Wake up, it's space day! That was the phrase used to rouse the children this morning. What 13 and 10 year old wouldn't bite on that, right?
It was a fairly long travel day (a total of about 400 miles) with one very fun stop at the Very Large Array outside of Socorro, New Mexico. Science club alumni nerds of the world unite! This place is, of course, a gigantic radio telescope facility located directly in the middle of nowhere, on purpose. 27 total dishes in a 9 x 3 array, each one is 82' across and weighs 230 tons.
Their website had told us all along that the only guided tours were held on Saturdays, so we thought that we would be doing the self-guided thing. It was a nice little surprise when we arrived at 1:00 and there was a guided tour starting at...1:00! Big Trip karma strikes again. We jumped aboard and a super-braniac VLA employee gave us background, answered a bunch of questions, brought us to meet the Astrophysics guy running the show and led us around the rest of the support facility before giving us access to get up close and personal with one of the dishes. I could yammer on much more but suffice to say, it was cool. Jodie Foster was unfortunately no where to be found, other than narrating an overview video.
Several more hours in the car landed us in Roswell. No alien sightings yet, but we are hopeful for tomorrow!