The Adventure Continues… Big Things in the Desert
This week’s episode of California’s Gold sees Huell visiting two locations in the Mojave desert that are connected to both the past and the future. The history of borax mining in California goes back to the 1880s and the 20-mule teams of Death Valley (although, interestingly, the site of California’s first borax production was Clear Lake). But long after the mines in Death Valley ceased operation, the industry is still going strong at the Borax Mine in Boron, California. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop in at the Borax Visitor Center to learn more about the history of borax and how it’s still an important mineral today.
The Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex is one of three facilities around the world tracking and communicating with spacecraft in the farthest reaches of our galaxy. This area has provided a vital link since 1958, when the first antenna was built on site. Their NASA Goldstone Visitor Center is located in Barstow, California, but there is also a museum and tours available at the Goldstone site.
Huell travels to the little town of Boron to see a big hole and a big truck. The big hole is the open pit mine where about 50 percent of the world’s borax comes from. To get the borax out of that huge open pit, there are trucks so big you won’t believe them even when you’re seeing them! They’re two stories high, wide as a two-car garage, longer than a city bus and weigh as much as one hundred and eleven mid-size cars.
Finally, Huell travels to the remote Goldstone area of the Mojave desert to visit the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications systems in the world – The Deep Space Network. Huell and cameraman Luis Fuerte find out just how big when they’re given the opportunity to climb inside one of the dishes and walk around.