Word last week that the Willcox area could become the landing site for a future voyage of the Boeing Starliner revived local interest in space.
There has been talk during the past several years about the possibility of a Starliner landing at the Willcox Playa, until the first attempt to reach the International Space Station in December, 2019, was a failure. Spokesmen for the mission said a “premature burn” knocked the vehicle off course, which subsequently resulted in the unmanned capsule being redirected to land in White Sands, New Mexico.
This may be the one situation where having absolutely nothing at the potential landing site makes it the best location for this project. Mark Gaspers, Boeing’s Southwest Region National Strategy Manager, told members of the Cochise County board last week that the Playa has “97 opportunities” for a Starliner landing and that its desolate location is well-suited.
“You filled a geographic need with a clear 2.5-mile circle with absolutely nothing in it. Not a tree, not a boulder, not a building — absolutely nothing so we would have a safe environment for a landing,” Gaspers said.
If this project comes to fruition, Cochise County may have a tourist attraction that appeals for its lack of anything!
It’s grass growing season.
In our travels, we noticed an impressive lawn at 301 Kings Way in Sierra Vista The yard is a beautiful green without any apparent weeds and stands out in a landscape dominated by the desert.
The center courtyard at Cochise College in Sierra Vista is also a wonderful, thick lawn.
If you know of a “spa of green” in our desert — a local lawn worth mentioning — make sure to send us an email at the address below.
We admire Marilyn Bowen.
Last week our column on rattlesnakes issued a warning that the warm weather has brought these sometimes deadline reptiles out of hibernation.
Ms. Bowen responded, regaling a truly unique experience.
She writes: “I wonder how many of your readers have eaten rattlesnake. About 50 years ago a bowhunting friend, who had killed a rattler on a javelina hunting excursion, asked me if I would like to have the cleaned, frozen carcass.
“Being an avid chili cook-off contestant, I jumped at the chance to introduce a higher level of excitement into the event with my rattlesnake chili.
“Old Tucson was hosting the state cook-off that year and, needless to say, it was a big hit especially with the Boy Scouts, who cherished the vertebra I had saved, and the Japanese tourists who relish all things ‘Old West’.”
Speaking of space, public viewing at the Patterson observatory will resume this month. NASA ambassador and Sierra Vista resident Ted Forte announced last week that the monthly open house observing events at the observatory begins on Thursday April 22 with a hybrid event. Doors open at 7pm. Admission is free, but space is limited for the in-person part of the program, so guests are required to register in advance, on-line, at https://www.universitysouthfoundation.com/patterson-observatory.
Got something to say? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org