Simulate the End of the World With This Interactive Map of U.S. Nuclear Targets
With President Obama visiting Hiroshima and the Republican frontrunner calling for Japan and South Korea to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, the specter of atomic warfare is just about as present as its ever been. A new website from The Future of Life Institute shows-with brutal efficiency-what the fallout from an American nuke would look like for the rest of the world. It’s not pretty.
Nuclear maps have been made before, but the FLI wanted to make it as modern as possible, with as many hypotheticals as you could ever hope to play out, so they’ve used a recently declassified list of American nuclear targets from 1956. While the targets have presumably changed since then, the wide-ranging list stretches across Europe and Asia.
The site runs through a series of grim hypotheticals, such as letting all 1,100 targets get blasted on the same day, which, perhaps to no great surprise, leads to a nuclear winter and the death of all life on Earth. Detonating on separate dates and shows how the wind and weather could change the death count and the countries afflicted, specifically how the fallout would end up hurting countries that weren’t even the initial targets of the attacks.
Cleverly, the FLI also allows the user to select from “hall of fame,” as it were, of famous nuclear missiles that you can select for your simulated strikes. So you can what it would be like for anything from the Fat Man to the Tsar Bomba to devastate any given target. It’s a fascinating and chilling illustration of the horrific potential for death that is sitting in our nuclear arsenals. Let’s just hope these strikes are never anything more than hypothetical.