienesque stuff.
  • LE-ROCK RobertK... 2011/02/17 09:52:05
    LE-ROCK
    +1
    Wow.that was intense! You have answered alot of very important question for me. Now i just have one more. If a nuclear bomb was to go off in space would the blast then undergo nuclear fusion? Because like you said the effects of a nuclear bomb is different in outter space. If so,would that then create a potential star?
  • Allen F... RobertK... 2011/08/03 01:08:51
    Allen Fisher
    This is a question for the person that answered this post, I am very intrested in this subject and was wandering if you could point me in the right direction to research this in depth. My e-mail is allen0300@yahoo.com.
  • Chark RobertK... 2012/03/02 01:16:17
    Chark
    +2
    I made an account just to say, this is an amazing response. you would fit in great at /r/askscience
  • chisfor... Simmeri... 2009/03/09 18:08:18
    chisfordave
    +1
    Are you kidding? H(Hydrogen)2, O(Oxygen) = The chemical make up of water. :) There is plenty of Oxygen in water. Sorry, I don't have an answer, but I was wondering the same thing and that's what brought me here. I'm gonna go find the truth! Peace.
  • Attila ... chisfor... 2009/03/10 14:57:59
    Attila Proper
    +1
    Yeah man! The answer seems simple but I have never had the explanation. Like, there's no fire in space. If you wanted a controlled reaction to run an machine, you might pump Hydrogen into a reaction containment unit. Or whatever. I don't know. But a bomb like in the movies?!! Not getting it.

    My understanding of the atomic explosion is that it eats atmosphere as it reacts. The amount of atmosphere it eats depends on the size of the bomb. Its just a chemical reaction. But this one must work in a vacuum.
  • chisfor... Attila ... 2009/03/23 21:55:39 (edited)
    chisfordave
    +1
    here you go. i think this might help :) Click this link----->>>>
    How would a nuclear explosion look in space?
  • Attila ... chisfor... 2009/03/24 23:51:17
    Attila Proper
    Yeah - that helps at least somewhat.
  • chisfor... Attila ... 2009/04/01 17:51:03
    chisfordave
    +1
    Sorry, bro. It's confusing, I know :D
  • Attila ... chisfor... 2009/04/01 17:58:06
    Attila Proper
    +1
    Well, I keep looking at the first reaction. I know the two elements really hate the same space and therein drives the violence of the combination. But its their effect on their environment that makes the reaction violent. The space environment lacks the things I understand to be needed to make that reaction violent.

    I guess me noggin too small.
  • chisfor... Attila ... 2009/04/13 17:36:20
    chisfordave
    +1
    i think there's only one way to find out for sure.... anybody got a nuke and a spaceship? lol
  • chisfor... chisfor... 2009/04/13 17:38:32
    chisfordave
    +1
    i know that's not helpful...sorry. i know how it can be when something is racking your brain. i'll dig some more.

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