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Bockscar with temporary triangle N tail marking, on August 9, 1945, the day of its atomic bombing mission
Bockscar on August 9, 1945, the day of its atomic bombing mission

Silverplate was the codename for the United States Army Air Forces' participation in the Manhattan Project during World War II. Originally the name for the aircraft modification project for the B-29 Superfortress bomber to enable it to drop an atomic weapon, Silverplate eventually came to identify the training and operational aspects of the program as well. Modifications began in November 1943 on a prototype B-29 known as the "Pullman", used for bomb flight testing at Muroc Army Air Field in California commencing in March 1944. Seventeen production Silverplate aircraft were ordered in August 1944 for 509th Composite Group training, and to allow the 216th Army Air Forces Base Unit to test bomb configurations. In February 1945, 28 more were ordered, including Bockscar (pictured), the plane that carried out the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in August 1945. A total of 65 Silverplate B-29s were made. The use of the Silverplate codename was discontinued after the war; modifications to an additional 80 aircraft continued under a new codename, Saddletree. (Full article...)

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Female (left) and male yellow-legged buttonquails
Female (left) and male yellow-legged buttonquails

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Solar Impulse 2
Solar Impulse 2

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July 29

Battle of Kleidion
Battle of Kleidion
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Gene Roddenberry's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Gene Roddenberry's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

American screenwriter and producer Gene Roddenberry's work includes the creation of the Star Trek franchise. He began a writing career while he was a sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Department, and his first work to be bought by a network was The Secret Defense of 117, although it took four years to be broadcast. While writing for The Lieutenant, he began working on a science fiction premise that became Star Trek. He oversaw the production of the series for the first two seasons, but following budget cuts and the move to an unfavorable timeslot for the third season, he stepped back from working on Star Trek but remained credited as an executive producer. Star Trek was resurrected twice, first as an animated series, and then as Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The studio brought in a new producer for the sequel to the film, to which Roddenberry demanded creative control or else he would refuse an executive producer credit, instead only willing to be credited as creative consultant. This credit started with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and continued through to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. (Full list...)

Today's featured picture

Chequered skipper

The chequered skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon) is a butterfly of the family Hesperiidae named for its uppersides, which are dark brown with a dusting of orange scales at the base of the wings and golden spots. It is widely distributed in northern and central Europe, and its range extends across Asia and Japan and also into North America.

Photograph: Haeferl

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