Trinity Test Facts

Trinity Test Facts
The Trinity Test is the codename of the first live atomic bomb test, which was done on July 16, 1945 in what is now the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The codename was thought of by Robert Oppenheimer, who was one of the scientists working on the project. The Trinity Test was the culmination of the Manhattan Project, which was the United States Army program that developed the first nuclear weapons, which were later used on Japan. The Manhattan Project began in 1942 and was fairly decentralized for security reasons, with scientists working in labs in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Utah, as well as several smaller labs at other locations around the country. Major General Leslie Groves (1896-1970) of the Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the program, gathering some of the world's best engineers, physicists, mathematicians, and other scientists, which included Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967), Stanislaw Ulam (1909-1984), Stafford L. Warren (1896-1981), Kenneth Bainbridge (1904-1996), and Joan Hinton (1921-2010) among others. The test was considered a success so the government immediately began developing the bombs that would be used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki less than one month later.
Interesting Trinity Test Facts:
The Trinity bomb was plutonium implosion fission bomb that resembled the "Fat Man" bomb that was used on Nagasaki.
Bainbridge conducted the majority of the planning for the test.
The derelict "McDonald Ranch House" and its accompanying buildings were the only structures in the area. The buildings were about two miles from the blast site and were used to test and assemble the bomb's components.
The number of people working at the site was originally intended to be no more than a handful, but on the day of the test there were 425 people present.
The scientists originally planned to use a containment vessel to keep radiation from spreading, but ruled it out on the grounds that it would hinder the test.
President Truman wanted the test to coincide with the Potsdam Conference, which took place from July 18 to 21. Truman, who was much more anti-communist than Roosevelt, wanted the test to serve as a warning to Stalin and the Soviet Union just as much as an inducement to the Japanese to end the war.
The device was detonated at 5:29 am, leaving a five foot deep and thirty foot wide crater. The blast could be felt 100 miles away and the mushroom cloud reached nearly eight miles into the sky. It could be seen and heard in El Paso, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces.
The nearest military base was the Alamogordo Air Base.
In an era decades before the Internet and even cable news, the government was able to control news of the test. The testing was not reported until after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Since the site was in a relatively isolated location - south of Albuquerque and Santa Fe and northeast of Las Cruces and El Paso - radiation fallout was not a major concern of the government. With that said, few studies were done about the long term effects of the test, unlike those done about the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in Nevada.

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