This Town Banned Cellphones and Wi-Fi to Better Search for Alien Life

Are you sensitive to electromagnetic waves? Do you love aliens? Check out Green Bank, West Virginia!

Ever wish you could live in a small rural town specifically tailored to support the search for alien life, à la Jodie Foster’s Contact? No? Just me?

Meet the small West Virginian town dubbed “The Quietest Place in America.” It contains 13,000 square miles of cellphone-free airwaves and restricted Wi-Fi access. Created in 1958 to protect telescopes from potentially harmful electromagnetic waves, this area is known as the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone— and it is both the coolest and the eeriest place in the United States.

Almost like a time capsule, the city itself is home to the Green Bank Telescope, the world’s largest steerable radio telescope, standing 450 feet tall with a surface area of 328 by 360 feet (that’s two football fields). Until 2021, the telescope will be part of the biggest scientific search ever for proof of extraterrestrial life, scanning 85 percent of the celestial sphere.

Aside from pioneering the search for remote space activity, the Quietest Place in America is also a haven for people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad and its spin-off, Better Call Saul, you’ll recognize this term from the character Chuck McGill, who claims to suffer from the condition.

Either way, this small town is simultaneously a unique portal into pre-industrial times and a potential launchpad into a very advanced future:


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