Los Alamos National Laboratory (LMNL) has turned to a mobile app to let the public time travel to the 1940s. LMNL announced that it has re-released its mobile app, The Secret City: Project Y, which allows users to explore Los Alamos, N.M., as it was during the Manhattan Project in the 1940s.

For those who aren’t history buffs, the Los Alamos Laboratory, also known as Project Y, was a secret laboratory established by the Manhattan Project and operated by the University of California during World War II. It was tasked with designing and building the first atomic bombs. The lab was eventually renamed the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1981.

Through the app’s story mode, users can see how Project Y changed what was once a quiet mesa top into a top-secret laboratory. Users can also try out the Marchant calculator – a mechanical desk calculator used by the human computers during the project. Once the pandemic is over and people are allowed to travel safely, users can bring their mobile devices to downtown L os Alamos and see how much has changed in the last 75 years.

The app was rebuilt and released for the fifth anniversary of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, LMNL said in a press release. The ability to virtual tour the site and learn more about Project Y comes at an especially opportune time as the Manhattan Project National Historical Park’s educational facilities are all currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secret City: Project Y app is available today on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.