Popular Science

The double-hinged door between astrophysics and the military

Excerpt: Accessory to War
tarantula nebula

Supernovae remnants are visible in the top left of this 1999 image of the Tarantula nebula. Whether bombs or supernovae, both astrophysicists and the military have a motivation to study explosions.

One notable twentieth-century result of the countless alliances between astrophysics and the military is the thermonuclear fusion bomb, whose design principles arise in part from the astrophysicist’s investigations of the cosmic crucible that occupies the center of every star. A less explosive example, from our own century, is the ChemCam instrument (short for Chemistry and Camera) atop the , which began

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