Thursday, July 29

Trinity test: the nuclear detonation that changed the world | Digital Trends Spanish

Its code name was Trinity and it was held on July 16, 1945, a day like today 76 years ago. It was the first detonation of a nuclear bomb as a test and the first encounter of humanity with this type of weapons of mass destruction.

The Trinity test was carried out in the New Mexico desert at 5:30 in the morning, in a sector so dry that it was known as the Jornada del Muerto.

That detonation, which was successful, was marked by tragedy, because it conditioned what would happen less than a month later with Little Boy and Fat Man, the bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively.

In fact, the latter used plutonium as fissile material, the same one used in Trinity.

Although official figures vary, it is estimated that between the two tragic events between 150,000 and 250,000 people died.

Trinity was possible thanks to the Manhattan Project, which encouraged scientific research around the exploration of different atomic weapons that were capable of releasing large amounts of energy through a nuclear chain reaction. This despite the warnings made to the United States Government by several leading scientists, one of them Albert Einstein.

Manhattan finished with the preparation of the Trinity trial. For these tests a city especially destined to the development of the atomic bomb had to be built, works directed by J. Robert Oppenheimer.

A big green supersol

The Trinity test brought together a large number of scientists, military personnel and various professionals from different fields who wanted to witness the detonation.

They were located in special observation bunkers distributed at different distances from the so-called ground zero. The test was on the verge of being suspended due to an intense storm the night before.

Shortly before 5:30, people began to stand in the bunkers and put on welding masks to watch the test. Some physicists, located 32 kilometers from the area of ​​the explosion, even distributed sunscreen.

According to witnesses, on S-10,000, the main bunker, an anxious Oppenheimer leaned against a pole to steady himself as he muttered, “Sir, these matters are hard on the heart,” seconds before the explosion.

Trinity test: the detonation that changed the world

At the appointed time, the device exploded with an energy equivalent to 19 kilotons, some 19,000 tons of TNT. The explosion left a crater in the desert three meters deep and 330 wide.

According to witnesses, at the time of the explosion, the nearby mountains were illuminated for a few seconds, and the observed colors varied from purple and green to white.

The shock wave could be felt 160 kilometers away and the mushroom cloud reached 12 kilometers.

William Laurence, journalist from The New York Times who observed the test from 20 miles away, wrote:

“It was a sunrise like the world has never seen. A large green supersun rose in a fraction of a second to a height of more than 2.5 kilometers, rising higher and higher until it touched the clouds, at the same time that it illuminated the land and the sky with a dazzling brilliance for its intensity ”.

To this day, Trinity is considered one of the most important cultural and social events of the 20th century.

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