National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas

In the 1950s, the US Army fell in love with nuclear weapons, and began building them by the hundreds. Each new design feature had to be tested, and to do that, the US selected a patch of desert not very far from Las Vegas (it was not uncommon to see mushroom clouds from the casinos at the Vegas Strip. Today, the National Atomic Testing Museum in Vegas displays some artifacts from the Nevada Test Site.

Here are some photos from a visit.

P1320567

The museum

P1320614

Inside the museum

P1320576

One of the graphite bricks used to make the first nuclear reactor, for the Manhattan Project, in Chicago

P1320581

A safety glass used during the Trinity atomic bomb test

P1320586

Civil Defense manuals from the 1950s and 1960s

P1320587

A comic-book version for the kids

P1320583

Genie nuclear air-to-air missile

P1320657

B-53 thermonuclear bomb

P1320589

B-61 nuclear bomb

P1320595

My hand to show scale

P1320602

“Davy Crockett” nuclear rocket-propelled grenade. Yes, seriously.

P1320603

My hand to show scale

P1320608

W-48 nuclear artillery shell. It had a yield about the same as the Hiroshima bomb.

P1320633

Equipment used to observe nuclear explosions, known as KITE.

P1320635

Another piece of test equipment, known as FOAM.

P1320669

High-speed camera used to record atomic tests

P1320678

Fish-eye camera used to record underground nuclear tests

P1320679

The Krakatau equipment used to test modern weapons without an explosion

P1320641

Phoebus, an experimental rocket engine powered by a nuclear reactor

P1320647

Portable equipment carried by NEST (Nuclear Emergency Search Teams). Designed to look for hidden terrorist nukes, it was also used to find crash-landed nuclear-powered satellites.

P1320654

A collection of geiger counters and dosimeters

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas

  1. I’ve been to Area 61, but did not see this museum. Then I checked on the date it was established and found it was after I last visited Las Vegas. Thanks for sharing the information.

  2. Eerie, fascinating, terrifying, chilling, all at once.

    I read a quote from one of the “downwinders” who was dying of cancer, but had outlived Eisenhower, in the early 1970’s: “That dumb old Army president — I’d like to dig him up and kick him in the head.”

  3. The Trinity Test Site is open the first Saturday in October, and if all goes well i should be in Alamogordo at the time. So hopefully I’ll be able to visit.

  4. This is the first time I’ve been in an actual desert, and it got up to 105F here yesterday. Wow. In Florida it has never reached 100 degrees (the highest temp I can recall was 96, and that broke all sorts of records), but of course the humidity there is always 90-95%. Here, the air is so dry that it just sucks the moisture right out of ya–I’ve taken to carrying TWO water bottles with me. Jeebus. I can definitely see how someone lost in the surrounding desert would not last very long.

  5. Be careful then if you head to Death Valley where temperature was 124 on their thermometer when I last visited. You can’t live in the desert without water.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s