Sixty years ago, a B-50 Superfortress flew through the pre-dawn darkness 3½ miles above desolate Frenchman Flat and opened its bomb bay doors.
A 1,000-pound atomic bomb, dubbed Able, fell through the chilly winter air and exploded before it hit the dry lake bed. It sent out a blinding white flash, followed by a red-orange glow and a shock wave. A mushroom cloud rose 14,000 feet, and a thunderous burst reverberated across the Mojave Desert.
That explosion on Jan. 27, 1951, marked the beginning of the atomic age in Nevada.