By Jody Dean

Stanislav Petrov passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 77.

Chances are you never heard of the former Soviet military officer – but 34 years ago, he saved the world.

What happened?

An investigation later revealed that Soviet satellites had mistaken sunlight reflecting off the clouds for American ICBMs being launched toward the USSR – but on that morning in 1983, it was Petrov who had to decide what to do next. Treat it as a false alarm, or call your superiors and start World War III – and he had fewer than 15 minutes to make up his mind.


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