Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Life in Green Bank, West Virginia, is far from ordinary. The small town sits inside a "national radio quiet zone" that houses one of the largest radio telescopes in the world. To ensure that astronomers work without interference, residents cannot use any product that transmits wireless signals within a ten-mile radius of the telescope. In other words: no microwave ovens, no cell phones, and no Wi-Fi.  "Just about anything that uses electricity could potentially cause interference to our telescopes," says Jonah Bauserman, a technician for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

This documentary was produced for American Futures, an ongoing reporting project from James Fallows, Deborah Fallows, and John Tierney. Previously, the series profiled Pittsburgh's bike scene and an arts community in Columbus.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

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