Thursday, 2 August 2018

Top Scientists Explain to Senators Why We Must Look for Aliens

By Ryan Mandelbaum

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is holding a series of hearings leading up to another NASA authorization bill, which helps set goals and authorizes funding for the agency (2017-2018's bill is here). On Wednesday, scientists from U.S. universities, the Smithsonian Institution, and NASA answered senators’ questions about why Congress should fund the hunt for extraterrestrial life.
“I believe it’s one of the big questions of all of humanity,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, told the Senate committee. “This is how great nations make a mark—what they do for their citizens and how they move history forwards.”
Some of the researchers noted that pursuing tough questions brings innovation and drives the economy forward. Practical technology such as GPS came from scientists solving physics problems they were interested in (also, satellites, nukes, and the Cold War). The search for alien life also draws new excitement, encouraging young researchers to enter the field.
“Most senior engineers today, either in civilian space science, national defense or national security, were inspired by the moon landings,” Sara Seager, MIT professor of physics and planetary science, told the committee. “And today, the equivalent of that is the search for life.”
One common theme was something that tends to resonate with members of Congress: America being the best at stuff. While the US can still be considered a leader in space science—we’re still developing impressive technology like the Starshade that could assist in the Earth 2.0 hunt—European and Chinese space programs are catching up in terms of research, development, and innovation.
“Looking to where [China] might be a decade from now, if we stop investing, they will be the leaders,” Princeton astronomer David Spergel told the senators.
Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) asked about climate change and how space exploration could help people here on Earth. Ellen Stofan, director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, explained that looking at the climates of other planets has helped us understand our own. Specifically, studying Venus’ atmosphere helped scientists identify the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer back in the 1970s. Seager mentioned that medical imaging relies on astronomy techniques, and that her team at MIT is working on a small planet-hunting satellite that will probably be more useful for the way it packages data than the way it finds exoplanets. “There’s so many, we could talk here for hours,” said Zurbuchen.
Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan) asked why physicists think that life might be on Mars, given that it only had water for around 500 million years. Stofan explained the importance of actually sending humans to Mars—the life that might have developed on the planet wouldn’t have been complex, but single-celled. “I think it will take humans on the planet breaking open a lot of rocks” to find fossilized evidence of life, she said.
Senator Peters asked whether there might be advanced civilizations we aren’t able to find. Stofan said that NASA is pursuing the correct way of locating life, which is first understanding the nature and variety of life that may have evolved in our own Solar System. This knowledge could provide a basis for finding complex life elsewhere in the galaxy.
It’s clear that both houses of Congress are excited about space science, despite recent setbacks related to the James Webb Space Telescope. They don’t want to lose ground to China, and they want new technologies that private industry can use. But most importantly, pretty much everyone wants to find aliens.

UFOs are real, but don't know what they are: Former UK ministry official Nick Pope

By Nirmal Narayanan
Nick Pope, a British media commentator who worked with the British Government's Ministry of Defence (MoD) from 1985 to 2006 has claimed that unidentified flying objects (UFO) are real. In an exclusive story written for the Sun, Pope revealed that most of the UFO sightings could be explained, but around five percent remain mysterious.
UFOs are real
As per Nick Pope, the cases which perplexed his MoD team during the investigation were the near misses between UFOs and commercial aircraft. The former MoD insider argued that many pilots have reported mysterious UFO encounters which still remain unanswered.
"The bottom line was that we knew UFOs were real, but we didn't know what they were. What was much more fun was the other weird stuff that came our way simply because there was nowhere else in government to send it: crop circles, claims that people had been abducted by aliens, ghost sightings and people who claimed to be psychic and volunteered their services to British intelligence," wrote Nick Pope on the Sun.
Nick Pope also made it clear that Russians and Chinese had conducted tremendous probe to unravel the mystery behind UFO sightings. As per Pope, Russians had also researched and investigated about parapsychology, telekinesis, and various other psychic phenomena.

US government's clever move
The former Directorate of Defence Security also talked about Pentagon's secret UFO search program 'Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)'. He wrote that the US government did a very clever move by not mentioning the word UFO in the name of the investigation program.
"We still don't know much about AATIP, and it may take Congressional hearings to resolve the issue. Either way, if anyone was laughing about UFOs before, they're not laughing now," added Pope.
He also revealed that the UFOs spotted in the gun camera footage of the Royal Air Force were very similar to that of the flying objects featured in the declassified videos released by Pentagon.

VIDEO: Stanton Friedman’s Last Visit to the Roswell UFO Festival

By Open Minds
Stanton Friedman, perhaps the world most well-known UFO researcher, is retiring this year. Stanton is responsible for making the alleged crash of a UFO near Roswell in 1947 famous. 

People from all around the world know of the Roswell incident. Now that Stanton is retiring, he says this will be his last annual pilgrimage to the place it all happened. This interview took place in the Roswell UFO Museum’s library on the last day of the 2018 festival. Special thanks to Andreas Hohl of VaderVideo for filming this interview. 

The interviewer is’s Alejandro Rojas.

Read more about Stanton here:

Trailer For History Channel's Upcoming UFO Drama Series PROJECT BLUE BOOK

By Joey Paur

The History Channel has released the first trailer for their upcoming UFO drama series called Project Blue Book. For those of you UFO conspiracy theorists out there, you know exactly what Project Book Book means. I enjoy stuff like this and the series looks like it's gonna be great! It's like a retro 1950s version of The X-Files!

Project Blue Book chronicles the top-secret true U.S. Air Force-sponsored investigations into UFO-related phenomena in the 1950s and ’60s, known as Project Blue Book. 

The series stars Game of Thrones alum Aidan Gillen who plays Dr. J. Allen Hynek, "a brilliant college professor recruited by the Air Force to spearhead this clandestine operation that researched thousands of cases, many of which never were solved."
Each episode will be based on the actual case files from Project Blue Book and will blend UFO theories with authentic historical events from one of the most mysterious eras in United States history.
The series was created and written by David O’Leary and executive produced by Robert Zemeckis. It also stars iZombie's Malcolm GoodwinMichael Malarkey, Laura Mennell, Ksenia Solo, Michael Harney and Neal McDonough.
Project Blue Book does not have a premiere date yet, but it will debut sometime in 2018.

There were 7 UFO sightings reported in Halton last year

By Veronica Appia
Flashing lights, flying spheres and orange triangles are some of the descriptions of UFO sightings reported by Halton residents in 2017.

According to the Canadian UFO report released July 8, there was a total of 1,101 reported sightings of unidentified flying objects, with seven being reported in Halton Region.

The report was conducted by Manitoba firm Ufology Research, which compiled data from online UFO organizations, government files, direct witness reports, media and other internet postings. 

Here are the sighting descriptions from reports in Halton Region:

Halton Hills

1) When: Sept. 15, 2017

Colour: Red

Description: Disc-shaped. Stationary light became thin with bulge going east to west


1) When: April 21, 2017 at 11:22 p.m.
Colour: Red

Description: Two lights moving southeast slowly side by side

2) When: April 21, 2017 at 11:26 p.m.

Colour: Red

Description: Two spheres flying together going south over lake

3) When: Sept. 7, 2017 at 5:09 a.m.

Description: Video shows "Tinker Bell finally captured"


1) When: April 26, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.

Description: Stationary object with flashing lights seen through telescope

2) When: Oct. 20, 2017 at 8:20 p.m.

Colour: Orange

Description: Triangular-shaped. Two objects going east, low altitude, changed directions, went behind trees

3) When: Dec. 1, 2017 at 5:45 p.m.

Description: V-shaped object moving steadily

There were no reports submitted from Milton.

Of all the reports filed across Canada, researchers concluded that six per cent could be explained, 38 per cent were probable, 48 per cent had insufficient evidence and eight per cent could not be explained.

The Burlington sighting from Sept. 7 was captured on video and an investigation was conducted by the Mutual UFO Network, which determined that this particular object could be identified and was likely a bat or some other nocturnal animal.
York University physics and astronomy Prof. Marshall McCall says just because eight per cent of the reports haven’t been explained, it doesn’t mean they are unexplainable.

McCall says there are numerous rare phenomena, citing ball lightning as an example. Ball lightning is a spherical atmospheric phenomenon that is correlated with the electrification of soil after a lightning strike.

"This is extremely rare, in fact, even scientists have been studying this for decades without understanding what it is," McCall said, adding that it can be easily mistaken for a UFO. 

"I am personally a skeptic of the existence of UFOs in the context of being visitors from another planet, primarily from the standpoint of if there were extraterrestrials out there and they were advanced enough to visit us, why would they not introduce themselves? Why hide? Why not show yourself from time to time," he laughed.

He added, however, that he does believe that the UFO sighting reports are credible, even if they are difficult to explain.

"The eight per cent that are unexplained may remain unexplained forever, because there is no way to get data on them — they’ve already happened — and the only data you have is what somebody has communicated verbally," he said. "There is the odd picture out there of what is supposedly a UFO, but you’d have to examine the circumstances under which these pictures were taken to be able to understand more about them.

"I certainly think there are credible reports of strange phenomena and maybe an explanation exists within our current understanding and maybe not."

For further information about the report, visit

Project Blue Book Exposes UFO Secrets at Comic-Con

The upcoming History Channel series Project Blue Book is set to dramatize the famed secret government project.

By Alejandro Rogas
The History Channel has decided to tackle the controversial history of the U.S. Air Force’s involvement in researching the UFO phenomenon in their upcoming scripted drama series Project Blue Book. Promoting the winter release of their new “based on true events” series, History took the opportunity to release more information about the show and UFO history during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. An immersive activation, a new trailer, and articles on UFOs on the show’s website were all part of the push to get audiences intrigued by what could shape up to be an exciting series.
If the U.S. Air Force (USAF) doesn’t care about UFOs and claims there is nothing to the phenomenon, how can a show based on what the USAF didn’t find be worth watching? Although the USAF gives the impression that every UFO sighting they investigated was a dead end, the actual files and the researchers involved have a different story. In fact, the USAF said there were over 700 cases that remained unidentified after a thorough investigation. It was these cases that turned the lead scientist working on the project from a skeptic to one of the most influential civilian investigators of the UFO mystery.
The lead character in History’s Project Blue Book is Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who is played by Aidan Gillen of Game of Thrones fame. In real life, Hynek was a well-known astronomer and didn’t think there was anything to the so-called “flying saucer” reports of the time. He referred to the whole thing as “utterly ridiculous.” In 1948, Hynek was recruited by the USAF to aid them in their first UFO investigation, Project Sign. He stuck with them through the second program, Project Grudge, and then the third and final, Project Blue Book, which ended in 1969.

Hynek says he began to be increasingly frustrated with the USAF insisting he explain cases to the public soon after they happened. Sometimes an extraordinary case would cause a media frenzy, and Hynek would be forced to explain it before investigating. In one high profile instance, Hynek speculated that UFOs reported in Michigan during the mid-60s could be swamp gas. The public didn’t like that answer. Neither did their U.S. Senator at the time, Gerald Ford. The furor around these sightings prompted Ford to call for Senate hearings on the matter.
Eventually, Hynek felt UFOs posed a genuine mystery worthy of scientific study, despite the USAF’s opinion to the contrary. After the close of Project Blue Book, Hynek continued UFO studies with his organization the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). He became very well-known, and it was his work that inspired Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In fact, Hynek coined the phrase used for the title of the movie and had a short cameo appearance in the film.
Mix in some of the cases Hynek believed were legit, and you have a pretty exciting show, but History doesn’t stop there. They have added some speculation to spice things up. According to the show’s description, in the series, “Hynek begins to suspect that he has been duped by the government into a larger conspiracy to cover up the truth.”
During Comic-Con, History also added several articles to the Project Blue Book website, including one regarding Men in Black. Are these the nefarious government insiders trying to keep the truth from the public? We’ll see.
Regarding those articles, besides the one on Men in Black, there are also two more highlighting real Project Blue Book cases that were also part of History’s activation at Comic-Con. One is on the Flatwoods Monster, a UFO sighting that included a strange monster/robot looking thing in a forest. The other is about a dogfight an Air National Guard pilot says he had with a UFO in a P-51 Mustang. We found out in the activation the show will depict both of these events.
Following the success of their scripted drama Vikings, the History Channel has gone all in on Project Blue Book. The show is executive produced by Robert Zemeckis, who directed Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Contact. The later being an iconic film on alien contact. Besides Gillan, the show co-stars Michael Malarkey, best known as the character Enko in Vampire Diaries. In Project Blue Book he plays “the debonair Air Force Captain Michael Quinn,” a apparent Scully like character to Gillan’s Mulderish Hynek.
Taking a look at the trailer, it is immediately apparent the production value is top-notch. UFO buffs will recognize Gillan’s portrayal of Dr. Hynek as familiar. Although the show has an X-Files air about it, it feels like the universe is calibrated correctly to have a predecessor that focuses on real government files and Professor Hynek hunting down the truth. The only thing I see missing is Hynek’s signature pipe and the light brown stain it left on his salt and pepper beard. Maybe they will add that to season 2.
We will have to wait until an undisclosed time in the winter to see how the show turns out. For now, I am off to finish the Project Blue Book comic book History was giving away at the activation.