see url: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_A119
It was decided by the Great Powers that Be or the Big Yins, that it
would make for a better public reaction if the US government were to
land someone on it, rather than nuke it. There was a pressing need to
defeat the USSR in the space race due to unstoppable Sputniks travelling
over the heretofore inviolate space of the United States of
America...this was considered as one way to do it...