Nestled in a shallow little valley at the southern foot of the Macdonnell Ranges about twelve miles by air from the dead centre of Australia is one of the modern wonders of the world. The apparent, surface entrances to this super-technological retreat are located in the vicinity of 23 degrees 48 minutes south by 133 degrees 43 minutes east. It is one of the top three of several very-secret, U.S. Government -financed 'bases' in Australia.
The Pine Gap facility as it is informally known, is officially called the Joint Defence Space Research Facility; however, Australians refer to it as "Pine Gap" or just "The Gap". The CIA codename for it is "Merino".
The Pine Gap facility has had several functions. Its original function was to execute research and development of space defence technology. The primary responsibility for the facility has been controlled by the U.S. Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA )