It’s fairly easy to accept how Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible could carry out his missions successfully, regardless of how impossible they all seemed. It’s just a movie anyway, and anything and everything is possible. Hanging by a wall with a single-arm while holding two people dangling in the air with the other? Sure. Jumping without a parachute and perfectly landing in the target window? Easy. Things are kind of different in reality. So when a group of Norwegian commandos successfully descended to the bottom of a valley across a half-frozen river and then climbed a 500-foot-high snowy cliff in the middle of the dark winter night, no one really knew what to expect. But guess what? They successfully nailed a sabotage mission called Operation Gunnerside. Here’s their epic story that could rival Mission Impossible.

The German Atomic Bomb Project

In April 1939, the Nazis started a secret program called Uranverein or “Uranium Club,” led by German nuclear physicist Kurt Diebner. Apart from him, other top scientists in Germany were also recruited, including Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg.

Their idea was to use heavy water as a moderator to slow down the bombardment of neutrons and control the whole fission process, which helps sustain a chain reaction. The United States was using graphite as a moderator at that time.

Now, heavy water is “heavy” because the water molecule was made with two deuterium ions instead of the normal two hydrogen ions. The additional neutron causes the deuterium to have a higher molecular weight when combined with oxygen.