How NASA helped invent Silicon Valley

From CNet News:

For anyone who’s ever been stuck in rush-hour traffic on U.S. Highway 101 through Silicon Valley, the region’s overgrowth of green-glass office buildings, ugly tech company headquarters and expensive cars is a frustrating flip side to the steady stream of world-changing innovation that has emerged there.

But if you’d visited the region in 1930, all you’d have seen was a two-lane highway cutting through acres and acres of nothing but farmland and tiny hamlets, and not even a hint of what would someday become arguably the most important commercial technology center in the world.

In December of that year, however, word came that the U.S. Navy was going to open an air station in Sunnyvale, Calif., one that would handle gigantic airships and that would need a mammoth hangar.

The result? The Sunnyvale Naval Air Station, later known as NASA Moffett Field. And today, Moffett is home to NASA’s Ames Research Center, a facility that is at the heart of Silicon Valley, both geographically and figuratively. In 1930 the region didn’t know what was about to arrive, but it soon realized how much change was coming.

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