In this historic photo, military personnel are seen moving “Jumbo” to Trinity Site. One of the concerns of the scientists who built the “Gadget” nuclear device that was detonated at Trinity Site in 1945, was that the bomb might not actually go off. In order to preserve the 13 pounds of plutonium in case of failed detonation, an 80 ton steel vessel named “Jumbo” was built with the intention of imploding the device inside. The $12 million dollar vessel was never used for that purpose because by the time the test was nearly ready, scientists were confident that it would work. Instead, “Jumbo” was suspended on a steel tower 800 meters from ground zero. The tower was completely destroyed in the explosion, but “Jumbo” remained very much intact. Later, the military tried to destroy it using eight 500 pound bombs, but only succeeded in blowing the ends off of it. What remains can still be seen at Trinity Site today. Courtesy/atomicheritage.org
Alamogordo — Reservations for the October Trinity Site motor coach tour, hosted by the New Mexico Museum of Space History and International Space Hall of Fame Foundation, are now being taken through the museum’s website.
The tour, which is pending current Department of Health restrictions due to the pandemic, is scheduled for Saturday, October 2, 2021. Trinity Site is where the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated in 1945.
White Sands Missile Range typically opens Trinity Site to the public on the first Saturdays in April and October, although both events in 2020 and the April 2021 tour were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several thousand people usually visit the site on those dates.
“As always, the safety of our visitors and staff are our highest priority. If the Missile Range approves the October Trinity Site tour, we’ll work with the tour bus company to make sure all required safety protocols are in place and strictly adhered to,” Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll said. “In light of the uncertainty of the event, we are only taking reservations at this time. Once the tour has been approved, we’ll begin the actual registration process.”
The New Mexico Museum of Space History and International Space Hall of Fame Foundation host a motor coach tour to the site each April and October as part of educational outreach and as a fundraiser for the Foundation. Local historians accompany guests on the coach, giving an in-depth talk on the bomb and its history, along with unique insight into local history. Once on site, guests enjoy a brown bag lunch, visit to the McDonald House and go on a walking tour of Trinity Site. On the way back, guests wind down with an onboard movie and upon return to the museum are treated to a guided tour.
Reservations are available now through the museum’s website and no charges will be incurred until the tour is confirmed by White Sands Missile Range. Once the tour is confirmed, those who have made reservations will be contacted to finish the registration process.
Tickets include the round trip to Trinity Site, site tour, brownbag lunch, onboard movie, and guided tour of the museum. The ticket price will be $95 per person, or $85 for museum members. In addition, the collectible book “Trinity Site: The History of an Atomic Bomb Historic Landmark” by local historian Jim Eckles is available for purchase when guests register online, or the book can be purchased separately at the museum gift shop.
To reserve your tickets or for more information, visit nmspacemuseum.org.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575.437.2840 or toll free 1.877.333.6589 or visit the website at www.nmspacemuseum.org. Like us at: www.facebook.com/