We are now flight ready, the detector is performing well, and we are waiting for the weather to turn so that we can launch. While we are waiting for the weather, we frequently operate the instrument in order to exercise all components, and detect any potential issues. But we also took a few days off, which is why we haven’t posted any updates recently. Matthias Beilicke and I decided to visit White Sands on Saturday, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Ft. Sumner.
White Sands is a gypsum desert in southern New Mexico in the Tularosa Basin, and the largest gypsum dune field in the world. Most of it is protected as the White Sands National Monument. Matthias and I took a three-hour walk through the desert, following the marked Alkali Flats Trail. Without the markers one would easily get lost. The area also played an important role in rocket science and early space exploration, being home to the White Sands Missile Range proving ground. Furthermore, the area hosts White Sands Space Harbor, a former Space Shuttle landing strip. The nearest town, Alamogordo, hosts the New Mexico Museum of Space History.