This BBC documentary, titled “To Mars By A-Bomb – The Secret History of Project Orion“, is one of the most fascinating 60 minute films I’ve seen so far this year. It tells the story of Project Orion, an incredible Cold War project to launch a 10,000 tonne spacecraft into space by setting off small yield nuclear bombs underneath it.
It sounds like science fiction but in the late 1950s, this was a serious program run by NASA, and it came a lot closer to happening than many people realise. The project was run by George Dyson who features heavily in this documentary, telling the history of the still partially classified NASA program in his own words.
If you like this sort of thing I suggest you grab a strong cup of coffee and hit play, you’ll be glad you did.