This is a very unusual gallery for me to put together. I am a sceptic when it comes to extraterrestrial alien visitation of our planet despite having had an experience myself (along the Extraterrestrial Highway that runs east of Area 51 no less). I simply believe that the vast majority of sightings, including my own, can be explained to be very mundane things. I also believe military testing and missile launches to account for many of the sightings that have been made. Certainly in our pop culture there has been many assertions of links between alien visitors and the US military.
While travelling the Southwest I have become amazed by how much of the World's ET culture and mythology centers in the Southwest. Also, many areas of the Southwest have figured into our modern science fiction whether it be through depiction in film, TV, or books. Let's look at what the Southwest has to offer:
1. Roswell, New Mexico - In 1947 an alien spacecraft crashed in the desert of New Mexico. The military came in, swore civilians who had seen the crash site to secrecy, and then initiated a cover-up. They ultimately claimed the wreckage to be from a weather balloon. The town of Roswell today is a giant UFO themed tourist trap and the town has become the setting for numerous science fiction stories.
2. Area 51 (Groom Lake facility), Nevada - This secret testing facility has been popularly associated with alien cover-ups partially as a result of the accounts of Bob Lazar who claimed to have worked near Area 51 on captured alien spacecraft. More realistically, A51 has been a testing ground for such aircraft as the U-2 and SR-71 spyplanes. Area 51 has made its way into fiction in such movies as Independence Day and the most recent Indiana Jones movie. I have been able to see Area 51 fron the top of Tikaboo Peak which is about 26 miles distant.
3. Rachel, Nevada - The town of Rachel near Area 51 has become a mini Roswell. It also plays up its alien heritage and its connection to the base.
4. The Very Large Array (VLA - NRAO), New Mexico - Although the VLA radio telescope facility is not associated with SETI it has been used as a setting and/or filming ground for several science fiction movies including Independence Day, Contact, and 2010: Odyssey 2.
6. Edwards and Nellis AFBs - These two great airbases, among many others in the Southwest, have been responsible for military testing and training. I suspect that a lot of sightings have been related to military aircraft flying out of these bases. Interestingly, the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), headquartered at Edwards Air Force Base, is assumed to be the operator of the Groom Lake facility (Area 51).
7. NORAD (Cheyenne Mountain), Colorado - The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) operates out of the Cheyenne Mountain complex which is located near the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station near Colorado Springs. It has been the setting for several science fiction movies including Wargames. The television series Jeremiah was set around Cheyenne Mountain. More popularly, it has been the setting for the Stargate franchise of movie and TV series. In the Stargate series Cheyenne Mountain is home to Stargate Command (SGC) which uses a series of gates to travel around the universe and visit various ETs. I don't have any photos of the complex since it is very off-limits but I have at least passed by the mountain.
8. White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico - This is one of the largest missile ranges in the US and it has become associated with alien lore. Some people believe that the White Sands range has been used to R&D alien spacecraft.
In addition, I have included photos in this gallery to cover the Alomogordo Space Center Museum (NM), the Alien Jerky store in Baker (CA), and Los Alamos (NM).