Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lonely on Planet Earth

Single blue and green planet, agreeable to life, loves beautiful beaches and long sunny days ISO like-minded planet that enjoys space travel and perhaps raising universal consciousness to a new level. Race unimportant.

At least that's how I imagine planet earth advertising itself to potential celestial better halves. Whether or not anyone's out there to respond...well, that's a question we'll just have to consider in the all-too-appropriate context of south eastern New Mexico where VLA telescopes scour the universe for understanding and flying saucers enjoy crashing into ranchers' backyards, or so the story goes.

The VLA telescopes are in the middle of nowhere. I mean, really. The middle of nowhere. I'm not even sure where employees live (unless the flying saucers bring them to work). The VLA (Very Large Array) Telescopes consist of 27 dish-shaped antennas that are connected to create one huge radio telescope. They collect incoming radio signals that are able to create some of the most detailed pictures of outer space available.

In entries prior, I talked about the petrified forest and how tiny I felt there in the face of time. Well, the VLA telescopes make humanity seem even tinier! The images sent back contain very faint dots, which are in fact entire galaxies undergoing starbursts where millions of new stars are being formed. These faint dots originated when giant stars 8x the size of the sun exploded as supernovas. Most of these objects are billions of light years away from earth, which means that the images the telescopes are collecting were formed billions of years ago-- some before our solar system even existed.

So, let me get this straight. Even if I managed to get my message-in-a-bottle personal ad off to outer space, it could be BILLIONS of years before anyone even notices it? This sucks! Earth might be single for a really, really, really....long time.

Perhaps this earthbound loneliness is what inspires our infatuation with those little green fellows. For those of you who don't know (What planet have you been living on?), nearby Roswell, New Mexico is the purported site of a UFO crash. 

On July 8, 1947, the army itself issued a press release announcing the discovery of a "flying saucer" that had apparently crashed about 30 miles north of Roswell on July 2. Over the next few days, the story was retracted, and according to many, a massive cover up followed. The official government explanation was that a weather balloon had crashed. An internal report released by the air force in 1995 revealed that the "saucer" was likely a top secret weather balloon being developed at the time to detect sound waves resulting from Soviet atomic tests. 

Eye witnesses disagree. William "Mac" Brazel, who found the debris and reported it to the military, had found numerous weather balloons previously on his land. He told that AP: "I am sure what I found was not any weather balloon."

The story only gets wilder. Many assert that the military also recovered four alien bodies from the site, one of which may have been living....

These days, most eyewitnesses to the events at Roswell have passed, but an alien subculture continues. The owner of StarChild a gift shop directly across from the popular UFO Museum and Research Center tells me that "Most people in Roswell hate this stuff. They keep their heads down and don't want to talk about it. People like us enjoy the business aspect of it."

They enjoy the business aspect--and they believe. Richard tells me that there's "no way it was a weather balloon." He has some empirical evidence of his own. His wife's aunt passed three years ago at the age of 100. She was an adult working at the local bank when the crash occurred. At a family barbecue, Richard asked her, "So, just tell me. Did the crash happen or not?"

She dropped her fork and looked him straight in the eye: "Yes, it happened. And I don't ever want to say another word about it."

Richard explains her reaction by saying, "Back then after WWII, people were real patriotic. When the government or the military, someone in uniform told you to do something for your country, you did it." 

In other news, Roswell has huge dairy farms and high fuel prices, topics of endless discussion amongst locals.

Weather balloon...flying saucer...dairy farms...fuel prices...

I don't know what you'd rather chat about over a beer in the local pub, but personally, I'll take the flying saucer. 

Maybe we're all alone here in this unfathomably big universe, but we're not forced to make small talk about cows. We can make up mythological space ship crashes and bug eyed green humanoids to keep ourselves entertained.

Ahhh...that makes me feel better. My dates are on their way. They'll pick me up at my roadside hotel with a wave and a smile:
We'll head out to a fancy restaurant:

We'll get a pet RTD2:

And, you guessed it: We'll live happily ever after.

1 comment:

  1. Cute story. Elsewhere you mentioned that the younger generation (feels weird just typing that) is not familiar with The Incident. It's kinda like the kiddos over in China and Tienanmen square...hmmm...


Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
- Oscar Wilde


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