Nuclear drilling for natural gas in Colorado in 1969.
"Project Rusilon" had an atomic weapon over twice as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of WWII. Its goal was to access a deposit of natural gas under a mountain. Unfortunately, the gas was unusable, as it had become radioactive from the blast. This was about two months after the first landing on the Moon, an event that many people believe was actually filmed on a soundstage funded by Disney and directed by Stanley Kubrick. (I could see this being true, as our desire to win the space-race was immense, but it's almost too ridiculous to believe). The Moon can drive people crazy, it seems... werewolves, and even the word "lunatic" comes from the root word "Luna" the Latin for the principle adjective used to describe the Moon.
Aleister Crowley (some have dubbed him "the wickedest man in the world") wrote a book called "The Moonchild" that involved occult groups trying to breed and raise a magical child that would bring about the end of the world and the birth of the next aeon. It seems more like his ambition than a fictional work, considering the amount of occult and sex in his life. He had a room in his "Occult Abbey of Thelema" that he had painted with all manner of horrific depictions of Heaven and Hell. Gruesome, grotesque and explicitly sexual paintings... and he would dope people up on hashish, LSD and opium, and stick them in this room for a day or so as an initiation into his bizarro-sex-cult. (It was probably more so that he and his deranged orgy partners could watch the person freak out that the walls were tearing off their skin or that they were being sodomized by paintings of demons). This was all around 1920 to 1923, the same time that HP Lovecraft was writing his "Dream Cycle" stories that involved the Moon as a location, and creatures that were said to drive people mad simply by looking at them.
There's something called the "Outer Space Treaty" that establishes that no one country can claim ownership of the Moon (despite what Newt Gingrich may think).
Perhaps it's because at the center of the Moon is a vast "Nightmare Engine" that influences Earthly behaviors and makes us crazy... makes us do things like use nuclear weapons to get at natural gas deposits. Maybe they were searching for a Nightmare Engine right here on Earth...