Nike Missile Rest Stop
White Sands, New Mexico
An old Nike Missile stands as if launch-ready at a highway overlook, welcoming drivers to pull off and ponder the desert where America once tested its atomic bombs. Benches and a sheltering roof are thoughtfully provided.
The overlook provides a dramatic view down into the valley to the White Sands Missile Range. The range is still used for tests.
The Nike Hercules Missile is 41 ft. tall, and was part of a Cold War anti-aircraft defense system designed to protect American cities from Soviet bomber attacks. The missile, which would speed to its target at 2,500 miles per hour, had a range of 75 miles and "a maximum altitude of almost 30 miles," according to an informative sign at the rest stop.
Shoot your photos of the valley from this lofty perspective, because once you're down on the White Sands army base you aren't permitted to point your camera in that direction.