Howard Hughes and the atomic bomb

At the center of a desolate valley in the middle of Nevada, more than a dozen miles from the nearest paved road, one of the few signs of human activity is a rusty steel well casing that juts oddly out of the desert floor.

Nobody lives here, but it has a name: the Central Nevada Test Area. It was once a hub of scientific activity. Today, it is an abandoned outpost of the Cold War.

In the lore of the nuclear arms race, the Central Nevada Test Area has occupied a special place of mystery. Only one test was ever conducted there, and even for aficionados, the reasons have never been entirely clear.

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