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New Mexico is rich in old mining, ranching and railroading towns. The ghosts of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, John Chisum, and even Pancho Villa, all famous (or infamous) figures in New Mexico history, can be felt in many of the towns. Visitors can travel to these old places on the state's beautiful scenic byways, stopping at one (or several) of New Mexico's national and state parks and monuments along the way. There are dormant volcanoes, ancient lava flows, ice caves, fossil sites, archeological digs, and unique geology throughout New Mexico, just waiting to be explored.
But New Mexico isn't all about the past. New Mexico continues to be on the leading edge of new science and technology. The state is home to Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, the Very Large Array, and several observatories. The clear night sky offers an amazing view of the stars. Speaking of stars, New Mexico will soon be the launch pad to them. The new Spaceport America is a visionary project many years in the making. New Mexico’s weather and wide-open spaces have been ideal for the aerospace industry since Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry, began conducting research in Roswell in the 1930s. He was followed by Wernher von Braun in the 1940s, and NASA in the 1980s. With the founding of Space Port America, the nation's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, New Mexico stands on the brink of the new space age.