The United States conducted hundreds of nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, filmed from all types of angles, but of which many have never seen the light of day.
Of some 10,000 videos, approximately 750 have been declassified by the US government, and 60 have been uploaded to YouTube.
Weapon physicist Greg Spriggs of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is behind the initiative with plans analyze the footage to learn as much as possible from the declassified nuclear tests.
“We don’t have any experimental data for modern weapons in the atmosphere,” Spriggs says in a video about the project. “The only data we have are the old tests, so it gets a little bit more complicated.”
There’s a lot that goes into declassifying the films, but it has to be done because the movies would decompose over time if they were not digitized as a result of them being comprised of cellulose acetate.
“You can smell vinegar when you open the cans,” he said in a statement. “We know that these films are on the brink of decomposing to the point where they’ll become useless.”
Spriggs is the hero we deserve!