Sunday, September 18

The adventure begins

We've arrived safely in Roswell, New Mexico. Our long-haul flight from Sydney to Dallas passed without incident, landing almost 20 minutes ahead of schedule. This allowed us to make a leisurely transfer to our onward flight into Roswell.

Arriving at Roswell was quite spectacular. The airport includes an expanding "airplane graveyard" where retired commercial aircraft are parked when they're taken out of service. Several hundred aircraft of all sizes from 747s to small commuter jets stand glinting in the afternoon sun. Our plane taxied past every single one of them on it's way to the tiny terminal building where another dozen 747s sat dormant.

Roswell has two claims to fame. Ten miles north of town rumour has it that a UFO crash-landed here more than 60 years ago. While the crash has long been attributed to debris from a weather balloon, conspiracy theorists continue to claim alien bodies were recovered from the wreckage of an intergalactic spacecraft. No doubt we'll learn more tomorrow when we visit the International UFO Research Museum in the centre of town.

Roswell is also home to Dr Robert Goddard, the man who invented liquid propulsion rocketry. He experimented on a series of ever larger and more sophisticated rockets on the outskirts of town for more than thirty years. Every modern rocket, from Apollo's Saturn V to the recently retired Space Shuttle main engines, can trace its origins back to his pioneering work.

Today a statue of Goddard stands proudly on the main street looking up at one of his carefully preserved launch towers. Earlier this evening we stopped briefly to pay homage to his bronze edifice while returning from dinner. I swear it's a coincidence that our hotel is located just across the street.

• Posted from my iPhone
• Location: W Country Club Rd,Roswell,United States

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