It would not be all that surprising to come upon cowboys on horseback in such surroundings, or even settlers in wagon trains, for that matter.
Instead, huge, white, round, movable radio telescope antennas -- some as tall as 20 stories high -- pop unexpectedly out of the terrain every few miles.
It is an area that time has long forgotten, but
"Goldstone started in 1958, almost before
Goldstone actually did start before
"This is the location where we develop all the new technology that is deployed in Spain and
"It's so special it's being celebrated around the world," Exelis DSN program manager
However, it all started at Goldstone, a deserted gold mining town 20 miles north-northeast of Calico. Various historians say the town's first boom came around 1850, and the last in about 1920. Several mines flourished between 1910 and 1917. By some accounts, as many as 150 men were working the mines by 1916. By 1920, all but a few had cleared out. Today, a few scattered foundations are all that remain of the "town."
The name Goldstone is memorialized in white rock on a hillside above one of the antenna sites today, almost
By December of 1958, the DSS-11 antenna had begun tracking Pioneer probes to the Moon. According to Goldstone's website, the DSS-11 antenna became the prototype for Deep Space Network antennas.
JPL Director Dr.
"Every time we've needed something for a spacecraft ... the Deep Space Network was there ready and waiting for us," said
Elachi, who besides being JPL's director also is a vice president at Caltech, said Pickering would indeed be surprised to know what the Deep Space Network has accomplished in the past 50 years.
"I came back from touring
"When we receive a signal from Voyager it was sent 16, 17 hours ago at the speed of light. Humans have been around thousands of years and it's amazing to think that our generation is the first to send something beyond our solar system."
None of that would be possible without the Deep Space Network.
"On a daily basis, the Deep Space Network supports up to 35 missions," Younes said. "We've come to the rescue of so many spacecraft in the past. We've never lost a mission. We've been in operation 50 years and had 50 years of success."
Technology drives that success. According to information provided by Goldstone, its 70-meter antenna, which is about the size of a 20-story building, can capture a spacecraft's 20-watt signal from the depths of space. That's less energy than emitted by a refrigerator light bulb.
"Imagine your source is millions of miles away!" Younes said. "Most (spacecraft) don't transmit (signals) more than 100 watts. A lot of engineering takes place. The amplifiers we have rely on super cool technology. As we go further (into space), a lot relies on the size of the antenna."
Goldstone will continue to evolve and improve, too.
"We are planning to add additional antennas," Elachi said. "Four 36-meter antennas, which will be the equivalent of a huge 70-meter antenna. We're planning to keep renovating.
"You can never tell how far the technology will take you. Ultimately we are looking at using some antennas to receive optical signals. In 10 to 15 years from now we will have radio as well as optical signals."
"We will have streaming video from the surface of Mars," Younes said. "Hopefully by 2025 we are going to have this capability."
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