Did You Know / Did You Care #5

One delightful December day while we were staying in Deming, New Mexico, Nancy went for a leisurely walk around the campground but returned tp the Goddard after a few minutes to get our binoculars. “I want to make sure I’m not seeing a UFO,” she said, and she once again departed. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, of course, and went back to what I’d been doing. A few minutes after that, she asked me to go with her on a short walk. I agreed. and we walked to the other side of the RV park’s office. Nancy pointed at something in the sky south of us while handing me the binoculars.

This is a horribly blurry photo that doesn’t show the TARS in its best light, but it was, at the time, a few miles south of us and a mile or so up in the air (the page at the link below has a much better image, along with everything you’d care to learn about the TARS program). This photo was taken with a 300mm zoom lens.

Did you know / did you care that the border between the United States and Mexico is monitored by airborne radar systems? The Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) is an unmanned inflatable aerostat (a type of dirigible, but it doesn’t have its own power) that monitors ground and low-level air activity around the border between the United States and Mexico, and there’s one currently stationed in the airspace a few miles south of Deming (which is about 30 miles north of the border with Mexico). The radar data gathered by the aerostat, which is moored with 25,000 feet of cable, is transmitted to a ground station for analysis. The TARS south of Deming is the only one in New Mexico; there are two in Arizona, three in Texas, and a few more monitoring ocean activity in Florida and Puerto Rico. The TARS program is administered by the U.S. Air Force.

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