operation argus

Operation Argus may seem an oddity, but an article at Air & Space Smithsonian, “Oldies & Oddities: Homebuilt Radiation Belt“, makes clear it still has implications today. Nicholas Christofilos, a greek elevator engineer turned nuclear physicist, often referred to as “the Crazy Greek”, theorized how a shield could be artificially made by nuclear explosions. “He suggested that an atomic explosion in space could generate a vast flux of electrons, which would form a shell of energy over Earth, a phenomenon that became known as the ‘Christofilos effect.’
Christofilos’s theory resulted in Lockheed X-17A three-stage missiles, carrying 1.7-kiloton warheads being fired from the USS Norton Sound in the south Atlantic on August 27, 30 and September 6th, 1958. “The electron belts created by the experiments were too weak and transitory to do much damage to enemy missiles that would pass through them at thousands of miles per hour.” The research proved disappointing and possibly a source for Christofilos’s nickname.
Fifty years later, strategists are revisiting the research and the Crazy Greek doesn’t seem quite so crazy. The article concludes even a rogue state could launch a low yield nuke and detonate it over its territory, creating a Christofilos effect to cripple satellites of technically superior rivals! You may enter the Cold War-Era of Dr. Strangelove by viewing Operation Argus 1958 vintage Atomic Bomb Film on You Tube.

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