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Star Wars Prequels The Military Technology Science

Peter Kuran:Visual Effects Artist and Atomic Bomb Archivist 37

Lasrick links to this interview with Peter Kuran, an animator of the original Star Wars and legendary visual effects artist, writing If you saw the recent remake of Godzilla, you saw stock footage from Atom Central, known on YouTube as 'the atomic bomb channel.' Atom Central is the brainchild of Kuran, who among his many talents is an expert on archival films of the atmospheric testing era of 1945 to 1963. Combining his film restoration and photography expertise with his interest in nuclear history, he has also produced and directed five documentaries. He is currently working with Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories to preserve and catalog images from the bomb-testing era, and to produce a technical handbook that will help people understand these images and the techniques used to create them.
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Peter Kuran:Visual Effects Artist and Atomic Bomb Archivist

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  • I didn't know the U.S. exploded bombs in space, why?
    • Re: Nukes in Space (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2014 @03:16AM (#48227901)

      Investigation of EMP effects, originally. Multiple effects (asymmetric compton scattering, plasma burst distorting earth magnetic field) would generate an EMP but it wasn't clear exactly how strong it would be; Tests with single devices high over the south pacific disrupting Hawaii confirmed that the EMP from even a low yield weapon would be utterly catastrophic. There was also early interest in nuclear explosive propulsion (c.f. Project Orion) and understanding the behavior of nukes in space was a prerequisite. Also consider the use of nuclear weapons in space to attack satellites, in an era when getting the missile within a few miles was the best that could reasonably be promised; Their behavior in low orbit needed to be known.

      Fortunately for civilization, nobody was ever abysmally stupid enough to start a nuclear war so all the space nukes were thankfully for nought.

      • Just because the US and USSR/Russia got rid of some of their nukes doesn't mean they don't still have plenty. Not to mention the other members of the nuclear club, which now includes the DPRK and possibly Iran.

        So there's still at least some hope for a fiery Armageddon, for those folks who hope for one.

      • Fortunately for civilization, nobody was ever abysmally stupid enough to start a nuclear war so all the space nukes were thankfully for nought.

        Don't worry, Pakistan wont let us down.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Because we fucking well could. We had a shiny new toy and we wanted to play with it. The things we were learning were supposed to usher in a brave new future and in our arrogance we thought we understood and control them. "Oh! It's perfectly safe to explode one of these things in the Van Allen Belt! After all, it's Clean, Atomic, Energy!" That little mess in the pacific pretty much put an end to our fun and games, though. We told the people involved in all that it was safe. A lot of them died of cancer. Oh
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        From Wikipedia:

        The demon core was a 6.2-kilogram (14 lb; 1 st), 3.5-inch-diameter (89 mm) subcritical mass of plutonium which went briefly critical in two separate accidents at the Los Alamos laboratory in 1945 and 1946. Each incident resulted in the acute radiation poisoning and subsequent death of a scientist. After these incidents the spherical plutonium pit was referred to as the "demon core."

        The demon core was used in the first atomic bomb test to be conducted after World War II, five weeks after t

    • There were reasons to pursue such programs, although at least one fortunately never worked. There was a US "Star Wars" missile defense program involving fission bomb triggered X-Ray lasers. I'm afraid the design was quite useless for defense, the tracking system would have had to be much better than anything currently available. The design would also be completely useless as defense technologies, since they can't reach lower trajectory weapons such as drones or cruise missiles, and the larger missiles can u

  • I've recently went through quite a bit of footage of nuclear bomb tests. This started due to working on a slideshow regarding the bombing of Hiroshima, for YouTube which is here: [] It's set to the song/poem "I Come And Stand At Every Door", which is about Hiroshima and the larger picture of nuclear war. If you're into poetry or folk music, or just want to see before & after pictures of a bomb blast, you can click.
  • Mushroom cloud, that is


  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Saturday October 25, 2014 @12:28PM (#48229475)
    I'm still impressed by the extremely fast photos taken of early nuclear tests - so fast that they show the guy wires on the test towers being vaporized []. I think it's way cool that we had the technology to take those photos way back in the 1940s.
  • There's a whole field of opportunity for this guy: restoration of footage from Nagasaki and or Hiroshima years and years since.
    Destruction, deformities, and a host of other de-ities.

  • I've been studying the history of rocketry and nuclear science for years and never did I come across this YouTube channel before, thank you! The Starfish Prime video is particularly amazing, but then they all are.

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