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SciTech Tuesday: Nuclear Testing and the End of the World

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Trinity explosion 10 seconds after detonation. Photo, Department of Energy.

As Friday marks the end of the Mayan 5,125 year-long calendar cycle, some are predicting the end of the world due to a galactic event or a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles. This certainly is not the first time that potential apocalypse has loomed on the horizon.

The first detonation of a nuclear device near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945, caused anxiety among some scientists as the ignition of the atmosphere and incineration of the entire planet was thought to be a remote possibility. Subsequent calculations rendered the destruction of the Earth “almost impossible.”  Known by the code name Trinity, the test of the implosion-design plutonium device conceptually similar to the Fat Man used over Nagasaki, Japan produced explosive power of approximately 20 kilotons of TNT and marked the beginning of the Atomic Age.

Post by Annie Tête, STEM Education Coordinator

Join us in 2013 for The National WWII Museum Robotics Challenge!

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