Karl Jansky, Very Long Array

I half expected to be either ousted out of there bc it’s actually a disguised secret government facility, or see little green men running the gift shop.  No, seriously.  There are signs posted on roads everywhere, that this is a government facility.

But I’ve always wanted to see this place since seeing the movie 2010.  There is actually a visitor center here for $5.  But seriously, they work here.  I drove in, and was immediately asked by the gift shop lady to turn all my wifi devices off, or on airplane mode.  They were detecting radio interference.  Must be those fillings, I got from my dentist.

The free exihibits inside visitor center.  I wonder when this computer stuff becomes consumer grade.

 

The tour is self-guided.  There’s a movie.  And then you go outside to see the giant dishes, and get right next to one, though you don’t get to climb up one.  There are some smaller antennae which are important for their research, but seriously, in a 10 thousand years, when this place becomes an ancient National Park, it’ll be the giant dishes they come to see (like the pyramids).  Too bad they didn’t play that sound from Contact over the loudspeakers for dramatic effect and start running around frantically, to mess with the tourists.  I’m not even sure what data they receive, and how it’s analyzed and interpreted.  A lot of the exihibits show a visual representation of their data, so they seem to be able to analyze the data positionally in 2 dimensions.

Very very important.  There is no cell signal for miles around.  Google maps or those tiled map apps, will not work here.  It can’t reach the server for new information.  A regular GPS guidance system, w built in maps, will work.

(3/5 self-rated for tourists)

Southern AZ rest stop at sunset, just past the border.  Almost worth the long trip to AZ, from the VLA.

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Also, in case you want to glow in the dark from residual radiation to see the Trinity site, it’s only open once or twice a year bc it’s located inside the White Sands Missile Base. Seriously, find out when the dates they open it up, before going.

 

 

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