Arguably, the atomic age began in a barren stretch of New Mexico desert when a bomb built at Los Alamos was detonated a couple hundred miles to the south on what is today still mostly a barren stretch of desert.

Another thing that hasn't changed much since that day in 1945 in the Land of Enchantment is the state's tendency to build the game-changing technologies of the future while always remaining curiously under the radar. I've lived here over a decade now and still run into people when I travel who seem to have no clue that there is a state named New Mexico.

Trust me folks, we are part of the union, and the legacy of the Manhattan Project laid the groundwork for cutting-edge research and development that continues here 70 years later. Finally, it seems, the word may be getting out about what's happening out here in the high desert. Here's four New Mexico companies that are working at the bleeding edge of technologies that will shape the next 70 years.

Virgin Galactic - After years of delays, Richard Branson's space tourism venture has begun relocating staff, supplies and most importantly, its commercial spaceships to Spaceport America. Virgin will be the anchor tenant in the flagship commercial Spaceport, located not too far from the site of that long-ago atomic test. 

The company hopes to begin offering suborbital flights and trips to space for Earth's most adventurous tourists in the coming years. The Spaceport itself is complete, and has also become a resource for all sorts of aerospace startups from around the state and the country to perform launches and research.

Titan Aerospace - This Albuquerque drone company was acquired by Google a few years ago, and while it's rumored that the operation is being pulled back to California, there's also intriguing reports that Google has been secretly hanging around the Spaceport and testing something called Project Skybender, a mysterious drone-based 5G Internet system.

Descartes Labs - In downtown Los Alamos, but beyond the gates of the massive Los Alamos National Laboratory, there's a small office where a team that was spun out of the Lab is now using artificial intelligence to analyze a daunting amount of data collected in satellite imagery of Earth going back four decades. The possibilities are broad, but for now the startup is focusing on extracting useful agricultural data from trillions of pixels. How many ears of corn are they able to count using this data, you might ask? Specifically they've never seen a single ear of corn in those pixels, but at the same time they've seen all of them, the company's founders told me when I visited recently. And corn is just the beginning...

ARCA Space - This unlikely startup actually began in Romania and performed some contracts for the European Space Agency before relocating to Las Cruces, where it has continued work on drones, but has also added a unique product to its portfolio -- an honest-to-God working hoverboard.

I'm not talking one of those silly wheeled scooters everyone got at Christmas, or the lame hoverboards that require a custom magnetic track to work, this is what we were actually promised by Hollywood. Except that it's much bigger, clunkier, insanely expensive and has minimal speed and battery life, but hey... the future takes time.