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Anybody Out There? | by tj.blackwell
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Anybody Out There?

The Very Large Array features prominently in popular cultural depictions of scientific research, and in particular the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Carl Sagan's 1985 novel Contact features a fictionalized version of the project, expanding the number of dishes to 131 and renaming it to the "Argus Array." In the silver screen version of the story, much of the outdoor footage was shot here. For an excellent illustration of the mystique surrounding radio transmissions in space, and mankind's own broadcasts to the universe, I thoroughly recommend viewing the opening sequence to 'Contact'.


It is also seen in the final scene of the alien-invasion film The Arrival, and the beginning of Independence Day when the alien invaders were initially detected by SETI. There are two brief scenes in the 1998 film Armageddon, showing the VLA tracking the asteroid as it headed toward Earth.


In the 2009 science-fiction film Terminator Salvation, the VLA is the location of a Skynet facility. At the beginning of the narrative, the site is attacked by Resistance forces which succeed in entering the facility, but Skynet destroys it with an apparent low-yield nuclear weapon. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the trivia).

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Taken on July 18, 2010