Atomic Cannon.

Atomic Cannon

Field review by the editors.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The idea of an Atomic Cannon makes sense, in an insane Cold War kind of way: if you build a gun big enough it can fire a nuclear warhead far enough that it won't kill the people who pull the trigger. As an atomic holocaust delivery system, a cannon is also a lot cheaper than a jet or a missile.

So the USA built about 20 Atomic Cannons in the 1950s, each 84 feet long, weighing over 83 tons. Each was known familiarly as, "Atomic Annie." One was even fired, once, at the Nevada Test Site, on May 25, 1953. The shell detonated 500 feet in the air with a 15 kiloton nuclear explosion, the same as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Despite their demonstrated effectiveness, the Cannons were retired from service in 1963. Several have survived as outdoor displays at museums and military installations. While memorable in concept, an Atomic Annie could visually be any other plugged-up piece of old military hardware. There are no special markings, flash protection screens, or radiation symbols. Guess if something went wrong, there's really no point.

Atomic Cannon

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

601 Eubank Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM
Southeast edge of the city. I-40 exit 165, then south about a mile on Eubank Blvd. On the right. Cannon is displayed out back of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
Daily 9 am - 5 pm. (Virus outbreak may affect access to attraction. Call to verify.)
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

National Museum of Nuclear Science and HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque, NM - < 1 mi.
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In the region:
Historic Microsoft Headquarters, Albuquerque, NM - 2 mi.

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