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TRINITY

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2005 10:33 pm
WHITE SANDS MISSLE RANGE, N.M. (Associated Press, July 17, 2005) Thousands of people gathered Saturday at Trinity Site, a restricted area of the White Sands Missile Range, to mark the 60th anniversary of the world's first test of an atomic weapon.

Scientists working at Trinity site as part of The Manhattan Project created the nuclear device used in the test on July 16, 1945. That successful detonation led to the construction of the two atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Japan in August 1945, essentially stunning Japan into surrender and ending World War II.

The depression created by the blast at ground zero on what is now the White Sands Missile Range is marked by an obelisk with a simple inscription: "Trinity Site, Where the World's First Nuclear Device Was Exploded on July 16, 1945."

A long stretch of dirt road leads to a chain-link fence surrounding the monument. On the fence hang photographs of Manhattan Project scientists from Los Alamos assembling the device and of the brilliant mushroom cloud.

Visitors stooped to pick up pieces of trininite, a radioactive, turquoise crystal-like material that was created by the blast. About a dozen people walked over the site with Geiger counters that beeped sporadically.

Missile Range officials tell visitors not to fear radiation. On average, an American is exposed to 360 millirem of radiation from natural and medical sources every year. In an hour at the Trinity site, visitors are exposed to one half millirem, according to a brochure distributed by the missile range.

Emmett Hatch, who visited Trinity Site on Saturday, recalled how his grandmother ordered him to drop to his knees and pray on July 16, 1945, shortly after the atomic blast.

She was awake at 5:29:45 Mountain War Time that morning in Portales to make breakfast and saw the explosion from more than 220 miles away.

"She thought it was the coming of the Lord, because the sun rose in the west that day," said Hatch, who was 8 years old at the time.

Andy Aranda, an Albuquerque high school student, said he learned about the Trinity test from textbooks.

It's kind of creepy, kind of eerie to be right here where it happened," he said.

Clemente Deister of Socorro was in the Marines fighting in the South Pacific during World War II when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He watched the faces of visitors to the Trinity Site on Saturday. "I find all kinds of expressions of sadness and horror," he said.

The blast produced a flash of light that was seen 250 miles away, a roar heard 50 miles away and a mushroom cloud that rose 40,000 feet.

"The most amazing part of it to all of us is that it seemed to last so long," Jay Wechsler of Espanola, who measured the explosion that day, recalled in an interview before the Trinity Site tour. "The cloud just looked like it was boiling and luminescent and kept on going up and up and up and seemed like it was never going to stop."

"I had no conception that it could wipe out a small city," said Herb Lehr of Mesa, Ariz., who helped put the bomb together at Trinity Site.

Ben Benjamin, a photographer who documented the Manhattan Project, recalled that after seeing the blast he said: "My God, it's beautiful."

But Benjamin, who did not go on Saturday's tour, said another man who worked on the project told him the blast was horrible and that he could think of nothing more than the moral implications.

"I thought about it, of course," said Benjamin, who now lives in Albuquerque. "But I also thought, 'Didn't these guys bring it on themselves?' Look what they did at Pearl Harbor."

Longtime Los Alamos lab critic Greg Mello said on the eve of the 60th anniversary that the United States still has not come to grips with the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"These acts we still consider to be somehow, if not noble, then somewhat justified. They were manifestly illegal at the time and terribly immoral. By any standard, they were crimes," he said.

Many of those involved in the Manhattan Project said they had no regrets.

"It was important work. People were pretty driven to get things done in the length of time we did," said Wechsler, who did not attend the tour. "Motivation is hardly the world. Driven is more like it. The goals were set, and people moved ahead and got on with the work. We all felt it was pretty important."
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2005 11:12 pm
Well, and well.

I'm emotionally invested in all this. Tearing as I type.

I haven't followed things like anniversaries, and your post brings it here.

I am not very interested in arguments pro and con a-bombs or other bombs and their uses and don't engage on the discussions of this at a2k, and won't now either.

So

I'll just nod, to the anniversary.

I guess I should explain my dad was a visitor to the Manhattan Project people.
0 Replies
 
AngeliqueEast
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 12:31 am
It is truly sad when man's great mind is used to create such weapons of destruction, and then it's justified. Thats all I have to say on the subject.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 10:09 am
I was listening to an NPR story yesterday where they interviewed a few of the remaining scientists on the MhP. One guy was given the responsibilityof developing a electro mechanical trigger to initiate the charge to overpressure the sphere, with about a six pack sized hunk of plutonium that caused the fission reaction. He was saying that, until just a few days before Trinity the damn trigger wouldnt work and they were busy isolating the background noise and magnetics to get it to fire. Then on July 11, they set up another test and the trigger misfired. "We were not happy with that either" (talk about understatement)
They had no workable trigger till almost dawn on Jul13 and Truman had already announced the "gadget" as preliminary information for Potsdam.
This thing was in doubt till it went off. There was a raging debate that the kernel nuclear reaction, once it became critical, would cause a worldwide chain reaction of atmospheric isotopes. The hell opf it was that there was a betting pool on that outcome.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 10:21 am
Rather a grim prospect, no? Those who play with fire often get burned, but we have been lucky . . . so far.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 10:34 am
There are piles of "Belgian Congo Raffinates" all over the US at RR sidings that led west. The Army quartermaster was in charge of moving the fuel stock out to get refined into nuke weapons grade material. The piles of U oxide and poorly oxidized pitchblende pressure extruded "Cakes" were sent to Colorado and further refined . The govt , to this day doesnt have all the sites where this **** was dropped and off loaded and onloaded from open gondolas and into sealed tank cars (probably as a flouride mixture of Uranium)

You can get a bigger dose of "zoomies" from the railroad siding near some of the small towns along the tracks than you can from trinity site.
Tell us more about the "trininite" Im blushing but Ive never heard of that.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 10:36 am
Well, Boss, i really know nothing of that either--metals, minerals and isotopes are certainly nothing about which i claim any knowledge--i've just quoted the Associated Press. I put this in history because of the event.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 10:44 am
The website of a company calling itself United Nuclear has the following description:

United Nuclear dot com wrote:
Early in the morning on July 16th, 1945, the first Atomic Bomb was detonated at the Trinity test site in the New Mexico desert. The nuclear explosion produced a blast equivalent of 18,000 tons of TNT and a ½ mile diameter fireball - with a temperature over 10 million degrees Fahrenheit, far hotter than the surface of the Sun. The intense heat melted the New Mexico desert sand into a light green, glass-like substance which was later named "Trinitite". The resulting crater lined with Trinitite was buried for security reasons not long after the explosion. As a result, authentic samples of Trinitite are quite rare and very difficult to obtain.


There is almost nothing online about it, and the google link which lead me to United Nuclear was a discussion board in which someone commented, aptly: ". . . that site has to be a joke, was looking at the trininite section, its illegal as hell to remove anything from the trinity site." I would agree that it's likely very illegal to remove anything from the Trinity site. The idea i get is that trinitite is a glassy "mineral" unique to that test site.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 11:11 am
a man made "fulgurite", so to speak. I googled up a mineral description. Some samples in the museums are quite nice. My point was that theres many more old Manhattan sites around the country with lots of isotopes just buzzin around the piles.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 12:39 pm
George C Scott (in Dr Strangelove): "Wish we had one of those doomsday machines."
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 02:49 pm
I loved that movie, EB, and the "mine shaft gap" just cracked me up . . .
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 02:55 pm
Set, didn't the folks at Trinity do that test never knowing whether or not it would start a chain reaction?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 04:03 pm
There was some speculation to that effect . . . FM mentioned that . . . kinda scarey and galling all at the same time, no?
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 04:10 pm
Very, VERY scary, Setanta, and who knows what else the scientists are cooking up and the military is testing.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 04:15 pm
Remember the fuss over the neutron bomb? Everyone revolted that it was supposed to kill without destroying much property. I wonder if they have any of those hidden away?
0 Replies
 
AngeliqueEast
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 06:22 pm
Letty wrote:
Very, VERY scary, Setanta, and who knows what else the scientists are cooking up and the military is testing.


More than people know, and are ready to believe. Much of what is happening is not shared with the public. But, time reveals all.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 06:36 pm
Well, Angel. You ought to know, honey. The manhattan project and all. <smile>

Let's just blame it on Einstein and be done with. Them kinda guys need keepers. Razz
0 Replies
 
AngeliqueEast
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2005 06:48 pm
Letty wrote:
Well, Angel. You ought to know, honey. The manhattan project and all. <smile>

Let's just blame it on Einstein and be done with. Them kinda guys need keepers. Razz


Edited:
If I were to blame anyone, which I'm not; it's man's natural ability to repeat, and repeat his behavior time after time, and his creative ability (imagination) to come up with more, and clever ways of mass destruction. I don't think man knows enough about himself at this time to be able to change that in anyway or if he should. *smiles*
0 Replies
 
 

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