"Little Boy" Atomic Bomb
Published April 22, 2015
The Mk I bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," was the first nuclear weapon used in warfare. It was delivered by the B-29 Enola Gay (on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum), it detonated at an altitude of 1,800 feet over Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. The result of the Manhattan Project, begun in June 1942, "Little Boy" was a gun-type weapon, which detonated by firing one mass of uranium down a cylinder into another mass to create a self-sustaining nuclear reaction. Weighing about 9,000 pounds, it produced an explosive force equal to 20,000 tons of TNT.
When constructed in 1945, the "Little Boy" on display was an operational weapon, but it has been completely demilitarized for display purposes. In 2004 the Department of Energy repaired and repainted the artifact at its Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.
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