Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Original Ground Zero

The other day I decided to take Trey on a little road trip to the Trinity Site in the middle of the White Sands Missile Range, in the Jornada del Muerto desert, where the first atomic bomb was tested. The site is open to the public only twice during the year so I thought it would be a fun little adventure for the two of us. The worlds first nuclear weapon was the culmination of the Manhattan Project during the second World War, and a very important part of American history. On August 6, 1945 "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima, followed by "Fat Man" three days later on Nagasaki. Six days after the 2nd bomb was dropped, Japan surrendered, thus ending the war. Fat Man was the prototype tested here, only one month prior to its actual use. I must say it was a cool experience to visit the spot where a handful of great minds put their design to the test in an effort to end a great conflict.
Trey and I within the Trinity Site grounds with the monument behind us.
Trey smiling with the Oscura mountain range behind him. The area is actually quite pretty, in a desolate, barren, hope my car doesn't break down out here sort of way. The drive was roughly 2 hours from our front door.
"Dad, take a rock star picture of me"
Kneeling inside of "Jumbo" which was an enclosed steel casing originally going to be used to contain the bomb, but was later scrapped. Sometime after the war, eight 500-lb bombs were detonated inside of it that blew off both ends. This is what remains.
In front of a Fat Man shell.
The obelisk was built directly under where the bomb was placed. It was suspended on a 100 ft tower where it was detonated.
The base of a tower leg still remains a few feet from the obelisk.
Trey pointing to a piece of "Trinitite." As a result of the detonation, sand in the surrounding vicinity was melted and turned it in to a green colored rock. The ground has been grazed multiple times to fill in the crater and decrease the level of radioactivity, but we still ran in to a few pieces. Fortunately, the radiation level is very low now.

Trey putting his photography skills on display. This is at the McDonald ranch where the final components of the bomb were put together and made ready for testing. We hopped on a shuttle bus and rode a few miles south to the property.
In front of the McDonald home. In pictures you see the scientist's removing the plutonium core from a car in front of the house and walking under this steel arch.
The window behind Trey's right shoulder is to the clean room where the final assembly of the bomb took place.
The day wouldn't be complete without a performance. Probably the first time an instrumentation bunker was used as a stage.
I wanted to do the same afterwards! The site was a great piece of history to observe, but even more, I had a blast spending the day with my little boy who I hope one day will appreciate the significance of what took place here, and the global implications that followed.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Can you please not blog until its about a new baby! I about had a heart attack of excitement wondering if this was the announcement! Luckily I'm still alive and I can't wait to see your new baby.