ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

ballistic missiles

Hey kiddo! Do you know what rockets are? They are long tubes that have engines at the bottom that make them go up into space. Now, imagine a rocket that is designed to go super fast and far, like really really far. This type of rocket is called a ballistic missile.

These missiles are made to travel long distances and carry warheads (which are like very large bombs). They can reach thousands of miles away from where they are launched. They are used as weapons by countries to protect themselves from other countries or to attack other countries if they feel threatened.

The missile is launched from a special launching pad that is designed to point the missile in the right direction. Once the missile starts going up, it goes so fast that it can break through the Earth's atmosphere and go up into space!

The missile's engines keep it going until it reaches a certain height, then the engines shut off and the missile travels on its own momentum (a bit like rolling a ball down a hill). As the missile travels, it can be directed to follow a certain path to reach its destination.

When the missile reaches its target, a warhead can be released which can explode and cause a lot of damage. The reason ballistic missiles are so scary is because they can be launched from a long way away and can reach their target very quickly, so there's not much time to stop them.

That's pretty much it, kiddo. Remember, missiles are not toys and can be very dangerous, so let's leave them to the experts!