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Fallout-Style “Mini Nukes” Actually Exist

Hello there vault dweller! Looking to return post-nuclear America to its former glory? Well, you’re headed towards some pretty bad territory. Better take the tried and true M-42 tactical nuclear catapult! I hope you know how to use one of these, because this Fallout-style weapon actually existed.

Nuclear weapons have always been supercritical to the Fallout series, but in these games there is perhaps no weapon more famous than the so-called mini nuke. The size of a football and launched from a shoulder-mounted catapult aptly called a “fat man,” there are few armaments more devastating. It’s the perfect weapon for a franchise built by the power of the atom, and though it’s certainly sci-fi, the concept of a miniature nuclear bomb is more feasible than you think.

In my latest episode of Because Science, I’m breaking down the physics of nuclear weapons and the history of their miniaturization. Just how close did real weapons engineers come to making a nuclear bomb that could fit in the palm of your hand? What kind of explosive power did they pack?

After you watch the new episode, check out my last video on how fast Red Dead Redemption‘s “Dead Eye” system is, buy a Because Science shirt, mug, hat, or collectible pin, and follow me on Twitter or on Instagram to give me a suggestion for the next episode. Want Because Science even earlier? Subscribe to Alpha for access to the show two full days before anyone else.

Catch up on the latest Because Science!

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