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 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?

How Suicide Bombers Work

Suicide bombings are chillingly logical. By hiding explosives on a willing carrier, individuals smuggle death into densely populated areas. But are these bombers strictly a modern phenomenon?

How Napalm Works

You may have thought militaries stopped using napalm after the Vietnam War thanks to the United Nations, but this incendiary weapon lives on in modern warfare. Has it also been used in Iraq?

How IEDs Work

Whether you call it a homemade bomb, a booby trap or an improvised explosive device, an IED is simple to make, easily hidden and extraordinarily destructive. Why are these deadly devices one of the No. 1 killers of soldiers in Iraq.

Why does the Army have a Javelin missile simulator?

Javelin missiles cost up to $80,000 each. So how does the U.S. Army afford to train its soldiers to fire them?

How Nuclear Detectives Work

Do you feel your job is unfulfilling? Maybe you should consider becoming a nuclear detective. These modern Sherlocks might just stop nuclear war from happening.

Is it worse to be near an explosion on land or in water?

Taking a hit from an explosion probably isn't on your to-do list. But if blasts were all around you, would water or land stop your lungs from imploding?

Fallout Shelter Pictures

Fallout shelters were once all the rage during the height of the Cold War in America. This gallery depicts some of the most common features of fallout shelters.

How Blast-resistant Clothing Works

Your most rugged pair of blue jeans can't hold a candle to the cutting-edge blast-resistant clothing and technology. Sure, these fabrics are tough, but can they diffuse bomb blasts?

How did the U.S. shoot down its spy satellite?

An out-of-control satellite was headed for Earth. Shooting it down could save lives, but was it all just a ruse to test anti-satellite defenses?