2011 Summer Vacation, Day 9

We left the casino and headed down the street to the Titan Missile Museum:

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Looks fairly non-descript from the surface:

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We went down in for a tour.  Entry is through a non-hardened underground stairwell, which leads to the blast door into the hardened launch control bunker.  Behold the thick steel door:

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Everything was spring mounted (the cylinder on the wall), and the cables have slack so when a nuclear strike occurs, the equipment bounces up and down and stays working.

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The launch room:

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We went through a launch sequence, complete with lights and sirens.  After the launch, the docent said that the launch crew would wait for further instructions, but there probably wouldn’t be any, as the Air Force base would have been a Soviet target.  The crew could either suffocate once the air ran out in the bunker, or they could go up the ventilation tube and be exposed to fatal radiation.  It was sobering.

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We walked down the accessway to the missile.  The entire passage is suspended on springs.

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The missile, waiting for a war that never came:

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After the tour, we toured the museum upstairs which contained a mock-up of the warhead:

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Here’s a painting of the complex, showing, left to right, the ventilation shaft, the command bunker, the stairwell, and the missile silo:

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Next, we went to Asarco Copper Mine Museum, which is on the grounds of the Asarco Mission Mine.  It was interesting, if a bit propaganda-ish:

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Leaving the Museum, we headed Southwest of Tucson to visit Kitt Peak National Observatory.  It was 3000 foot climb to the top of the mountain.  The SUV transmission got a bit warm towing the RV up there, but it was OK.

Kitt Peak is one of the largest collections of optical telescopes in the world:

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The Mayall 4-meter reflector (right), next to the Bok:

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We took a tour to the Mayall.  We walked by the Bok:

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Sun over the Mayall:

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We got to see the Mayall on the inside.  Its mirror is 158 inches in diameter and weighs 15 tons.  The instrument is 92 feet tall:

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Looking down from the Mayall:

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Next we visited the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope.  Pretty neat:

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After a long, slow drive down the mountain, we came back down to Tuscon and hit the bowling alley:

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That night, we stayed on BLM land outside Tucson:

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We drove about 140 miles today.  Titan Missile Museum (B), Asarco Museum (C), Kitt Peak (D):

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2011 Summer Vacation, Day 8
2011 Summer Vacation, Days 10 and 11

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