Atlas Place Writing Prompt: Wyoming's Intergalactic Spaceport

Atlas Obscura is full of places and foods that can send the imagination reeling. Let’s lean into that creative spirit and use some of the world’s most amazing places from the Atlas Obscura database as prompts for your original fiction! Inspired by the old recurring io9 feature, Concept Art Writing Prompt, we’ll occasionally be presenting amazing places and images from the Atlas as inspiration for short fiction, poems, and other creative responses (please note that any comments will be subject to the same rules and conduct guidelines as the rest of our forums). We’ll provide the location, you provide the story!

“Welcome refugees of Jupiter!”

In the mid-90s, Green River, Wyoming set up the very first intergalactic runway, hoping to provide a home to any aliens displaced by a massive comet strike on the planet Jupiter. While no beings have landed (that we know of), it remains an evocative landmark in rural Wyoming. Learn more about the place below, and then tell us a story in the comments below!

“Despite his excitement, Old Ezra Crain stopped to take in his present circumstances. The evening sky was a luminous gray, like a trillion tons of steel quickly cooling over the rocky scrubland all around. The alien ship that had interrupted the unbroken sky with its descent, vented strange gases from the seams in its insectoid carapace. Ezra had been coming to this spot every evening for the past 15 years, but this was not the scene he had so long envisioned. The sky was too dark, the vessel too strange. A creature emerged from the mist at the base of the craft and approached Ezra in a jerking, stuttered gait. Twice as tall as any of Ezra’s neighbors, the alien extended one of its lower appendages towards the old man, the rest of its body continuing to shake and contort in purposeful spasms. Like the ship, like the heavens themselves on that fateful day, it was not how Ezra had envisioned alien life. But as he ran his eyes up the being’s oiled, twitching form, Ezra did exactly what he’d been planning to do for 15 long years. He wrapped his thick fingers around the alien’s single proffered claw, and squeezed. The alien’s secretions made his skin itch like he was touching fiberglass, but he pulled the being close, grinning wide at where he thought its head might be. Beneath that iron sky, amidst the lonely brush, Old Ezra Crain said, “Welcome to Wyoming.”"


Jolie could have interpreted her posting to a blank stretch of Wyoming prairie as a punishment for being too stringent in following the rules. She chose, instead, to believe that her unyielding sense of duty had garnered her a place of honor in safeguarding the homeland from the most alien sorts of aliens.

She went out every day and sat down on a metal folding chair that she brought with her, wearing her TSA uniform and her bright blue latex gloves, and she waited. The chilly Wyoming wind had a way of cutting right through her jacket, but she never did complain.

The intergalactic runway didn’t see much action other than the brief and graceless flight of the odd prairie chicken. Prairie chickens fell outside of the TSA’s jurisdiction, though, so Jolie didn’t pay them much mind. Last year there had been that ship inbound from Sirius, but the Sirians had promptly shot back into space after Jolie had made it clear to them that this was a runway for intergalactic flights, and that flights from neighboring star systems did not qualify to use the facilities.

Maybe it was a slow and lonely posting, without much to do other than watch the wind ruffle the sedge. But Jolie was unwavering. She knew that if she only stayed there long enough–keeping her blue latex gloves on day after day after day–that one of these days, after all of that probing that aliens had inflicted upon the people of Earth and of these United States–one of these days, she was going to get to return the favor.


Nicely done!

Thank you.

“Hallo? This better be urgent, Milley.”
“Mr. President, sorry to interrupt your tweets, but we do have an urgent situation on hand.”
“Errr…Putin feeling frisky?”
“No, Mr. President. Aliens. Jovian aliens. The huge ship full, landing on Green River.”
“Call Richardson immediately. Lengyel too. Deploy submarines, if needed.”
“But, Mr. President…”
“No buts, Milley. Once done, scoop them up, fill up the ship, and shoot them across the border. I don’t need any more refuge camps here.”
“But, Mr. President…”
“Milley! I gave you my order, now do it!”
“Yes, Sir. G’night, Sir.”
“Hmmm, jovial aliens…”[mumbles to himself] “Not for long.”

“Yes, Milley?”
“General Dunford, Sir…forgive me for waking you, I have an urgent question.”
“Yes, Milley?”
“Sir, do we happen to have an intergalactic spaceship launcher available?”


subject: Why is there a run way in our town?

I have written now multiple times, with no response, trying to understand why Edwards Air Force has built a run way outside our town. We have no need for such construction and in fact the area in which it is constructed is land that is owned by Jeff R. Buckley. He has repeatedly raised concerns about this issue at our town hall meeting and we are not 100% sure what to tell him. We have had no contact with the government nor your agency and our governing body feels that this is a very serious property right issue. If we could please be contacted by a representative concerning this project and receive the official documentation for the development and construction so that we can legally move forward on this issue.

Thank you
Mayor Mark
Green River

subject: RE: Why is there a run way in out town?

The project is classified. For more information on the legal proceeding of the property see article 456 section 3a of the special powers document that you can obtain by request to the state legislator.
As a suggestion, what we can do, of which we will personally add to the costs for construction, is to put a sign outside on the main road and make it a tourist attraction. Something like …

“Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport.”

I have a whole back story that my 9 year son wrote which could create a lore of the place. It could be a little bit of a tourist attraction. In the future the internet might even write stories about this.

Let me know if you are interested.
John Bardeen