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Monday, March 25, 2013

Looking for Aliens



On our way home from Arizona, we took a side trip to Roswell, New Mexico. I’ve heard of Roswell for years. Okay, who hasn’t heard of the “Roswell UFO Incident” in 1947 when a spacecraft containing E.T.’s buddies crashed in the nearby desert? True or not? Stories of conspiracies and cover-ups abound. Since I write science fiction romance, I had to see the town for myself. So I convinced Hubs to make the detour. Like the good guy he is, he indulged my whimsy.


After all the stories about Roswell, I’m not sure what I expected—certainly not a rather large city that looked like any other city. Then I saw for a sign at fast food restaurant proclaiming “Aliens Welcome” and gift shops selling “UFO and Alien Stuff” and little green guys with big heads and huge eyes decorating businesses. What fun!




When I discovered the UFO Museum and Research Center, I knew we had to go there. The amount of newspaper clippings, first-, second- and third-hand accounts of the incident was astounding. After reading a few, my eyes started to glaze over. Did a spaceship from another planet (or even another galaxy) really crash there? Sure makes you wonder. Then you have to wonder why would extraterrestrials want to visit Earth in the first place? If we aren’t capable of traveling beyond our own moon, we sure don’t have technology they could use. Or maybe they were tourists, checking out neighboring planets. Anyway, the museum was fun. I found one alcove particularly interesting. It contained statements from famous people—like Presidents Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter who believe in life elsewhere in the universe. See, I am not alone.

Prior to that little side trip, we saw the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array. While Hubs wasn’t impressed with the UFO Museum, the VLA really piqued his interest. Again, I’d heard of it or rather one like it in the movie Contact. Finding it was a challenge. The observatory could benefit from better signs. That being said, it was worth turning around twice.

What’s so special about—or rather what is—the VLA? It’s 27 radio antennas that look like huge (each 82 feet in diameter and weighs 230 tons!) satellite dishes all pointed at the sky. Now that was impressive. The antennas collect and combine radio waves from celestial objects (stars, planets, asteroids, etc.). Now I’m not a scientist and I don’t understand how they do it, but just seeing the array in person was truly awesome. How I wish we’d visited on the first Saturday of the month for a tour. Are they listening for communication from extraterrestrials? Are they sending out signals to the extraterrestrials? Again, that reminded me of a movie. (If you follow my blog, you know I’m a movie-aholic. lol) In Battleship, alien scouts try to use an array in Hawaii to “call home” and tell their friends and relatives to come invade Earth.

Kidding aside, I’m glad we got off the Interstate for the first two days of our journey home. Along with Roswell and the VLA, we saw vistas like the Salt River Canyon in Arizona, the high desert complete with dust storms in New Mexico and the tallest grain elevators I’ve ever seen in Texas. 

Unfortunately, no aliens came out to play.

15 comments:

  1. I love visiting different places like that. It does make you wonder why aliens would want to visit us. Maybe we are a great vacation spot to rest and relax since we don't have the major technology!

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    1. Absolutely. Each time we go out to Phoenix to see our son we end of seeing something different. Amazing country.

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    2. That should have been "end up seeing" but then you all probably figured that out. :)

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  2. You're so lucky hubs was willing to go on the side trips! My hubby has blinders when he's driving from one place to the next. Sounds like you had a great vacation - welcome back to the frozen tundra!

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    1. Thanks, Patty. I so didn't want to wear my winter coat again. :(

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  3. A bit of trivia: The TV show Roswell was actually filmed in West Covina CA. A restaurant was converted into the Crash Down Cafe for shooting. I don't think Roswell looks much like West Covina!

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  4. Diane, did you ever see Contact staring Jodie Foster? That had those satellite dishes.

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    1. Yes, that's why I wanted to see the VLA. Some of Contact was filmed there and at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Also discovered that the beginning of Independence Day was filmed at the VLA in New Mexico. I'm going to have to watch both films again!

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  5. That sounds exciting, Diane. Never know when another story will sprout from it. Hope I get to experience it one of these days.

    All the best, Annette

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    1. Hubs said the picture (above of the VLA) could be used for a cover. Now I'll have to write a story to fit. LOL

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  6. Sounds like my kind of vacation! I'm going to have to make it down there sometime. :)

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  7. We returned from AZ a little before you did. Next time we'll have to check out some of those side trips you took. Congrats on having a hubby who will indulge you. What fun!

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  8. Weather-permitting, for a really exciting shortcut take US-60 from Socorro, NM to Phoenix (actually, Mesa). The route takes you through the Salt River Canyon. Lots of switchbacks. The view from the top is thrilling. BTW, the VLA is on that route about 50 miles west of Socorro.

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