This is a photo of a U.S. Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test. as the missile approaches it’s destination it separates into multiple reentry vehicles each carrying its own warhead. The photo was only a test the warheads were inert, they contained no nuclear weapons, but the moment frozen is that of the exact second before unimaginably brilliant light would suddenly illuminate the sky and impending destructive force would quickly follow.
Thankfully, and quite obviously these were never used in anger, and the last Peacekeeper Missile was decommissioned in 2005, but the warheads are still around. The image is strikingly beautiful, rarely has something so phenomenally invoked the divine in such a powerful manner, at once referencing the dual nature of the concept of god, both beauty and wrath. I like to suppose that the entirety of America’s Nuclear missile program, all the billions of dollars and great effort put into the development and engineering were solely for the purpose of generating this single image. That Uncle Sam decided to out do Jeff Koons, in a manner only a First world Superpower might be able to accomplish. It’s a far more optimistic thought than the alternative.
Though only a starting point this image served as the Influence for the creation of Mis-Guided Missiles, attempting to try to understand the aesthetics involved in the wonderfully named principle of Mutually Assured Destruction.