The Best of the Fifties: 30 Fascinating Facts from 1950s

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26Copper needles

Copper needles

In the 1950s, the United States military launched 480 million copper needles into space, effectively creating an artificial ionosphere. The needles were meant to be used to facilitate global communication. It was called Project West Ford.


27. In 1955, the US designed a nuclear-powered cruise missile. The SLAM's unshielded reactor would sicken, injure, and/or kill living things beneath its flight path and its strategically selected crash site would receive intense radioactive contamination.


28. In 1951, a 21-year-old Clint Eastwood was a passenger aboard a Douglas AD-1 bomber that ran out of fuel and ditched off the coast of California. He escaped serious injury and swam 3 miles to shore.


29. In 1957, American singer-songwriter Little Richard saw a bright red fireball flying across the sky, which he took as "sign from God" to repent from performing secular music and his wild lifestyle at the time until 1962. The fireball actually was the launching of the first artificial Earth satellite Sputnik 1.


30. In 1958, while widening a road the RAF discovered that a fifteen-year-old display mockup of the biggest bomb ever used in World War 2 was not merely a mockup but was actually a live bomb.

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