Mount Haleakala Observatories, Hawaii

A remarkable collection of five or so observatories at 10,000 feet on this mountain. The LURE facility, for example, bounced lasers off reflectors left on the moon, to measure tectonic movement on earth. Another, an Air Force observatory, is part of the USAF Ground-based Electro-optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system. In 1996, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab installed a system using one of this station's 39-inch telescopes to monitor space for asteroids that might pose the threat of a collision with Earth, as part of NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Tracking program (NEAT). Over 5,000 asteroids have been detected by the system already. The Air Force also maintains a large satellite tracking and monitoring station here, part of the Air Force Research Lab called AMOS, or the Maui Space Surveillance System, which includes a supercomputing center elsewhere on Maui, and one of the most powerful optical instruments ever designed to identify and "characterize" enemy satellites. Also on site is a solar observatory.