Watch: Video Reveals Largest Hydrogen Bomb Ever Exploding

by Chris Haney

Rosatom, a Russian nuclear agency, has revealed a video showing the largest hydrogen bomb ever exploding. The formerly secret 30-minute video from 1961 shows classified footage of the Soviet Union’s Tsar Bomba test. The video highlights the sheer magnitude of the destructive weapon.

Top Secret: Russia’s Hydrogen Bomb

Hydrogen bombs are the world’s most deadly and destructive weapon. Additionally, the bombs have no limitations when it comes to size. To increase the size of an explosion, just add more fuel.

The United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb in 1952. At the time, it was the largest of its kind. Compared to the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, the new hydrogen bomb was 700 times more powerful. However, the United States and Soviet Union raced to build the largest bomb in the world during the Cold War, and the Americans soon fell behind.

“There was a megatonnage race — who was going to have a bigger bomb,” said Robert S. Norris, a historian of the atomic age. “And the Soviets won.”

The explosive force of the Tsar Bomba was 50 megatons, an amount that would equal 50 million tons of standard explosives. In comparison to the American’s largest hydrogen bomb that was 15 megatons, the Soviet’s hydrogen bomb was 3,333 times as destructive as the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Bigger Wasn’t Necessarily Better

The Tsar Bomba’s mushroom cloud was so large that Soviet photographers struggled to capture its full measurements. Although the United States stated that they had the capability to create a similar bomb with equal force, it never materialized.

Instead, both countries started to create smaller hydrogen bombs that were deemed more effective for targeted attacks. They were more convenient since multiple warheads could fit into one missile, and could be carried aboard trucks and submarines. On the other hand, it turned out to be extremely difficult to master the intricacies of the smaller bombs.

Yet there is no denying the intense power of the “big one” engineered by the Russians. From multiple distances and angles, the Tsar Bomba video shows the destruction from afar as the weapon’s enormous mushroom cloud blooms into a fiery inferno.

[H/T NY Times]