On the same desert grounds where today’s space-age missiles are tested, ten-thousand-year-old arrowheads have been found. New Mexican history has ranged from arrows to atoms and has embraced Indian, Spanish and Anglo cultures. Few states can claim such a distinctive past.
In the 1930s, Robert H. Goddard, the American father of rocketry and space flight and designer of the first liquid propelled rocket moved to New Mexico and launched 56 rockets on a parcel of isolated land outside of Roswell.
In 2012, daredevil Felix Baumgartner rode a helium balloon to an altitude of 128,100 feet. With millions watching on television and YouTube, he jumped, reaching a top speed of 833.9 mph (Mach 1.24) before deploying his chute and landing safely in the New Mexico desert.
After WWII, Los Alamos and Albuquerque had many new laboratories. Hundreds of highly educated scientists and engineers moved in the state. New Mexico soon had a higher percentage of people with PhDs than any other state.
The “DOPPLER” radar system was invented in New Mexico.
Edward Uhler Condon (1902 – 1974) was a nuclear physicist and a pioneer in quantum mechanics who was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He oversaw and conducted research that was instrumental to the development of both radar and nuclear weapons.
Forgot to buy birthday gift? You can thank Albuquerque born Jeff Bezos for saving the day with same day delivery. Founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon.com, he is considered one of the pioneers of e-commerce and also founded Blue Origin, a private spaceflight company.
The world’s first personal computer, the MITS Altair, was invented in Albuquerque in 1971.
Cleanrooms, which ensure that dust and aerosol particles, airborne microbes, and chemical vapors don’t contaminate microchips, were invented in Albuquerque in 1962 at Sandia National Laboratories.
Edwin H. Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera: “I recall a sunny day in Santa Fe when my little daughter asked why she could not see at once the picture I had just taken of her. As I walked around the charming town, I undertook the task of solving the puzzle she had set me. “Within an hour, the camera, the film and the physical chemistry became so clear to me.”
Michael E. “Mike” Reynolds is an architect based in New Mexico, known for the design and construction of “earthship” passive solar house.
Clyde William Tombaugh spent most of his life in New Mexico looking to the stars. His greatest discovery, Pluto, was downsized to a dwarf planet in 2016. When he died at age 90, a small portion of his ashes was placed aboard the New Horizons spacecraft.
The world’s first Atomic Bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, on the White Sands Testing Range near Alamogordo. North of the impact point a small placard marks the area known as Trinity Site. The bomb was designed and manufactured in Los Alamos.
Grants, New Mexico is known as the “Uranium capital of the world,” having produced the bulk of the nation’s uranium supply during the post-World War II and Cold War era.