WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. –

The site of the world’s first atomic bomb test will open for public tours Saturday.

The first atomic bomb test was set off at Trinity Site on the restricted White Sands Missile Range on July 16, 1945.

Now a small lava obelisk marks Ground Zero. Historical photographs are mounted on a fence around the site. Visitors also can ride a shuttle bus from the site to tour a ranch house where scientists assembled the bomb.

No ceremonies or speakers are scheduled.

The Trinity Site test culminated the secret Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, some 200 miles north. Scientists developed two bomb designs â one with uranium and the other plutonium â and decided to test the complex plutonium design.

Scientists assembled the bomb at the ranch house, then took it to Trinity Site and hoisted onto a 100-foot tower.

The blast produced a flash of light visible 250 miles away, a roar heard 50 miles away and a mushroom cloud that rose 40,000 feet. It vaporized the tower.

Less than a month later, the United States exploded bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, ending World War II.

All adults on the tour must show a photo ID, and drivers should carry registration and proof of insurance. Vehicles are subject to search.

From the north, visitors can enter the missile range through Stallion gate, five miles south of U.S. 380 and 12 miles east of San Antonio, N.M. The 17-mile route to the site is paved and marked; Stallion gate is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

From the south, a caravan will leave from the parking lot at Tularosa High School’s football field at 8 a.m. for the 75-mile drive. Military police escort the caravan once it enters the range. It will leave for the return trip between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m.

VIDEO: FIRST ATOMIC BOMB TEST

Archived comments

ADJACENT TO THE “OPEN HOUSE” SITE, THERE WILL BE

FREE CHEMOTHERAPY BAGS FOR THE FIRST 1000 VISITORS.

MisterPist

3/30/2009 2:54:01 PM

Are Geiger counters included?

oryoki@go.com

3/30/2009 2:55:26 PM

LOVE the video!

We should totally bomb someone…

How about Martin Acres?

orbison

3/30/2009 6:30:30 PM