Socorro Adventure Day 3: Making Contact


Have you watched the movie CONTACT? a 1997 American science fiction drama film about a SETI scientist portrayed by Jodie Foster?

In the film, she found strong evidence of extraterrestrial life and was chosen to make first contact, thus, the film title.

I was asking because, I haven't watched the movie yet, but we'll do this summer! LOL!

The point of interest is in the VLA, do you see the satellite-looking-dish antennas in the photo?

Well, in our Physics class we had a field trip and visited the "more than 300 million US dollars" VERY LARGE ARRAY.

The Very Large Array is one of the world's premier astronomical radio observatories. It has 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.

According to inside information one satellite costs about 4 million! Since, it was paid for by the US taxpayers, we basically own the machine.

More information could be found in the NRAO - National Radio Astronomy Observatory website.

For the mean time, enjoy our photos!

Head Quarters of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory inside NM Institute of Mining and Technology campus.

On our way to the HQ, that's our Professor in green hat. He has 12 students total this summer.

Inside the HQ, the VLA Operations Center. They showed and explained about the receivers, how data was transferred and all the BIG SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY terminologies - I didn't really understand! LOL!

Here's something interesting! 

After driving for an hour from the university, here we are! 

One of the 27 antennas! 

At the control room of the VLA, with the operator (blue shirt) and our Prof. Dave. 

Here's me in the the Barn (where the 28th satellite is being repaired). 

With some of my classmates and our professor (yup! I'm the only Filipino in the class!); behind us is one of the two transporters (in the whole world) of the VLA.

Powerful machine! 

There you go - the filming of contact in the site! 

This image was captured by the VLA.

This is something new for me: satellites, arrays, radio astronomy.. but interesting. 
Really interesting!

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