Roden Crater Is Alien Landing Site Disguised as Art Installation

Illustration for article titled Roden Crater Is Alien Landing Site Disguised as Art Installation

This is the Roden Crater, a inactive volcano northeast of Flagstaff, on the calm, dry plains of Arizona. In its sleep, it looks peaceful, harmless. Until you start climbing and reach the top of the 3-kilometer-wide mountain. Then you will be able to see the platform for extraterrestrial spaceships on its center. James Turrell says it's a large-scale art installation that will open in 2012, but he's not fooling us. This is not an art installation. This has to be a spaceport.

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Illustration for article titled Roden Crater Is Alien Landing Site Disguised as Art Installation

Obviously, it's not a spaceport like Mos Eisley, even while it looks like it. But you can call it a "starport" or "skyport" because it has been designed to capture astronomical events from the rooms-called "skyspaces"-inside the volcano. Turrell, an artist expert in optics and perceptual psychology, has spent the last 30 years creating it, removing tons of land and pouring in tons of concrete and steel to make it happen. His Roden Crater light temple is going to be the pinnacle of his work. A skyspace is a structure that has an opening in the ceiling at calculated angles. At certain times during the day, and sometimes while combined with other kind of lighting, a skypace gives the viewer the sensation of floating in midair. The rooms in the Roden Crater have been carefully designed by Turrell to provide with this sensation, while offering unique vantage points to different astronomical events that happen during the year.

So in a way, this is a spaceport, although not for alien ships to land or take off, but for people to enjoy the wonders of light and the Universe around us.

Illustration for article titled Roden Crater Is Alien Landing Site Disguised as Art Installation
Illustration for article titled Roden Crater Is Alien Landing Site Disguised as Art Installation

The light chambers are accessible through a 854-foot tunnel from the side of the volcano, as well as from an entrance on the top, which opens the way to a hall which actually look like the interior of an spacecraft.

Looks like it's time to prepare a trippin' trip for 2012. [Deputy-Dog]

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DISCUSSION

shamoononon
Shamoononon drives like a farmer

Kind of cool, but leave it to some artsy fart head to make the place too cheesy for us somewhat regular folks. I'd be afraid of being tofu'd to death for not believing in a socialist society.

They have things like this on Okinawa, except on less dormant volcanoes with more normal and more eye pleasing architecture. Nobody wants to really stay long though.