Cold War relic gets new use

- It didn't bristle with guns or fire lasers, but the massive satellite dish at Camp Evans in Wall, New Jersey, was a weapon, all the same, in the decades-long Cold War between the U.S. and former Soviet Union.

"This site proved that with the right radio equipment, you could pierce the ionosphere," says Fred Carl, director of the InfoAge museum at Camp Evans. "And the exciting thing about that is that now people could envision satellites and travel to other planets."

InfoAge's stated mission is to preserve scientific history, both for its own sake and for that of future generations of young scientists. Several years ago, the group secured a $15,000 donation from the Harris Corp., which originally built the dish, in order to preserve and repaint it. But a team from Princeton University came along and took the renovation several steps further, all the way back into operation, albeit in a new role.

What is it doing now? "It is collecting emissions from pulsars and other bodies out in the Milky Way," said Carl, sitting at a newer bank of electronics installed by the Princeton team. He added that the gear is turning those emissions into data that can be studied by the students to learn more about the universe.

The rehabbed dish is part of the InfoAge museum which is open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $5. For more info visit infoage.com.

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