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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 the Star Wars Program Didn't Work

Back in 1983 when the Cold War was in full swing, the U.S. was looking for an effective new tactic to deter a nuclear strike. The "Star Wars" missile defensive initiative, however, wasn't it. Why not?


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. See more »

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. See more »

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. See more »

Russia Once Built a Doomsday Device Nicknamed 'Dead Hand'

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

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. See more »

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. See more »

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? See more »

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. See more »

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. See more »

How the Star Wars Program Didn't Work

Back in 1983 when the Cold War was in full swing, the U.S. was looking for an effective new tactic to deter a nuclear strike. The "Star Wars" missile defensive initiative, however, wasn't it. Why not? See more »