The site lies at the end of Texas Highway 4, seventeen miles east of the Brownsville city limits and less than half a mile from the shore, on a scrubby patch of sand and rugged, ineradicable plant life.
When it’s finished, in 2017, the installation will cover 56 acres, 22 or so of them developed for the platform and support warehouses and towers.
So next I worried for Brownsville, wondering whether, as a city, it was prepared for such a courtship.
It’s no stretch of the imagination to consider the tropical, geographically isolated Rio Grande Valley as a modern-day banana republic, in which the corporate equivalent of red-coated, pith-helmeted colonialists in dusty jodhpurs sweep in and prop their worn boots on the backs of the working class.
After the long, sandy drive to the coast, we’d find a spot, dig a hole, light a fire, and cast a few lines to catch catfish or red drum.
Sure, it was eventually miserable, but spending five to eight hours in the sun without sunscreen, rolling around on sand dunes and cavorting in the body-temperature waves, was heavenly for us farm kids.
But instead of the treasure’s being buried in the land, the land itself would be the treasure, and the time would be now, and the ghosts of the dead soldiers would be our own fathers and mothers saying, “By God, people, grab the brass ring!
A passion project for Elon Musk, the South African–born billionaire who oversaw the rise of Pay Pal and Tesla, Space X was going to privatize, and thus revolutionize, space exploration, satellite launches, and trips to the International Space Station.Space X is one of the most ambitious and cutting-edge companies in the world, trying to connect this planet with Mars, of all things, to create an umbilical from Boca Chica Beach to the valley of Mawrth Vallis, a potential landing site. I like to picture Musk, the celebrity CEO, and his fellow boffins standing on the other side of that horizon line I used to contemplate, in Florida, looking west and imagining the treasure my father dreamed about.Who would have thought that in the end my dad was right?“Now imagine that football field thirteen stories tall.That’s how much soil is needed to stabilize the foundation.” This process is called soil surcharging, and the soil will have to be trucked in, he explained, because there’s no bedrock, nothing to build on.