Nine days ago, the world celebrated the seventy-first anniversary of the first explosion of an atomic bomb. This plutonium device was the product of years of research by the scientists recruited into the Manhattan Project. They gave the test the code name Trinity. Detonation took place on July 16, 1945 at the top of a 100-foot tower at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, which is now the White Sands Missile Range in the desert of New Mexico. The energy released was equivalent to the explosion of 20 tons of TNT. A flash of light many times brighter than the sun covered all of New Mexico and parts of Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. A mushroom cloud rose 38,000 feet, and the temperature exceeded 10,000 times that of the surface of the sun. Ground zero became a crater 2,400 feet in diameter, and the sand of the desert turned to glass.
This was a tiny device when compared to modern nuclear weapons whose yield is measured in megatons (millions of tons) instead of kilotons (thousands of tons).
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