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The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

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New Mexico

106

Trinity Test Site, White Sands Missile Range, NM

gkat_106.pdf33° 40 38.28 N, 106° 28 31.44 W

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July 16, 1945

Twice a year, on the first Saturday of April and October, the Trinity Test Site, where the first nuclear bomb was exploded, is open to the public. Entry is free, there’s no need to reserve, and cameras are allowed.

The Trinity Site is located inside White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The missile range covers over 8,000 square kilometers of New Mexico and is actively used for missile and ordnance testing. It is also where German scientists captured by the U.S., such as Wernher von Braun, worked on rocketry and launched modified V-2 missiles (renamed to the Bumper).

The range is also used today by NASA as a training area for space shuttle pilots. In 1982, the space shuttle Columbia landed there at NASA’s White Sands Space Harbor.

Outside the missile range and near the main gate is the White Sands Missile Range Museum, which has an open-air missile park containing more than 50 missiles, rockets, and drones (see Chapter 108).

But the Trinity Site is the highlight of a visit, even though little remains. On July 16, 1945, the world’s first nuclear explosion (Figure 106-1) occurred there; today the exact spot is marked by a small obelisk made of lava rock. The surrounding ...

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