"Ironically, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh was the only member of that pioneering scientific team to publicly report sightings of flying discs above WSPG and was publicly ridiculed for his observations."
- J. Andrew Kissner
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White Sands and OSRD: The Atomic Bomb and V-2s
One senses the vastness and grandeur of the Chihuahuan desert at WSPG, renamed White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in 1956. Mountains rise dramatically from flat intermediate plains populated by yuccas, creosote bush and mesquite. The Tularosa Basin has mountain ranges generally oriented north to south. Between mountain ranges lie flat plains with "playas," or beaches in Spanish because the white dry lake bed looks like a beach. In general, playas are depressions in flat plains which act as evaporation ponds for runoff draining from surrounding higher elevations. What is unique about White Sands Missile Range is the pure gypsum deposits that make the sand so white. Evaporation of water from Lake Lucero, a playa, results in the concentration of those pure gypsum crystals. When blown by the wind, the crystals create the pure white sand dune area that was established in 1933 as a National Monument. [ Source: SEAFARER ELF Communications System, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Book 3, p. B-2.]
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