The truth is somewhere near

The Pentagon has spent tens of millions of dollars on blurry UFO images.

Recently it became known that the Pentagon funded the study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) to determine whether they really pose a threat. One of the goals of the program is to find out the true nature of the abnormal atmospheric phenomena: whether they are apparatus of enemy countries or alien ships from outer space. “Lenta.ru” tells what the program really is and how scientists treat it.

On December 16, 2017, The New York Times reported that the US Department of Defense spent several tens of millions of dollars on a UFO research program that ran from 2007 to 2012. As the publication wrote, several high-ranking officials were convinced that aliens do exist and they visit the Earth. Within the framework of the program, a number of documents containing UFO observation records were prepared that demonstrated technical characteristics exceeding the capabilities of modern aircraft and helicopters. The pilots reported strange lights that made incredible bends and escaped the pursuit at unimaginable speeds.

The Pentagon has financed the private company Bigelow Aerospace, owned by businessman Robert Bigelow. The main goal of this organization is the development of orbital tourist modules and the development of space tourism. But Bigelow was a dedicated admirer of UFO ideas, and besides he had useful connections in Congress. His old friend, influential Democratic senator Harry Reid, who was also interested in UFOs, was able to convince the Pentagon of the need to study the problem of anomalous atmospheric phenomena. With such support, Bigelow Aerospace not only could hire researchers to analyze cases of meeting with UFOs, but also to organize in Las Vegas repositories of “secret materials” – supposedly unknown to science alloys and other substances found on the scene of the incidents.

In 2009, Harry Reid wrote a letter to William J. Lynn III, then US Deputy Secretary of Defense, where he stated that the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP) had made unusual discoveries in aerospace research. Therefore, according to the senator, the data should be classified and accessible only to privileged persons. He also tried to convince the Pentagon that the US is not able to protect itself from some of the technologies discovered. However, Reid’s attempts to knock out even more money for questionable research were met with understandable skepticism from the Pentagon.

It is worth noting that in the so-called Bigelow Aerospace studies involved quite odious individuals. So, the program was joined by Harold Puthof, a former physicist, and now a parapsychologist, who once advised the CIA on the problems of extrasensory perception. Also Puthof is known for testing well-known illusionist and mystifier Uri Geller, known for bending metal spoons. Then the scientist came to the conclusion that Geller has “powerful parapsychological forces.” Other experts, including the illusionist and scientific skeptic James Randy, criticized Puthof’s work for the fact that the experiment was actually under the control of Geller himself.

So for strange alloys, whose origin and composition are supposedly unknown, can be stored in Bigelow Aerospace? Outside experts believe that the “experts” of the company are simply incompetent. According to the chemist and member of the American Chemical Society Richard Sahleben, there are no alloys that can not be identified. If we assume that they really took from the side of the flying saucer, the alloys still consist of a mixture of chemical elements. And all the stable and long-lived chemical elements in the Universe are known to scientists.

In nature, pure metals are rarely found. For example, gold nuggets are gold, mixed in different proportions with silver or copper. There are databases that contain descriptions of all phases of metals and metal alloys and provide methods for their identification. If an unknown alloy is found, then it is easy to find out from bases what it consists of. For example, crystalline alloys can be studied by X-ray diffraction. Since the wavelength of the X-rays is comparable with the distance between atoms in the metal lattice, then according to the refraction pattern of the rays, the structure of the alloy can be reconstructed in detail. Amorphous alloys are also relatively easy to define.

In other words, if an unknown alloy comes to you, you can go to any university with equipped laboratories, and after a few hours even students will be able to tell what chemical elements are included in its composition. And if the alloy is a piece from an unknown aircraft, experts will be able to determine its probable origin by certain characteristics. You can find out in which region of the earth the metal was extracted and which country uses such alloys. If the alloy has come from space, then there must be traces of ionization, which are formed when entering the atmosphere. But even in this case, probably, it will be a piece of a meteorite, where rare-earth metals are often present.

In an article on the AATIP program, The New York Times published several clips of unidentified flying objects that US pilots encountered. One of them captures a strange object of incomprehensible origin, which has irregular outlines and moves, as is clear from the talks, against the wind, whose speed reached 120 knots (222 kilometers per hour). During the flight, the object rotated, and this greatly surprised the pilots who saw it, who believed they saw a drone. The object itself registered the ATFLIR aiming system, equipped with an infrared camera. At the same time, a whole swarm of UFOs was seen on the radar. According to experts who studied the record, the movement of objects contradicted the aerodynamic principles.

Another video recording shows an object also fixed by the infrared camera of the ATFLIR system on the F-18 fighter. According to the pilots, on the surface of the sea they found a small oval section of bubbling water. At this point they noticed a smooth UFO of white color, 12 meters long, which circled over the sea at a speed of 300-500 knots. When one of the aircraft approached the object, he changed the direction of the flight, almost collided with the car and suddenly disappeared. The pilots noted that after that the water in the sea calmed down.

However, according to the neuroscientist and scientific skeptic Stephen Novella, the video is unremarkable and is only part of a huge array of fuzzy and fuzzy evidence. On it it is impossible to determine what exactly pilots watch, and their testimonies can hardly be relied upon. The fact is that they are initially confident that objects of artificial origin represent an aircraft. The pilots do not try to consider alternative versions of what is happening. Their estimation of the size of the object is not based on an accurate knowledge of the distance to it. In addition, there are no video checks by technical experts who could identify artifacts and defects in the survey.

In any case, Novella says, information is not enough to pinpoint the nature of the phenomenon. But the lack of knowledge about the object does not mean that it is an alien ship. At the same time, the AATIP program managers state that these videos and other data at their disposal are the best proof that aliens exist and they fly to Earth. According to Novella, such a test can not be a story of a confused eyewitness and a blurry “drop” on the film.

Seth Shostak, a staff astronomer at the SETI Institute, is also skeptical of AATIP. According to him, 90 percent of the observed UFOs have a trivial explanation, for example, camera defects, bizarre optical effects, atmospheric phenomena, bright stars, planets and drones. However, this does not mean that unexplained 10 percent are alien ships. Shostak also criticizes Robert Bigelow for being surely convinced of the reality of aliens visiting Earth, and does not try to examine this problem impartially.