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Entrance to Los Alamos, I have my labcoat and dosimeter
I took a trip to New Mexico with my dad in late October, 2020. Thankfully, most of our destinations were open at the time and we were usually the only visitors. We tried to make the best of the trip despite some hangups, and ya know, global pandemic and all.

As complicated as my relationship is with my dad, I'm glad I got to go with him. We bond over our shared love for museums and odd history, so I knew he wouldn't mind all my atomic destinations.

Trinity Tower Replica with 'Gadget' implosion device that would later be used in Fatman.
The cold New Mexican wind swung the thing gently back and forth. Extremely inconspicuous, yet terrifying.

(Above) Gadget replica without outer casing.
(Below) Palomares broken arrow incident.
Notice the nose indent-this was intentionally designed to cave in.
White tape was placed over top secret portions of the bomb in the photoshoot
(left) so newspapers could report the bombs were found.


The most interesting piece from the museum's collection was two bomb casings from the Palomares
B-52 broken arrow incident. January 17th, 1966 found the plane colliding with a Boeing Stratotanker
during refueling, dropping four Mk28-type hydrogen bombs.
Our first stop was the National Museum for Nuclear Science in Albuquerque-right across from the Sandia National Labratory!!! I've been here once before with my best friend, who lovingly took the blunt of my excitement (thank you Alana I love you).

The museum takes you through the history of nuclear science with many great military artifacts and equiptment, installations, and of course PLANES!!!!! Outside they had a replica of the Trinity Tower (because uh...the real one instantly liquified at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945) and a B-29 Superfortress with a Fat Man Bomb Casing.

Apperently in Los Alamos, they include a Fatman bomb casing in parades!
While my dad took this picture of me I remember thinking "this is incredibly terrifying and fucked up so I better not smile". Not sure what this facial expression is.

Assembly for Los ALamos, Prototype 2: Boron-impregnated polyethylene, lead, aluminum, graphite, G-M counters, detector probes, and wire.
Two halves of a core.
Disclaimer: I copied the wall text from the museum for these image captions. Besides thinking "Cool! Neat!" I don't know much about core assembly. I graduated with a silly degree in art.
Text panel for the lab installation-I love how they used a (recreated) image from the Slotin incident. The text mentions nothing about him or his death from the 'demon core' (I mean, I get it, this a family museum and you don't want to be discussing all the symptoms of acute radiation exposure.
Some background on the Slotin incident: On 21 May 1946, Canadian physicist and chemist Louis Slotin accidentally began a fission reaction (after a screwdriver he was holding which seperated two halves of a core together slipped), which released a burst of hard radiation. Slotin was rushed to the hospital, and died nine days later, the victim of the second criticality accident in history, following the death of Harry Daghlian, who had been exposed to radiation by the same core that killed Slotin (the Demon Core).

Device for measuring the Neutron Flux of a Uranium Core-made of paraffin blocks, chromium, stainless steel, brass, detector probes, oscilloscope, simulated hydrolic lift, wire, sound, and deuterium gas cylinder.
Super awesome Titan II nose cones. For my comic I wanted to have a sentient missile character (she's chill, don't worry).
There's no good quality pics online (they don't want you makin warheads at home, kids) so this was an awesome opportunity to collect reference images.

(below) Peacekeeper diagram.

Peacekeeper MX. Planned to replace the Minuteman ICBMs in the early 1970s. 'MX' in the name stands for 'Missile Experimental'.
All 50 Peacekeepers were deactivated in the early 2000's after the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Later used as satelite launch vehicles!

When you first enter the town, to the right you'll see a 'project main gate' sign on a small building made to replicate the original security gate (this is just a converted public restroom). I believe the original wood sign is long gone. This replica was created for the TV series Manhattan and then donated to the town. According to a historian we met in the Los Alamos History Museum, the show “isn’t very accurate”. Still, she said the citizens appreciate the sign and it's a pretty cool photo attraction.

While taking pics in front of the sign, my dosimeter fell apart (the bottom was unscrewed??) and it was pretty hilarious trying to put it back together with my dad.

My dad and I were fortunate enough (stupid enough?) to actually go inside the Los Alamos National Labratory gates (yes, it's still a functioning labratory!!) Because of the way the town was built on the mesa, you have to drive through the labs to get to nearby national parks. We had to show guards our IDs and were told to

1. not take any pictures,
2. not make any left turns, and
3. not to bring any firearms onto the property (my dad, being a gun dad, failed this step).

I like to pretend in an alternate timeline, we were arrested while I was wearing a literal lab coat and holding a 1950s West Hollywood dosimeter.

Once or twice a year, the labs allow guided tours of the historic buildings within lab property. I would love to come back and see the Slotin building...
I'm not sure what's still there, but I'd love to see Test Area (TA) #18, as this was where the Lady Godiva critical assembily tests took place. TA 18 equiptment is now stored in Nevada.
Refrences (I gotta read more in depth sometime).
https://www.energy.gov/nepa/eis-0319-relocation-technical-area-18-capabilities-and-materials-los-alamos-national-laboratory
https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/EIS-0319-FEIS-Summary-2002.pdf
https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/EIS-0319-FEIS-02-2002.pdf
https://alchetron.com/Godiva-device

While visiting the nearby Bandelier and Valles Caldera National Preserve parks, we drove around the perimeter of the laboratory, which is mostly 13 acres of trees, barbed wire fence, and obscured buildings. There’s multiple access points to Test Areas along this route. Every 100 feet or so, “no trespassing” and “warning: explosives” signs are posted along the surrounding chain link fence. From the road, you can see some buildings and equipment (I saw a B-52 body and watertower).
In Santa Fe you can visit (approximately) where Manhattan Project scientists would meet before heading to the secret city. 109 E Place, Santa Fe was a small building operated by Dorothy Scarritt McKibbin, the secretary in charge of paperwork and new arrivals. Today, it’s a cute little artisan courtyard next to a chocolate and cashmere shop.

Behind the National Museum for Nuclear Science were several notable aircraft. This is one of only three Boeing B-29 Superfortresses altered to carry nuclear weapons at the end of WWII.
“The Museum’s historic B-29 actually never saw combat, as it was delivered to the Air Force just a few days before WWII ended,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “It was delivered on the very significant day of August 9, 1945, the same day the B-29 named the Bockscar dropped the plutonium bomb, Fat Man, on Nagasaki.”