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Roswell's a haven for UFO enthusiasts

If you're a tourist, why else would you come to this little town in New Mexico if it weren't to join the alien madness?

This alien autopsy scene was created for the film 'Roswell.'
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

ROSWELL, N.M.--If you're coming to this town for anything other than UFO madness, you're probably heading to the wrong place.

I came as part of Road Trip 2007, my driving tour of the Southwest in search of the most interesting technology- and science-related stories.

Roswell is the self-proclaimed UFO capital of the world, and it is still reaping the tourist-dollar benefits of an event that happened 60 years ago, when a local may have found the remains of a crashed UFO in a field that's actually quite some distance from here.

The event made world headlines and the U.S. military clamped down, denying that it was anything other than a crashed weather balloon. The rest is X-Files history.

Yet, here we are, all these years later, and Roswell's UFO industry is still going strong. It's true that it's relegated to a small area of downtown, centered around the International UFO Museum and Research Center, but in that area, hoo boy, nearly every shop has a window full of alien swag for sale.

It's interesting stuff, if you believe. If you don't believe, it's probably just annoying. But then, what would you be doing visiting here?

Around downtown Roswell, there are endless shops catering to alien-crazy tourists. They sell all manner of alien/UFO souvenirs. Daniel Terdiman/CNET