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What would happen if a nuclear bomb was detonated in space? © Getty Images

What would happen if a nuclear bomb was detonated in space?

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Nuclear bombs devastate their surroundings through the rapid expansion of air, but what happens when one is detonated in the vacuum of space?

Asked by: Anonymous

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When a nuclear bomb explodes on Earth, the huge release of radiation triggers the rapid expansion of air around it, causing the intense blast wave that wreaks so much destruction.

In the vacuum of space, the lack of air means the principal destructive effects come not from the blast, but instead from the particles and radiation pouring out of the bomb, which dump their energy as heat on striking the target.

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Authors

Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.

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