Ingeniously Charting The Horrifying Power Of Today's Nuclear Bombs

The mushroom cloud of Russia’s biggest nuke was 8 times the height of Mt. Everest. This infographic will give you a visceral feel for that that means.

It was called the Tsar Bomba, but the Russians nicknamed it the Kuz’kina Mat—or what roughly translates to the "We’ll Show You." This 50,000-kiloton hydrogen bomb was the largest detonated nuke ever, and it’s considered the most powerful man-made creation in history.

Heck, it was immensely powerful on the galactic scale. If you built a bomb of the same size and shape from the material in the sun’s core, it would take 10 million years to generate the same amount of energy.

The human mind simply can’t fathom the numbers, but this extra-long infographic by Maximilian Bode , a former art director at The New Yorker, begins to put the Tsar Bomba into perspective, at least in terms of other nukes. It gives you, even just sitting at your desk, a sense of the horrifying scale of the bombs we’ve made. Working your way from the top, you can see how tiny Little Boy and Fat Man were—the devastating nukes that the US dropped on Japan during WWII. If you’ve ever seen media of the aftermath, you might be able to grasp some of the mass horror of those weapons. But they were tiny in comparison to Tsar Bomba. Tsar Bomba was 1,400 times more powerful than Little Boy and Fat Man, combined.

Scrolling through the image, seeing red square after red square as your fingers grow tired, begins to scale the true terror of the nuclear arms race between the US and Russia. We didn’t just decipher how to make nuclear weapons; we’d mastered them.

When Tsar Bomba was dropped, the fireball had a 5-mile diameter that reached over 6 miles into the sky. From 62 miles away, the heat could still give you third degree burns. Windows were broken 560 miles away.

Now consider this: Russia had actually planned to build Tsar Bomba twice as large, but they opted not to in order to reduce nuclear fallout.

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