NukeMap is a website by nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein that allows you to simulate the impact of nuclear bombs on cities all over the world. The above image is what it would look like if a Hiroshima-size bomb was dropped on Manhattan. Changing the wind speeds, wind direction and fission fraction significantly alter the fallout map, however. Historic bombs are available like the Nagasaki “Fat Man” or the Hiroshima “Little Boy,” along with various bombs currently available in the arsenals of the US and China. The aim of NukeMap is to help “people visualize nuclear weapons on terms they can make sense of…We live in a world where nuclear weapons issues are on the front pages of our newspapers on a regular basis, yet most people still have a very bad sense of what an exploding nuclear weapon can actually do.”
Wellerstein is compiling information on what people are nuking. He writes on his website
I want to know whether people nuke themselves or other countries, and what types of bombs they use, and what kinds of scenarios they imagine. No government is going to knock on your door late at night because you used the NUKEMAP; they don’t have access to the data, and even if they did, it wouldn’t tell them much.
In a 2012 article based on data from NukeMap 2D, Wellerstein concluded that people liked to “nuke their neighbors,” then shared the map with friends in those countries online. He doesn’t see this as a game, but acknowledges that many people use it in this way.
Untapped Cities founder, Michelle Young’s grandfather was a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. She’s always wondered how he made it out unscathed, so in conjunction with some MIT physicists, we’re going to put NukeMap to the test–stay tuned!