You know you’re in the middle of nowhere when the next exit off the freeway is “Ghost Town Road.” I went on a field trip today to Goldstone, where massive antenna that are part of the Deep Space Network talk to and receive signals from spacecraft in outer space. The site was in the middle of the Fort Irwin Army training site, which is in the Mojave Desert. We passed some tanks, a model Iraqi village, and a couple of burros on our way to the massive 70-meter “Mars” antenna. This antenna got its name from its first mission, tracking Mariner 4, which returned the first pictures of the Mars surface. When we visited, this antenna was tracking Voyager 1. It was crazy to think that the spacecraft was 10 billion miles away from us and sending back a signal at one billion-billionth of a watt. Sometimes rain or sudden high winds can affect the quality of the reception, but luckily there’s not much weather out there.