Explosives

Get the science behind the inner workings of bombs, missiles and handheld weapons, including grenades. Learn how they work and how they are used to inflict maximum damage.

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How Smart Bombs Work

Smart bombs can navigate their own way to specific ground targets with startling accuracy, even in poor weather conditions. Find out how JDAMs and other smart bombs automatically find and hit their targets.


How to Survive a Nuclear Attack

Sheltering in place could give you the best chance of surviving a nuclear attack.

The Mother of All Bombs is Big But It's No Nuke

The MOAB is the largest nonnuclear bomb ever used by the U.S. So what makes it OK to drop this bomb and not a nuclear warhead? We dive in to find out.

Using Glowing Bacteria and Lasers to Detect Landmines

With tens of millions of active landmines still buried around the globe, scientists are looking for efficient and safe methods to remove them.

The Simple Difference Between Ballistic Missiles and Cruise Missiles

Despite the phrase "going ballistic," the term "ballistic" refers to how a missile travels through the air, not its explosive capability.

Russia Once Built a Doomsday Device Nicknamed 'Dead Hand'

How did it work? Is it still around? The BrainStuff team investigates.

10 Terrorist Plots That Failed

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an estimated 54 other attacks on the U.S. have failed. And these are only the ones we know about. Some, like the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, live on in infamy. Others are more obscure.

How Controlled Detonations Work

It's a delicate, hair-raising business that usually ends in triumph, but can, in certain circumstances, end in tragedy. Welcome to the world of a bomb squad technician. It's explosive.

How does the military intercept missiles?

In 2013, North Korea said it had readied missiles for potential strikes on U.S. military bases. The U.S. government said it was ready to intercept them. But what does that really mean?

Can you really outrun an explosion?

"Die Hard" films' John McClane (not to mention a long line of other Hollywood action heroes) never met an explosion he couldn't outrun. In real life, it's not so easy to sprint away from a blast.

How Bomb-sniffing Dogs Work

Unless you're a pyromaniac, you probably have no idea what explosives smell like. Find out how these super sniffers risk life and paw to protect the public in How Bomb-sniffing Dogs Work.