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.

Fire Away! 'Star Wars' Missile Defense Quiz

In 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced a new plan for protecting against a nuclear strike: the Strategic Defense Initiative. Reagan's idea almost immediately earned the unwelcome nickname "Star Wars." How much do you know about the program?

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  • Buzz Bomb

    Buzz Bomb

    Buzz Bomb, a nickname for the German V-1 pilotless airplane. See more »

  • Catapult


    Catapult, a device that throws objects through the air. In ancient and medieval times, the catapult was a military weapon. See more »

  • Depth Charge

    Depth Charge

    Depth Charge, a device for sinking submarines. It consists of an explosive, usually weighing about 500 pounds (225 kg), inside a steel drum. See more »

  • Grenade


    Grenade, a small time-fuze bomb. Some are designed to be thrown by hand. The rifle grenade is launched by firing a blank cartridge in a rifle with a special adapter. See more »

  • Mine


    Mine, in warfare, an explosive charge used as a weapon on land and at sea. It is a defensive weapon used to obstruct or delay enemy movements. See more »

  • Missiles and Rockets

    Missiles and Rockets

    Missiles and rockets are devices designed to travel in air or outer space, propelled by the force of expanding gases. See more »

  • Nuclear Weapons

    Nuclear Weapons

    Nuclear Weapons, explosive weapons that gain their explosive power from nuclear reactions. See more »

  • Torpedo


    Torpedo, an underwater, self-propelled, explosive weapon that can be launched from a submarine, a surface ship, an airplane, or a helicopter. See more »

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