A powerful piece of hidden US history is once again emerging into the light.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California made a stir earlier this year when it released a group of Cold War-era atmospheric nuclear test videos that were declassified and approved for public viewing. We now have a sequel that’s just as devastating to watch as the first round.
The laboratory’s latest batch includes 62 videos posted on Thursday. The films are from a series of 210 tests conducted by the US between 1945 and 1962. Many of the films, which were kept in vaults around the country, were suffering from decay.
These films aren’t just interesting artifacts. They’re also being used to help train modern-day computer simulations. Scientists are looking to the films to provide information on how much energy was released by each of the tests.
“The common thread between these films is that they contain a great deal of quality scientific data, data that can never be reproduced,” the laboratory noted in a release.
For more casual viewers, the films offer a fascinating and frightening time capsule that bears witness to the destructive potential of nuclear weapons.
“These are devastating weapons, and I hope they’re never used in war. But the stockpile has been an effective deterrent for more than 70 years. My hope is that this project can help to make sure it stays viable into the future,” says Gregg Spriggs, a nuclear weapon physicist at the LLNL who leads the film preservation team.