NASA UFOs explained

By Phil Plait | June 2, 2009 7:00 am

Some UFO stories are sillier than others. Among the very silliest are claims that NASA not only has evidence that the Space Shuttle is buzzed by flying saucers, but that they have video of it and this video is commonly released by NASA.

OK, can we first screw our heads on straight here? If you’re claiming that astronauts routinely take video of alien spacecraft, and that NASA is desperately trying to cover them up, why in the frak would they release the video?

Hello, McFly? I mean, seriously?

Anyway, the videos usually makes me laugh, because the "UFOs" in question are just ice particles on the Shuttle dislodged when they fire the maneuvering jets. And when they fire the jets again, the expanding plume of gas makes the particles change direction and accelerate away. It’s really that simple, yet there are elaborate conspiracy theories created to say these are alien spacecraft, and lots of people buy into it.

I saw a presentation by an astronaut a few years ago debunking the claims of a UFO guy who swore up and down that these particles were spaceships. The astronaut — my friend the late Ron Parise — showed that the "UFOs" also seemed to change directions right after the vernier jets fired. The UFO guy said that Shuttle rockets are hugely powerful and it’s silly to think that was the cause; they’d move the Shuttle around! But as Ron points out, the jets are very gentle, designed to slowly and carefully change the Shuttle’s attitude — its pitch, yaw, and roll relative to Earth. Those generate only a few pounds of thrust, enough to slow the Shuttle’s attitude drift, for example.

This was a clear case of some guy not doing any research at all, and then reaching for the most ridiculous and elaborate explanation he could think of. That’s typical for conspiracy theories.

But it’s almost always the wrong thing to do in, y’know, real life.

Isn’t it cool enough that we put people into orbit in multiton winged spacecraft so that they can do science and exploration and extend our knowledge of the Universe? Why do people insist on making up nonsense about this?

Tip o’ the tin foil beanie to Jim Oberg.

Comments (241)

  1. Why do people insist on making up nonsense about this?

    Because one-armed farmers say they’ve been visited and have numerous photos of UFOs? Just ignore the garbage can with the missing lid…

  2. It reminds me of an essay IVAN3MAN posted over at factsnotfantasy.com about “thinking disorders”. Granted, the essay was about a different topic, but I think it applies.

  3. “Why do people insist on making up nonsense about this?”
    Because it makes the nutjob feel powerful to have a great story, the inside info, for the first time in their pathetic lives. It’s empowering. It’s sad, too, that they don’t seek out the real truth, but I suppose that takes real effort and it’s not as easy as just making stuff up.

  4. hammster

    Haha just look at the stuff they are trying to pass as real! These are ice crystals for sure.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrniMvyq1a8&feature=related

  5. well im not sure about the nasa piks, but i tell yuo folks ufos exist and i mean their everywhere, one nearly picked me up when i was fishing it was three of us in the australian bush, you take this sirius when you live it, i beleive it, steve a sydney australia

  6. rob

    ah. once again Phil, you are well meaning, but wrong. those actually are cleverly concealed teeny tiny spaceships. the crafty aliens shroud their ships in ice. when they are done taking photos of the shuttle, they hack into the shuttles systems and fire the jets to help give them a boost to leave the area. this masks the fact that they are intergalactic marauders stealing our orbiter secrets and gives the astronauts a credible story to assauage the tin foil hat crowd. it’s all part of Big Pharma’s secret agenda to show that the sun revolves around the earth and to get “Firefly” back into production.

  7. Stone Age Scientist

    Phil, I can attest to this observation: People see what they want to believe in. Unfortunately, the more they see, the more they believe.

  8. Bolaro

    If any of you trust the guy accusing NASA of covering up UFO”S, NASA or the writer of this article you are all fools. Not a single one among you has the science (except NASA and the military) to make ANY claims. And thats the way it is and shall be. A video of a UFO is nothing more than a curio, unless it is accompanied with 1)radar 2)infrared photography 3)uv readings 4) any data from sensors anywhere in the electromagnetic spectrum correlating with the video. Do they have sensors trained on these objects, likely not. But that is the science that will prove or disprove what these and other objects are in space an on earth. Visual sightings of UFOS have on occasion been correlated to radar. The sad fact is that there is not one scientific study on a public level to understand what the public is seeing here and on the earth. We assume explanations on surface value and not on a basis of real science. I am so glad the author of this article has utilized science taken from the surface of NASA’s scientists to solve the world UFO problems. I will sleep better tonight knowing our astronauts will be safe from ice crystals and alien space craft, and that the foil beanie will be tipped in acknowledgement.

  9. dhtroy

    So, I’m just wondering something … if all these space missions are faked anyway, then are the UFOs also faked? or do they visit the Hollywood sets where these things are all filmed?

    It’s just all so … confusing.

  10. Why do people insist on making up nonsense about this?

    What Richard da Bum said.

    Why do the work of actually learning real science (work that would have to be judged by others, i.e. held up to standards that you would actually have to meet) when you can invent your own “science”, become an instant expert at it, have an insider’s knowledge of esoterica that nobody else has, and all in one fell swoop become master of your own private Idaho?

    To an nth T that is the way these people behave when they post their comments on this and other blogs, or in magazines or books. It’s always the same:

    •too dumb or lazy to do the real science (or too bad at it…hence the number of “former” scientists and engineers among their ranks), or actually skilled in one subject but assuming that makes them qualified for another,
    •seized upon “evidence” that anyone else could clearly see is bunk (trash can lids on string, backlit dust specks in “haunted” houses),
    •a well-developed and exercised sense of importance and borderline paranoia,
    •an inability to construct arguments supported by logic,
    •an utterly closed mind when presented with well-supported arguments that counter their own,
    •an almost religious appeal to “experts” (the great god Einstein, for example)
    •the predictable “You are too closed minded to understand” line, issued before going away.

    It’s all so boring after a while, and I suppose it’s pointless to get worked up every time these nutters appear. But it’s so frakking frustrating to think that they’re out there dumbing down the world with their stupidity.

  11. mk

    Isn’t it cool enough that we put people into orbit in multiton winged spacecraft so that they can do science and exploration and extend our knowledge of the Universe?

    Do science? Exploration? I think that’s a pretty generous use of those terms.

  12. hammster

    Hey Bolaro, watch this video and skip forward to 39 seconds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6VYCkcfGco&feature=related

    HE has the science to make claims against NASA, AND he provides photo evidence that NASA tampered with before release to the public.

    What is your response?

  13. Michael

    Folks keep this balderdash up because the public is so gullible. They are so gullible because as kids they were taught absolutely NO critical thinking skills in school. If James Randi were dead he would be spinning around like a dervish…

    You gotta get ‘em young and teach ‘em to THINK.

  14. mc

    I see from the posts here that many of the poeple who read this article are very happy about what was written.
    It would seem that the responders are all too unfamiliar with actual truth. More over I would suggest that the poeple who really do think that there are no more lifeforms anywhere in the entire universe, except on this relatively tiny planet, really need to stop following the money and go and find some truth.
    It’s an embarrassment to my generation that the other posters actually bought the lies.
    One thing that will convince even the most sceptical is if you see something with your own eyes. Then you’ll feel a fool, and you’ll see all the other fools who stick to the official line, to follow the money.
    You are betraying science, your children and the truth by listening to the few with money, not the millions without. Shame on you.
    Your not worth any more of my time

  15. Oh, yeah, I left one commonality out:

    •fully half of them have DVDs to sell.

    Witness comment 13.

  16. Sharkie B

    This is cosy. Dozens of NASA videos, astronaut testimonies and thousands of hill billy red neck inbreds so easily deflected by a few ice particles. Thats quite an achievement.

  17. UmTutSut

    Often I side with the “extraterrestrial hypothesis” crowd, but I gotta go with Phil and Jim Oberg on this one. I’ve seen plenty of these NASA videos, and never saw anything that looked remotely like an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Ice or other debris. Th-th-that’s all, folks!

  18. Urgh, those Shuttle UFO claims make my head hurt. I used to have a few videos up on my YouTube channel debunking the STS-75 “aliens” video. I took them down a few months ago because I was just so sick of seeing the ‘alien’ proponents come in, ignore the points I made and continue to spout the same nonsense (and also, they were fairly poor quality videos made using only Windows Movie Maker). I even had clips demonstrating (1) that the ‘disc’ shapes are just optical effects (I showed Jupiter through my telescope, and defocused it to an identical airy disc) and (2) that an out of focus object in the foreground can appear to pass BEHIND a properly focused object in the background. Despite the fact that both of these demonstrations destroyed the two main premises of the claims, I don’t think I can recall a single instance of a ‘believer’ who made any sort of positive comment in regards to either of the two demonstrations. Not that I was expecting it.

    The proponents will try to duck and doge anything to just sick with their nonsense. Some of my favourite claims that they made were:

    – “In the NASA video there were MULTIPLE disc shaped objects! In your Jupiter video, there was only ONE disc shaped object! Obviously the situation is not the same and your video is irrelevant!”

    – “Lol, you seriously think there would be unfocused objects in a NASA video? NASA has special cameras that focus everything!” (As ridiculous as that is, I’m not making this one up. I had this claim made several times from various posters. I assume this means that some proponent somewhere made this claim and that they were all just parroting it?)

    I’ve been thinking about remaking the videos using more demonstrations that are better set up. I just don’t have the time at the moment, and I know that I’ll have to deal with a bunch of raving conspiracy theorists when I put them up. I’m currently dealing with two in YouTube messages (one arguing about the Mars “alien tubes” AKA – perfectly natural sand dunes, and one arguing that all space travel/spacecraft is/are fake – he accused me of faking my videos of various ISS passes :P) and they’re already annoying enough as it is. Amusing and hilarious (a quote from one believer’s recent message: “you are asking evidences to mask your fear in front of my artistic bravery”) – but still annoying.

  19. Mike

    Ice crystals that make right angle turns, stop on a dime and change trajectory? Yeh, you’re right. They are Ice Crystals…….And just like no one believed Columbus….The world is flat and we’re the only ones here.

  20. Cindy

    I think the best answer to these kooks is from the classic “Calvin and Hobbes” strip.

    “Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”

  21. blur

    i guess it is a good thing there are so many alien-ufo believers, it would be boring without those retards, hallelujah :>

  22. Andy

    @dhtroy:
    Hollywood? LOLZ! Man, dat is so funny. You dont beleave that they aktuallly hav like thoz huge letterz on the hillz do you? Ha! So faked. Phtoshop PWNED

    (wow, it’s actually pretty hard to type like an illiterate idiot)

  23. @ Chris Owen:

    Ha! I had the same frustrating experience when I posted to YouTube a video that duplicated one of Billy Meier’s model set-ups. (Search YouTube for “DMGumby ufo”)

    Despite the fact I clearly explained how a simple miniature placed in front of the camera could look like a full-sized spaceship, there were still the endless “yeah, buts” in the comments. And those were the rational ones! May favorite was the one who “explained” the very clear pendulum motion of Meier’s “spaceship” as it was swinging on its string as some sort of pan-dimensional perspective effect that of course “would be impossible to duplicate” with a trash can lid on a string.

    How can you argue with such nonsense? It’s like an adult trying to reason with a little kid who keeps saying “why?” every time you tell him not to do something. It all would be perfectly harmless if there weren’t the hucksters out there (you know who you are, Mikey) bilking people out of their money for an endless supply of DVDs and books. But then again, maybe those people deserve to be bilked out of their cash.

  24. Michael

    Occams Razor (spell?) is it?

    Millions of people have seen extra-terrestrial vehicles, so they are real

  25. amphiox

    @Bolaro #8:

    Just want to point out that a video or photo IS data from a sensor along the electromagnetic spectrum – the visible light part.

    Unless the photo was faked, of course.

  26. dhtroy

    @Andy:

    That was a really good attempt, I even had trouble reading it!

    But we all know the Hollywood sign is real … the letters hide the entrance to the Bat cave!

    ;)

  27. From #20: Mike, which part of “blown around by the vernier jets” did you miss?

  28. hammster

    How does everyone explain the 400+ former military, FAA, CIA, etc people that came forward with their first-hand experience of alien coverups? In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the UFO Disclosure Project.

    Are these people ice crystals too? Were they paid handsome sums of money to lie? Are they all mental?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vyVe-6YdUk

    They are confirming that there is a coverup. Only one of them has to be right.

  29. Richard Drumm, The Astronomy Bumm said:
    ““Why do people insist on making up nonsense about this?”
    Because it makes the nutjob feel powerful to have a great story, the inside info, for the first time in their pathetic lives. It’s empowering. It’s sad, too, that they don’t seek out the real truth, but I suppose that takes real effort and it’s not as easy as just making stuff up.”

    I think that’s only past of it. I think, since the dawn of human civilization, we have wanted to see ourselves as part of something bigger. I think that is where the belief in the supernatural stems from… gods, devils, angels, demons… and a host of other supernatural beings. In our technological society, it has simply been transferred to UFOs and visiting aliens. It fulfils the psychological need of some to feel part of a bigger whole.

  30. Peter B

    #15 mc said: “More over I would suggest that the poeple who really do think that there are no more lifeforms anywhere in the entire universe, except on this relatively tiny planet, really need to stop following the money and go and find some truth.”

    G’day mc. I don’t believe aliens are visiting Earth. I also believe there’s life Out There. Despite your assertion to the contrary, there’s no inconsistency in these two beliefs. And I think you’ll find *most* people who don’t believe aliens are visiting Earth think the same way.

  31. ndt

    More over I would suggest that the poeple who really do think that there are no more lifeforms anywhere in the entire universe, except on this relatively tiny planet

    I doubt anyone here thinks that.

  32. Jason

    When I was a little kid, thoughts of UFO’s were the first thing to interest me in space. However, at some point I grew up and stopped believing in Santa Claus, God and UFO’s. They all have the same evidence to support their existence. Third party tales, blurry images and feverishly devoted proponents.

    Yes, I’m sure even Santa Claus.

  33. IVAN3MAN

    Cindy:

    I think the best answer to these kooks is from the classic “Calvin and Hobbes” strip.

    This is what Cindy is referring to:

    Calvin_on_Intelligent_Life

  34. MIKE22K

    Society isn’t ready for disclosure –”when us -meaning humans finally realize we are all the same -we have the same smell ,same blood ,same organs ,same tempeture,,same everything but colored skin,man made religions , we are destroying our planet –the only way we can turn it around is when we relize we are in this all together–thats when them up there from other universes will arrive –and our President is trying his hardest–to make us realize this –come on man wake up and realize —we are destroying our future –lets have WORLD PEACE and join the UNIVERSE-IN PEACE.

  35. @kuhnigget (comment #25):

    It gets funnier when these people start throwing out ridiculously hyprocical insults. In my conversation with the guy who is making the claims about the “alien tubes” on Mars, I suggested he jump on Google Maps and look around a few of the Earth’s deserts until he found identical dune structures – I even offered to give him the location of some. His response? “Learn to think for yourself, instead of letting others think for you like a dumb sheep. Seriously, dude, wake up and think for yourself.” Right. Because doing additional research and providing evidence of identical structures here on Earth is synonymous to “not thinking for myself”. What’s his evidence that these objects are alien structures? Some guy on the internet made a YouTube video. Right. (And he later went on to claim that I’m being too sure of myself and the best that I could say was that they “might” be dunes … of course, the same thinking doesn’t apply to him, they ARE alien structures :P).

    @Michael (comment #26):

    Occam’s Razor states that the most simple explanation is usually correct – not that the most popular/most numerous explanation is usually correct. An appeal to numbers is a fallacy – just because a lot of people think/claim to have seen something it doesn’t mean that the something is true. By the same logic, mermaids, unicorns, dragons, lepricorns, ghosts and any number of other things are true.

  36. And so it begins…

    @20. Mike:

    And just like no one believed Columbus….The world is flat and we’re the only ones here

    Sorry, amigo, you might want to learn some real history before you use faulty analogies to back up a claim.

    Knowledge that the world was a sphere was well known long, long before Columbus. The whole “everyone thought the world was flat until Columbus” is a fairly modern retelling of the Columbus story.

    Eratosthenes accurately estimated the circumference of the globe back in 205 BC. This knowledge was not forgotten. Mariners from pretty much every culture knew the surface of the ocean was not flat, because they had to take its curvature into account when they plotted their position by the stars.

    Funding or not funding Columbus’ voyage was a political and economic decision, not one based on faulty science.

    And by the way, Columbus got it wrong! He thought he’d landed in the spice islands of the far east. He miscalculated the distance he had to travel and had traveled by about a factor of 5.

  37. @ Chris Owen:

    Ha! Hysterical! They are the same reactions/responses no matter what the woo!

    My favorite was the guy who rambled on for several posts, each of which I countered, only to have him end with, “well, I could explain it to you, but I haven’t got time right now…”

  38. Cheyenne

    Dang, my marquee scroll failed…..HTML I no good at…..

  39. Cheyenne

    Ah!!! Aliens! Aliens in our cow fields!

  40. Hammster (#30): Your logic is wrong. None of them needs to be right. That’s like saying, if only one person on Earth out of 6 billion could teleport, it would prove teleportation is possible!

  41. PeteC

    Hammster (#30) and others…

    I’m sorry, but you’re being very insular. Suprisingly, the vast bulk of the planet is not the United States of America.

    Do any of these 400 people explain how they managed to convince France, Russia, China, Bolivia, Chile, South Africa, Japan, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Turmenistan to go along with this conspiracy? “Government cover-ups” only work when all the information to be covered up is in the control of that government.

    Of course, there are two explanations –

    1 – That all alien activity takes place only within that part of the North American continent under the direct control of the USA.

    2- That the long-rumoured Secret United Nations Jewish Communist Illuminatii World Government Conspiracy is real and that the USA is only a fake region anyway, and this super-secret organisation that’s both incredibly powerful and power-hungry and yet never has splits, disagreements or leaks is covering everything up for the entire planet.

    I guess, once you get the tinfoil hat on, why not go all the way?

  42. John Baxter

    #6 Rob, that was well done! There is a spot for you somewhere in the Roswell industry. ;-)

  43. Calli Arcale

    And by the way, Columbus got it wrong! He thought he’d landed in the spice islands of the far east. He miscalculated the distance he had to travel and had traveled by about a factor of 5.

    Exactly, kunigget. That’s one of my big pet peeves, so thanks for lancing it. ;-)

    Folks like to say “but they thought Columbus was wrong!” without realizing that Columbus actually *was* in fact wrong, and died unaware of his mistake.

  44. @hammster (comment #30):

    Lol @ the Disclosure Project. How many years have they been doing their thing now? And, what, they’re still all talk, no substance. Show me supporting evidence – a piece of an alien spacecraft/alien tissue (afterall, how many of those “400+ former military, FAA, CIA, etc people” had access to such material, but didn’t think to “borrow” some to use to support their claims?), a map of nearby stars with planets that we don’t currently know of but could detect with our various developing exo-planet finding techniques, knowledge of physical process that we don’t yet know, descriptions of unknown alien technology that we could perhaps duplicate, etc. There are so many ways in which they could actually present something of worth, and yet all we get from them are stories and heresay.

    The UFO believers think they’re onto a good thing when they claim that the Disclosure Project MUST be true because of the people involved with it. In reality, if the best they can come up with – even with “400+ former military, FAA, CIA, etc people” – are anecdotes and stories … well, the whole thing kinda unravels itself, doesn’t it? ;)

    “Only one of them has to be right.”

    The alternative – none of them are right.

  45. Jedd

    A) Is it mathematically impossible that life “out there” to exist?? I’d say most mathematicians’ would say no that some where way out there that yes life has to exist.

    B) Does that mean that other beings would come out of their way just to visit earth? Most likely not.. But we have found other planets outside our solar system. Come to think about it, we are looking for planets just like earth. Would take much for think along the line; ok once we find one like earth wouldn’t we like to know more about it? To the point maybe say a couple hundred years from now, we might have the technology be able to maybe go and explore it? Wouldn’t want to sail off earth because everyone knows that it’s flat(Columbus made it politically accepted that the world was not flat, even though most mariners new the truth)

    C) I have no idea about ice crystals or anything else that is claimed. That’s not my point. My point is that as any civilizations, technology grows, the more we strive to know the unknown. Just ask yourself where our civilization is going to be a thousand years from now. I know I know I’m crazy, the worlds flat, we are the center of the universe, no such things as life outside of earth… Oh wait… the world is not flat, we are not the center of the universe, mathematically it is possible that we are not alone and it’s not such a leap of faith to think that other civilizations would want to seek out an environmental friendly planet, because we are doing the same exact thing.
    ~jedd

  46. Dennis

    U.F.O.s ARE REAL.
    I HAVE SEEN THEM!

    Don’t believe me?
    What does the “U” stand for?!?

    I have seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of flying objects that I could not identify.

    In fact I’m seeing one right now, floating around in front of my face!

    I suspect it’s merely a mote of dust, but I cannot positively identify it as such.
    I can’t prove it’s not some microscopic alien life form, scrutinizing me.

    Just the other night, as I was staring up at the night sky, I saw a tiny point of light moving across at a relatively rapid pace.
    Now, I assumed it was a satellite or maybe even the ISS, but in reality I don’t know for sure what it was…
    It was certainly an Object. It was certainly Flying, or at least Floating. And, at least from my perspective, it was certainly Unidentified…
    BINGO – another confirmed U.F.O. sighting!!!

    The more I think about it, I must have seen MILLIONS of flying objects that I, personally, could not identify.

    Seriously, though, the term “UFO” being used synonymously with “alien space craft” has always bugged me…

    It seems telling to me that when scientists identify an object in question, it is then referred to as what it has been identified to be – ice crystal, refracted light, dust on the lens, dangling trashcan lid, etc.
    But when “UFOlogists” (I always LOL at that term) “identify” an object as an alien spacecraft, they invariably still refer to it as a “U”FO.
    Hmmmm….

  47. hammster: Yes, one guy talking on a video posted on YouTube (which is a trailer for a movie by a guy who has made a LOT of money pimping UFOs) making outrageous claims with no evidence whatsoever is very convincing.

  48. ndt

    Jedd, on your point B, I don’t think you understand just how big the universe is. Sure, we’ve found planets orbiting other stars – stars very, very close to us, relatively speaking. If there is alien life out there, how would they even know to look here?

  49. !AstralProjectile

    It wont be so hard to get to the other planets now that Alan(sic?) Shafley has disproven the Theory of Relativity.

    The proof?

    Moral relativists accept relativity.
    Moral relativism is wrong.
    Therefore, relativity is wrong.

  50. Sam

    Yeah, keep telling yourselves that you’re right, and that mockery is a good substitute for honest intellectual analysis (of the broader phenomenon, as opposed to merely knocking down a few of your own straw men and then doing arrogant victory laps, as here).

    Keep telling yourselves that only kooks question the conventional wisdom on this issue, and just go on ignoring the growing number of rational, educated, successful members of society who are calling for answers to the unexplained.

    Keep telling yourselves it’s all hoaxes and misperceptions being swallowed by gullible dip$hits. To be sure, some “incidents” are hoaxes and misperceptions and some believers are gullible morons. But if you cut off your analysis there without confronting the truly unexplainable, then you’re just being willfully ignorant, and that’s worse than being an uneducated rube.

    It’s okay. I get it. Do what you have to do – tell yourselves that the UFO phenomenon has no more factual support than unicorns or leprechauns. Whatever it takes to prop up your desperate need to deny the obvious fact that SOMETHING unconventional is going on in our skies. I get it. You’ve sworn your devotion to today’s scientific dogma and you’re sticking with it, no matter how many unexplainable events occur, no matter how many undebunkable videos or photos are shot, no matter the quality and number of witness accounts. You have a deep anxiety over the prospect of your world-view being proven wrong, and you’re just lashing out. It’s an age-old story. You’re absolutely no different than any religious fundamentalist, and you’ll do whatever you need to do to ward off doubt. Understood. Good luck with that, Ptolemy.

  51. Yes these videos are just space dust. Yes most UFO sightings are explainable / hoaxes. However , this does not dismiss all UFO stories as being erroneous. Maybe the skeptics and debunkers should do a little research of their own before opening their opinionated,idiotic mouths. Once you’ve seen a “real” UFO your life will never be the same and you will understand that we as a species are very very small and we know almost nothing. I gave up years ago getting into this argument , but yes people, Aliens ARE in fact real and they have been coming here for thousands of years. Its not that strange , it makes sense.

  52. Someone needs to guide these people over to the video you posted of Atlantis moving away from Hubble. That was a great demonstration of how gentle the thrusters on the shuttle are. It also reminds me of a post on either Cosmic Variance or Built on Facts (I can’t remember which), which points out that thrust in a vacuum isn’t as intense as the same amount of thrust in atmosphere because it has less to push against.

    (Cue the loonies who say that we’ve never been in space and all of that was fabricated on a sound stage– since obviously a rocket won’t work in a vacuum.)

  53. @ Sam:

    You have a deep anxiety over the prospect of your world-view being proven wrong, and you’re just lashing out.

    Oh, wait…you weren’t talking about yourself?

    Show us some of that “truly unexplainable” stuff. If you have time, of course. Good luck with that.

    Ha. Ptolemy. He was a “scientist.” Ha. He was wrong. Ha. Ha. All scientists must be wrong. Ha ha ha.

  54. Ismael

    I love how most people here are only saying things to prove that they know everything, and how stupid and redneck everyone else is. Way to go Science! I’m glad to see it’s taking the same road as the Catholic church…

  55. @Sam

    the obvious fact that SOMETHING unconventional is going on in our skies

    Surely you have some evidence to share with us that something unconventional is obviously happening in our skies?

    You’ve sworn your devotion to today’s scientific dogma and you’re sticking with it, no matter how many unexplainable events occur, no matter how many undebunkable videos or photos are shot, no matter the quality and number of witness accounts.

    The problem is that what is offered up as evidence is scientifically unreliable. There is often no way to control for bias or lying, and it often does not have other methods of validation, leading to inconclusive results, at best. Stephen J. Gould, himself, could claim that he’d seen an alien craft, and the same demands of proof would still apply.

    You have a deep anxiety over the prospect of your world-view being proven wrong, and you’re just lashing out.

    Personally, I think it would be pretty interesting and exciting for aliens to be proven to be visiting Earth. Unfortunately, the evidence just does not support such a proposition. No fear or anxiety here.

    You’re absolutely no different than any religious fundamentalist

    Uh…you couldn’t be more wrong. See, religious fundamentalists start with a conclusion, then dismiss anything that doesn’t fit. We start with the evidence and see what conclusions can be drawn from it. Thus far, the evidence does not support the conclusion that aliens are, indeed, visiting Earth. Feel free to convince us with some astounding evidence, though.

  56. jh

    I love how #20 makes this statement:

    — Yeh, you’re right. They are Ice Crystals…….And just like no one believed Columbus….The world is flat and we’re the only ones here.

    Hey, genius.. we knew the Earth was round all the way back to the 4th century. We even knew how big it was shortly after.

    The grand question at the time wasn’t whether the earth was round, but the distance to the spice islands.

    Way to use one urban legend to try to support another.

  57. ndt

    I love how most people here are only saying things to prove that they know everything, and how stupid and redneck everyone else is.

    1. Nobody here claims to know everything.

    2. We don’t think “everyone else” is stupid and redneck, only the small minority of people who believe aliens are visiting earth.

  58. @#52

    Nice rant.

    But the only dogma scientists are devoted to is that they want EVIDENCE for claims made.

    Claiming that scientists don’t believe ET life is possible is a strawman.
    Claiming that scientists don’t believe ET visitation is possible is a strawman.
    Nobody claims these things are impossible, there just doesn’t happen to be ANY evidence that it is actually happening.

    People have been claiming aliens are visiting for 60 YEARS now.
    Get some effing evidence already.

  59. @Sam (Comment #52):

    I find it ironic that you start your post accusing us of making straw man arguments, then go on to fill the rest of your post with straw mans of your own. Hypocrite much?

    “Keep telling yourselves that only kooks question the conventional wisdom on this issue, and just go on ignoring the growing number of rational, educated, successful members of society who are calling for answers to the unexplained.”

    I don’t assume that only kooks are interested in this sort of stuff. I’m also interested in it (to a point), and I’d be more than happy to jump at ACTUAL evidence of ‘alien’ UFOs. I’d love to see alien life visiting Earth (assuming it was friendly;)) – that’d be fantastic! I support those “rational, educated, successful members of society who are calling for answers to the unexplained”. Just don’t expect me to lower my standards of proof for such extraordinary claims.

    “Keep telling yourselves it’s all hoaxes and misperceptions being swallowed by gullible dip$hits. To be sure, some “incidents” are hoaxes and misperceptions and some believers are gullible morons. But if you cut off your analysis there without confronting the truly unexplainable, then you’re just being willfully ignorant, and that’s worse than being an uneducated rube.”

    I don’t automatically dismiss every fantastical claim I see as you seem to be suggesting. As an example that I explained in a previous comment – upon first hearing the claim that there are “alien tubes” on Mars, I examined the images presented to me then went away and did my own research. I thought the claim was ridiculous, very unlikely, etc – but I didn’t dismiss it off hand. And I concede that I still might be wrong – perhaps they ARE some sort of alien structure that just happens to look exactly like a common field of dunes. It’s enormously unlikely, but it IS still an extremely remote possibility, I guess.

    And so is the case with these ‘alien’ UFO claims. I’ve never dismissed one just because it’s a fantastical claim – I’ve only ever dismissed them because they fail to present any evidence of a reasonable level that is able to support the claim. Hearing someone – even someone highly ranked in the military – say that they were involved in a cover-up doesn’t prove to me that there is a cover-up and that aliens exist. Watching a grainy video of lights in the sky doesn’t prove to me that it is an alien spacecraft flying over head. Provide something of substance, and I’ll be glad to jump on it. But I’m yet to see such evidence.

    Note that I don’t actually say “there are absolutely no aliens visiting the Earth”. Perhaps there are. Perhaps these people are telling the truth; perhaps that video does show an alien spacecraft. But if the evidence is not of a sufficient level to support such a claim … sorry, but I’m going to dismiss it.

    I fully expect you to come back here and say something similar to “but the evidence IS of sufficient level!” Most ‘alien’ UFO believers do. If you really feel the need to refer me to any specific pieces of evidence, remember the list I posted a few comments up – the list in which I suggested the type of evidence that would actually be useful for determining whether aliens are visiting us. Don’t bother posting links to YouTube videos of lights in the sky, or articles written by people claiming to have seen/been involved with UFOs. Give us something of substance.

    “It’s okay. I get it. Do what you have to do – tell yourselves that the UFO phenomenon has no more factual support than unicorns or leprechauns.”

    UFOs exist, certainly. I’ve seen UFOs (I’ve even seen a classical “flying saucer with rotating lights” UFO as a child, but that’s a story for another time). But that’s not what this discussion is about (or, it’s not what I’ve been discussing at least). It’s about claiming that these objects are ‘alien’ in nature. Of that, the total amount of useful evidence is zip, nadda, bubkis. We have anecdotal stories from people who claim to have been involved in such matters, we have blurry video/photographs (heck, even clear video/photographs, though those can’t be counted as ‘proof’ alone due to the fact that you can fake them pretty easily), we have blips on radar screens … but we have no actual, reliable evidence of ‘alien’ spacecraft. Perhaps I’ve missed some key piece of evidence – if that’s the case, by all means, send me a link. But until then, sorry, but I maintain that unicorns and leprechauns belong in the same category.

    “Whatever it takes to prop up your desperate need to deny the obvious fact that SOMETHING unconventional is going on in our skies.”

    I don’t deny that there is SOMETHING there, at least, in some cases. As I said, UFOs do certainly exist. We know that people still get tricked by the Moon and confuse it for a UFO of sorts. We know that governments around the world keep tabs on UFOs – it’s good practise to keep tabs on strange craft that are seen flying over your land, lest it be an enemy spyplane or other such craft. Sure, some people ARE actually seeing things. That doesn’t mean that they’re seeing aliens though.

    The rest of your post is just hypocritical ramblings. Because, of course, WE’RE the ones being close minded, stubborn and not willing to admit we’re wrong. Sure. Typical ‘believer’ raving, I get it spouted at me on a regular basis.

    Come back when you actually have something useful to say.

  60. UmTutSut

    ndt says: “We don’t think “everyone else” is stupid and redneck, only the small minority of people who believe aliens are visiting earth.”

    Hmmmmm. Well, I believe it’s entirely possible that they are or have. And “stupid” and “redneck” aren’t appelations people normally use when referring to me.

    You can disagree without being abusive, pal.

  61. Jeff

    @sam: “Keep telling yourselves it’s all hoaxes and misperceptions being swallowed by gullible dip$hits. To be sure, some “incidents” are hoaxes and misperceptions and some believers are gullible morons. But if you cut off your analysis there without confronting the truly unexplainable, then you’re just being willfully ignorant, and that’s worse than being an uneducated rube”

    I like this one better:

    @Carl Sagan, 1973: “EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE”

    Scientists are going to demand that to confirm UFOs are aliens, that either a craft or body be recovered, and many different labs are going to have to analyse them, before the scientific community will accept the alien hypothesis.

    And they have a good reason to be skeptical about the alien hypothesis, here’s why: (1) life might exist out there, but do people have any idea how far it is to another star system? how long would it take an ET to travel here, how much energy? (2) why would all these UFO reports all be aliens targeting earth specifically? why so many different types of craft?

  62. #60, UmTutSut:

    If you believe it is possible that they are here, or have been at some point, please cite the evidence.

    If they are visiting us now, their pilots are the worst pilots ever! They keep crashing their Flying Saucers, usually in the Southwest area of the US. You’d think their pilots would have a warning telling them to stay clear of that area.

    Secondly, they really don’t know how to pick their ambassadors. I mean, a one armed Swiss Farmer that makes really crappy models, and even worse “prophetic” messages???

  63. Wow, the stupid really burns intensely in this one Phil. What was it Robert Park said?

    “It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.”

    Everyone wants to be a Galileo- but no one wants to do what Galileo, or Newton, or Einstein, or any of the greats did: WORK. THEIR. BUTTS. OFF.

    Science is hard work, and the antithesis of idle speculation. You have a hypothesis? Get off your ass and prove it- stop bothering us with pointless conjecture and blather. No one is stopping you from firing a probe off into orbit to look for those aliens. Literally no one. There are plenty of satellites fired off by private institutions and research groups. Is it hard and expensive- and does it require that you actually learn something about physics and astronomy? Yeah.

    (If I were you, I’d get to work.)

  64. @ The Chemist:

    Right on.

    Of course, the nutters will counter with the claim they are doing hard work, if only the evil mainstream science establishment conspiracy would recognize it for what it is.

  65. Hi… i just have a quick and dirty question to all u out there… why oh why is it that whenever this subject comes up for discussion it´s always the US-goverment keeping the lid on the truth??? i mean… is there really a good or valid reason that UFO´s only seem to appear in the states??? i would think that the planet we live on is big enough for atleast 1 or 2 of u´r aliens would land/fly somewhere else? i.e where the US DO NOT have the power to shut everyone up?

    I may just be stupid or something but i tend to belive stuff thats actually been proven and if an astronaut says its just ice then maybe it is? i mean HE was there and filmed… HE witnessed it… not u or me? how then can U be so sure he´s lying?

    i would dearly like to know the answer to this and if u have it dont hesitate to tell me!

    *ps. sorry for the spelling… im from Sweden… a small insignificant country that ailens seems to avoid.*

  66. @ TrooP:

    If aliens avoid your country, they are missing out on some really great food! (Speaking from experience. Mmmmmm….köttbullar….!)

  67. Einstoss

    List of astronauts that are UFO testimonies: Buzz Aldrin, Ed Mitchell (yes, he saw UFOs while an aeronautic pilot), Gordon Cooper, Donald Slayton, Joseph Walker, Eugene Cernan, James Lovell, Frank Borman, between many other credible ones. Those videos on Youtube are not always easy to dismiss. Take, for example the september, 2006 shuttle mission (STS-115), when a lot of “”””debris””””, or, as you wish, UFO, where seen. In a coletive interview, Nasa personel even laughed when said those debris are “objects”, and I tell you, they are laughing at us, blind as most people are (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRz8-jnjcxM). There are hundreds, if not thousand of space videos, and they are not all easy going Nasa… In the internet era it is not easy to tell people stories. One day they will realize the truth. How many times the humanity registered twists and turns historically in the so called established truth ? You tell me. The problem here is that people don’t know what is the meaning of the real ‘skepticism’. Just a tip: search for ‘UFO’ at the FBI homepage and you will see how serious business it is treated by the US Government along the time. One last thing Mr Editor: this issue can not be serious. There are thousand of Nasa videos and you suppose to explain then in those lines ? Come on, the Magazine just intend to be funny, isn’t it?

  68. Ok … it’s very probably that there is intelligent alien life out there in the Universe somewhere. And being intelligent I’m sure it wouldn’t wont to crash land on Earth as we seem to spend so much time trying to destroy each other.

  69. Chris Mazzagatti

    Hey Phil,

    Just because the objects in the NASA footage don’t look like the shiny, metallic flying saucers you see in Hollywood movies, doesn’t mean they can’t be extraterrestrial in origin. How do you know that extraterrestrial intelligence even has to have a physical body to exist? How do you know it can’t exist in the form of superluminal light, or even thought? Did you know that the vast majority of ET contact going on in the world is actually happening through human consciousness? Now thats something I bet you weren’t expecting.

    History has shown a pattern of constant (and accelerated) change and modification of theory. New discoveries are being made everyday; what was once unimaginable to us at some point has eventually come into existence. If you were to time-travel back some thousand years with a Blackberry Storm, and shared it with some of the primitive, indigenous civilizations that lived in that time period, they’d think they were witnessing magic. A small, handheld plastic device that lets you talk to someone on the other side of the globe? Plastic itself hadn’t even been invented till the mid-1800s. It’d be a mind-blowing revelation for them when they found out it was possible.

    The problem with people like you lies in your stubborn unwillingness to look at ALL the evidence yourself and deduce accordingly… yourself. Instead, you look at little bitsy parts of it and hand the role of the detective over to an authority figure like some University professor or NASA scientist, under the impression that they stand for “all things rational & reasonable,” and expect them to figure it all out for you. In other words, you need proof when it comes to believing that UFOs or aliens exist, whereas you don’t need proof in order to believe an authority figure. Okay fine, I’ll turn the tables on you: go and show me “proof” that the leaders of this world are really human. That’s right, you can’t. Hell, you wouldn’t even be able to prove who the actual leaders were in the first place. How do you know that the leaders of this world aren’t aliens? Have you met them and examined their bodies? Have you taken samples of their DNA and looked at them under a microscope? No, you haven’t, but if Joe Skeptic from Harvard’s Biology department tells you they aren’t, you’d blindly put all your faith in him like a drone.

    Let me tell you whats happened to society over the past few hundred years, how it has affected “science,” and how “science” has subsequently affected the world. What is a calendar? Think about it for awhile. Search for the best definition on Google. Done? Now let me give you the real definition: a calendar is the absolute dead center of a civilization’s consciousness. As you know, the dead center of our civilization is The Gregorian Calendar. It’s the calendar on which all things are bought and sold. Now ask yourself, what is our calendar based on, exactly? The Gregorian Calendar was forced into the world by Pope Gregory in 1582 during the Roman Catholic Inquisitions, and is based entirely on cycles of physical objects (earth) going around other physical objects (the sun) through space. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing prophetic about it. It’s completely based on the measurement of physical objects through space.

    So, what does this have to do with anything? Well… EVERYTHING, for the consciousness of our civilization has slowly been directed towards valuing material, physical evidence — what one can see & measure only. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a street bum or a Pulitzer Prize winning theoretical physicist; what you’ve paid attention to for an extended period of time is going to shape and influence your viewpoint and how you see & interpret the world. Every one of us, even the most gifted scientists alive, was born into a society that was already deeply brainwashed. This is one of the main reasons why topics related to higher cosmic laws like karma and reincarnation (which are very real), spirituality, and extraterrestrials are often ridiculed and overlooked by modern scientists. Some people think it was done on purpose; what better way to “control” an entire civilization than by manipulating the one instrument that people center their lives around?

    I think some people (especially the hardcore skeptical types like you) should sit down in a quiet room one day, re-evaluate their places in the larger spectrum of things and realize that they are but microscopic bugs crawling around on a tiny, spherical space rock, surrounded by billions of other space rocks, in the middle of an infinite universe, out of an infinite number of possible universes. And in an infinite universe, absolutely ANYTHING is possible.

  70. The History Channel, along with the internet, has popularized many of theses carefully chosen videos of normal, routine orbital happenings.

    I see that these UFO hunters always zoom in on the ice particles by using a video camera pointed at a CRT display. This technique really distorts our view of a tiny bit of ice or other debris floating around the Shuttle. The lack of video synch and the enhanced distortion resulting from this technique makes it easier to “tell” a viewer what he/she is seeing before the viewer has time to cognitively assimilate and interpret the image. This fraud can be duplicated at home by anybody. I can easily perform the same tricks using my home video camera. You can essentially do the same thing by zooming in on a televised scene of seagulls flying across the background sky or a scene with flying confetti.

    Apollo moon landing hoax huckster Bart Sibrel is another master of “telling people what they see”. The people who tell us that what we are seeing is evidence of UFOs are always amiable and warm. That is part of their strategy- I’m a nice guy, why shouldn’t you beleive me? Look at those cold-blooded scientists and corrupt, power-hungry government officials who always dismiss my explanations. They are the ones who use ad hominem attacks. I am only offering evidence”.

    These hucksters would make great sales agents for GM aut os. They are able to manipulate customers by quickly grabbing 100% of their attention and then hijacking their minds by offering very attractive and startling claims.

    They have an advantage over most of us simply because they are very friendly and entertaining. We like them and we want to beleive them. Unfortunately, lots of people who are not readily equipped to judge their bizarre claims find it is far easier just to accept the bogus claims and carry the newly exposed revelations forward.

    I am also fascinated by the widespread “Ares I fallibility hoax” that has been tremendously successful in convincing. thousands of people, including many journalists that the Ares I booster cannot fly safely in spite of the absence of a single piece of evidence to support that claim and a lot of evidence to the contrary. Those Ares I claims fell on fertile ground since their are a lot of people who wanted to see NASA use EELV or alternate designs. The unpopularity of Ares I made it easier to fall for the bogus claims. It looks like even Obama’s NASA transition team may have bought that one hook, line, and sinker.

    People have a tremendous appetite for bad news or startling revelations.

  71. truthspeaker

    Einstoss, Buzz Aldrin is tired of people lying about what he said he saw.

  72. @ #71, with a snicker:

    Has to be Poe. Right? Tell me it’s Poe.

    Did you know that the vast majority of ET contact going on in the world is actually happening through human consciousness?

    I’d agree with that…sort of. ET contact apparently is a product of human consciousness, specifically, the imagination. Evidence to the contrary, Sr. Mazzagatti?

    The problem with people like you lies in your stubborn unwillingness to look at ALL the evidence yourself and deduce accordingly… yourself.

    And that other, unseen evidence would be…..? Yeah, thought so.

    (Skipping the goofy calendar stuff. Unsupported opinion masquerading as Truth, anyone?)

    … topics related to higher cosmic laws like karma and reincarnation (which are very real)

    And the evidence for karma and reincarnation being “real” would be….? Yeah, thought so.

    Some people think it was done on purpose;

    Some people believe in lucky rabbit feet. And the Trilateral Commission.

    …in an infinite universe, absolutely ANYTHING is possible.

    And your evidence that the universe is infinite would be….? Yeah, thought so.

  73. Typo when entering my name. That’s obviously, “The Chemist”.

    Chris Mazzagatti said:

    I think some people (especially the hardcore skeptical types like you) should sit down in a quiet room one day, re-evaluate their places in the larger spectrum of things and realize that they are but microscopic bugs crawling around on a tiny, spherical space rock, surrounded by billions of other space rocks, in the middle of an infinite universe, out of an infinite number of possible universes. And in an infinite universe, absolutely ANYTHING is possible.

    We don’t live in an infinite universe. Which… by the way, is only the start of all the wrong things you said. Even if the universe were infinite, it wouldn’t mean infinite possibilites–quite the opposite–life is not possible in an infinite universe because of the way light would travel in one. We could not survive an infinite universe. The cosmic accident that is life only arises from a universe that is decidedly finite and with set parameters, and life will subsist in this universe for a relatively short time before it will die out. Here we have yet another example of someone being so tragically lazy in their intellectual pursuits as to miss out on the real beauty and elegance of the universe as it is, not as it is wished to be.

    Other issues with your statement: Physicists don’t win Pulitzer Prizes (those are for journalists). Aliens likely wouldn’t have DNA, and if they somehow took human form using DNA- then examining DNA would tell you nothing. Calendars are based on reliable synchronicity- nothing is more stably synchronous than the night and the day, the pineal glands in the brain use daylight to calibrate and tell “time” as we conceive of it. Your issue is with biology as it connects to culture, not culture itself. Meanwhile, ever since Einstein’s brilliant deductions, scientists have long understood that time is not absolute and don’t give a whosit about calendars or rituals.

    Your main problem, it seems, is that you haven’t taken the trouble to comprehend or study any of the science you dismiss. Perhaps if you bothered to take as close a look into it as some of the other people here have looked into such ideas as Karma and reincarnation, you’d actually see how flat and monotonous you seem.

    You don’t seem to have any sense of how little you know, the precise opposite of the sense most scientists derive from their work. You’re more arrogant than you probably think scientists are, and it shows. You are so inwardly focused on the human experience. Your universe is so small and shabby, even as you conceive of infinity. When you come down off your pedestal- go to the library and check out Carl Sagan’s The Varieties of Scientific Experience, and perhaps later The Demon Haunted World. Go learn something with all the humility that should come with the innate ignorance of our peculiar brand of sentience.

  74. umtutsut

    Michael L. says: “If you believe it is possible that they are here, or have been at some point, please cite the evidence.”

    It would be a waste of good electrons. I’ve mentioned incidents in response to other posts, and they’ve been summarily dismissed. I didn’t say they PROVED anything, only that it seemed to ME extraterrestrial visitation was a plausible explanation. A majority of posters on this blog feel otherwise, and they are certainly entitled to that opinion.

  75. Suddenly it occurs to me that if we ever do find intelligent life out there, I’m going to feel rather embarrassed for our species, watching this crowd ask them all sorts of stupid questions about crop circles and other crap.

  76. Cairnos

    @20 Mike “Ice crystals that make right angle turns, stop on a dime and change trajectory? Yeh, you’re right.”

    Have you ever actually seen snow fall in even a light breeze? That kind of movement is the norm!

  77. @ The Chemist #75:

    Nicely written. Tip o’ the tinfoil hat, sir.

  78. Chris Mazzagatti

    The Chemsit (huh?),

    There’s absolutely nothing I have to respond to you about. I do however recommend that you re-read the second and third paragraphs of my last post, very carefully. Read them over & over again ’til truth penetrates the density of your thick skull and transcends your deeply-conditioned belief systems. I didn’t publish that post to set the tone for an online debate, I published it to help you (and others) realize your inability to see the nose on your own face.

    “All truth goes through three phases. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

    Take care

  79. It’s unlikely that Aliens are out there watching over us. Unlikely, but possible.

    What baffles me is how many people blindly follow the “proofs” of Religion (Christianity – Islam – Etc.), which IMO is far less plausible than the possible existence of Alien lifeforms.

    The proof that intelligent life could / does exist is in the proverbial pudding – we’re the pudding.

    If it happened once…it’s likely it could happen again.

  80. @ Cairnos:

    Have you ever actually seen snow fall in even a light breeze? That kind of movement is the norm!

    And a little deductive reasoning suggests why: ice crystals, by nature, are multi-faceted structures. A spinning ice crystal presents a face of varying height and width toward a stream of air, such as that caused by its descent from a cloud or a hydrazine nozzle. The changing surface area struck by the stream would, I suspect, create torque of constantly varying strength, sending the crystal vectoring off in all sorts of directions, directions which could change suddenly and dramatically depending on which facets were facing into the stream. Kind of like a sailboat tacking into the wind…a slight shift in the sail can send the boat whooshing off in a whole different direction, one which will often catch a landlubber by surprise (especially when the boom knocks him off the boat).

    I’m sure someone with some serious physics in their head could work out the details. Assuming, of course, they weren’t in on the conspiracy.

  81. Ah yes, Chris Mazzagatti conforms to the standard Crank form.

    Post a ridiculous claim which others respond to by asking for proof, then ignore those requests and instead post a quote from someone whose opinions are utterly non-germane to the topic.

    Well played, sir! Well played!

  82. BTW, here’s another great Schopenhauer quote:

    Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.

  83. OurManFlint

    The space shuttle ice crystal UFO’s are easy to debunk. There are other videos that are not as easy to dismiss, however. A Mr. Oberg wants you to believe that this is just water drops on a shuttle viewing window:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDgHxcgAX98

    But, before you make up your mind on what it is, be sure you read the snail mail excerpt Oberg sent to Donald Ratsch on July 12, 1992 here:

    http://www.qtm.net/~geibdan/news2/shut.html

  84. MadScientist

    Why do stupid people opt for delusions rather than put in any effort to think or learn? It must be a pretty horrible life, forever whining about how facts and evidence threaten your delusion, not to mention the people around pointing and laughing saying things like “there goes that UFO loon”.

    I also wonder why UFO loons hang around on websites like this – is it some bizarre psychological need to feel that others acknowledge the fact that they exist at all? Or are they just gluttons for ridicule? Or is there something else?

  85. Eric

    The super heated exhaust from the positioning rockets would immediately vaporize any “ice crystals” it came in contact with. Why is it that people with absolutely no potential for logic or common sense get to write editorials for a major scientific journal like Discover?

    Furthermore, how is it that these “ice crystals” are propelled in opposite directions to one another, as in the STS-75 footage? If these are truly “ice crystals” that have somehow miracuously survived not being vaporized by the hot exhaust gases, then they would at least all fly in the same general direction (i.e. the direction of thruster flow). However, these objects fly with independent vectors, sometimes 180 degrees to one another (which rules out propulsion by uni-directional thruster fire).

  86. Eric

    And by the way, for the people that have critical thinking skills, see http://narcap.org for a large catalog of cases where commercial and military pilots report interactions between their aircraft and unidentified objects that sometimes severely interfere with the aircraft’s normal operation. This is the part the leaders in our military and government are not brave enough to admit to the public, because they’d have to admit there’s nothing they can do about these UAP.

  87. Eric

    Jeff said, “@Carl Sagan, 1973: “EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE””

    Jeff — read the technical reports at http://narcap.org. Give them an HONEST read, and then I’d like for you to comment again on here.

  88. fizzyb

    Ah UFO silliness. So many logical fallacies, so little time… :)

  89. Eric

    Phil — I’ve read some of your follow-up posts to other users on here. You are really not doing science any positive service by employing ridicule. It is my impression that you have never once, not even for 5 minutes, studied the technical reports published by the former NASA Ames scientists at http://narcap.org The FAA specifically tasks NARCAP to investigate UFO sightings by commercial and military pilots. The technical reports on there website (and they are publishing only a few of their reports to the site) show clear and unambiguous interaction between airliners and objects that have the following characteristics: the ability to accelerate at 20+ g, that emanate from at least the upper atmosphere, if not outer space, that completely interfere with an aircraft’s electrical system, that in a few cases have resulted in the loss of the aircraft and all people aboard, that have a clearly defined shape and surface detail characteristics that show they are solid objects. I can go on. Most of these cases are backed up by radar data. The problem you have is that you are making the conscious choice not to study the data. That is your prerogative, but it is not helpful to the scientific discussion.

  90. @ Eric:

    You are mistakenly assuming a couple of things:

    1) the shuttle’s maneuvering thrusters were in close proximity to the ice crystals – But they were not. They were several meters away from the thrusters, which is why they were visible through the viewports. The ammonia, nitrogen, and hydrogen in the exhaust cools exceedingly rapidly in the vacuum of space. A glob of ice floating meters away would not be “immediately vaporized.”

    2) the exhaust from the shuttle’s thrusters goes out in a straight line – Not so. The exhaust fans out in a broad cone. Ice particles floating on different sides of a thruster could end up going in completely opposite directions. Furthermore, there are about a dozen different thrusters in the nose section of the shuttle, I believe. The exhaust plumes from these thrusters overlap. During a burn, a free-floating particle could easily interact with the plumes from more than one thruster, getting accelerated first one way, then another.

    Ain’t science grand.

  91. @ Our Man Flynt:

    But, before you make up your mind on what it is, be sure you read the snail mail excerpt Oberg sent to Donald Ratsch on July 12, 1992

    Oh, you mean, this part of his snail mail, as quoted in your link:

    “I personally never thought it was an alien spacecraft”

    No, you probably didn’t mean that part.

    Doofus.

  92. sam

    Eric, you make a valid point regarding super heated thruster exhaust vaporizing the ice crystals immediately. Furthermore, the STS 75 video shows the foreign objects moving TOWARDS each other . This is a physically impossible spatial configuration if only the thrusters are propelling them mostly unidirectionally. I think you have made a solid point that the objects in the sts 75 video must be under some form of self propulsion. I make the further observation that two object moving in the SAME direction very near each other are traveling at different speeds, which rules out propulsion by the common thruster.

  93. John

    Phil, let me get this straight. The violent ascent from earth into space is not enough to dislodge any small number of ice particles that may form, but the gentle firing of a directional thruster will do the trick? In other words, rather than accept the logcal fact that any and all ice and debris is strippe from the shutle on takoff by the Mach 10 slipstream, you instead choose to believe that ‘gobs’ of ice somehow survived not only the turnulence, but also the heat generated by he ascent? And that these amazing gobs of ice, after having clung on for dear life, are now being dislodged only by the gentile repositiong thruster? I would say you are quite the conspiracy theorist claiming NASA lies to the public about the violent ascent into space which rips the shuttle clean of debris.

  94. Luke

    To mc who posted “I see from the posts here that many of the poeple who read this article are very happy about what was written.
    It would seem that the responders…” etc

    Nobody here has suggested that there is no life out there somewhere. Sure some people are of that opinion, some are not. But UFO’s are a COMPLETELY different matter. Firstly why would NASA release the footage if they were covering up UFO’s. Makes no sense at all. Would stop this horrible debate. Also, most conspiracy theorists also say that the moon landing was faked, and therefore that suggests they think that all space missions are fake (otherwise why think the moon landing is fake?) so how would this footage even exist, therefore they CANNOT be UFO’s because they are not filmed in space.

    BUT we all (well all us SANE people) know that space missions DO exist and UFO’s have NOT been documented near earth or anywhere by humans. That’s not to say they don’t exist it’s just to say that we don’t have ANY evidence or ANY reason to think why these aliens would want to visit us if they already had the technology to fly great distances faster than the speed of light (how else would they make it to earth unless they had like a bazillion generations on board the UFO). Also the chances of little green men or any humanoid creatures being these extra terrestrials is so low, why on earth (sorry why in space) would they be similar to us? I’m sure there planet has VERY different conditions (IF THEY EXIST) and why wouldn’t they be, say, giant slug’s without hands who can’t operate UFO controls.

    Woah how slightly off topic have I gone…

    In conclusion. Those are not UFOs why on earth would you think they were UFOs, please, why do you feel the need to explain simple things with weird consipracies.
    ]
    I suppose that 911 was an inside job now? That the government blew up the buildings.

    All conspiracies come down to one question.

    WHY WOULD THEY HIDE IT FROM US. ESPECIALLY UFO’S. IF YOU SO BELIEVE, YET AREn’T SCARED OR ANYTHING THEN WHY WOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE SCARED OF RELEASING THE FOOTAGE!!?!?!?

    Oh, and there are other governments with space programs that HATE the U.S., so if THEY had evidence THEY would release it to SPITE them.

    -Luke, from Australia, where thankfully we have a lot less nut jobs, but a lot more racists. I think… Well maybe not more racists, but. GO AUSSIE! WOOOO!

    (Am I crazy?!?!?!) ~~~IT’S A CONSPIRACY AUSTRALIA DOESN’T EXIST~~~

  95. Mori

    @ Our Man Flynt:

    You know, I try to give people who have been tricked by various videos a bit of a break. Sometimes it can be hard to tell what you’re looking at when you don’t have a sense of depth or direction in the frame.

    But I’ve got to tell you… I’ve never, ever, in my life seen a sadder excuse for a UFO video than that one. I’m sorry, but I can’t even see for a second how anyone imagined that was a UFO, never mind an alien spacecraft. (Note the difference!) It’s like a parody. I mean, just look at it! It’s a water drop! On a window! The camera is handheld and being moved, therefore it appears to zip around. (Well, actually, it just appears to sit there. On the window. With the camera zipping around… But in reference to the earth, it seems to move.)

    I mean, geez. Seriously?

  96. Ben

    Uh, comment 69, quoting Wikipedia here :

    “In 2005, while being interviewed for a documentary titled First on the Moon: The Untold Story, Aldrin told an interviewer that they saw an unidentified flying object. Aldrin told David Morrison, an NAI Senior Scientist, that the documentary cut the crew’s conclusion that they were probably seeing one of four detached spacecraft adapter panels. The crew was told that their S-IVB upper stage was 6,000 miles away. However, the panels were jettisoned before the S-IVB made its separation maneuver, so this panel would closely follow the Apollo 11 spacecraft until its first midcourse correction.[28] When Aldrin appeared on The Howard Stern Show on August 15, 2007, Stern asked him about the supposed UFO sighting. Aldrin confirmed that there was no such sighting of anything deemed extraterrestrial, and said they were and are “99.9 percent” sure that the object was the detached panel. Interviewed by the Science Channel, Aldrin mentioned seeing unidentified objects, and he claims his words were taken out of context; he asked the Science Channel to clarify to viewers he did not see a UFO, but they refused. On September 9, 2002, filmmaker Bart Sibrel, a proponent of the Apollo moon landing hoax theory, confronted Aldrin outside a Beverly Hills, California hotel. Sibrel said “You’re the one who said you walked on the moon and you didn’t” and called Aldrin “a coward, a liar, and a thief.” Aldrin punched Sibrel in the face. Beverly Hills police and the city’s prosecutor declined to file charges. Sibrel suffered no permanent injuries.”

    And by the way, just because you worked for NASA or the USAF once doesn’t make you a 100% valid source, they can get wrong or crazy too.

  97. ND

    Just to reiterate kuhnigget said about thruster exhaust, there is no air pressure in orbit to confine the exhaust. You can see this on the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters during launch. Right after launch the exhaust is very narrow but as the shuttle gains altitude it starts to broaden quite a bit because of lower air pressure.

  98. Daniel J. Andrews

    I have just found proof that NASA knows and tests the aliens at this link.

    http://tinyurl.com/oug78n

    The article is about the long-term health effects on people who work in space. Look at the second last paragraph which says,

    Williams, who’s now retired from spaceflight and is now director of the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics, says he’s asked to return to NASA every year to have medical tests, with the results compared to health people who have never been to Earth.

    “…never been to Earth”!!! Obviously a Freudian slip on NASA’s part. We’ve got them now. ;)

  99. Nigel Depledge

    MC said:

    More over I would suggest that the poeple who really do think that there are no more lifeforms anywhere in the entire universe, except on this relatively tiny planet, really need to stop following the money and go and find some truth.

    So, who has claimed this, where and when?

    I have never read any UFO-debunker claiming that life exists nowhere but Earth. Is this a genuine argument (in the which case, supply a reference), are you making this stuff up, or is it a Poe?

  100. John (#95): Why do you assume ice particles only form when the Shuttle is on Earth?

  101. Eric (#87): why do you assume the exhaust is “superheated”? You ask me to do research when you clearly have done none yourself. Remember in the article I wrote above, where I said a Shuttle astronaut debunks the UFO claims? I just bet *he* knew about the Shuttle vernier jets!

    As far as particle motion goes, they are not all at the same distance, so some will move away from the camera, some toward it when the jet hits them. Space is three-dimensional, y’know.

    My logical capabilities are just fine, but thanks for your concern.

  102. Ismael

    Thank you Chris Mazzagatti, for putting that nicely. Hopefully you’re aid can help these poor, deprived people…

  103. Eric

    Phil Plait said, “As far as particle motion goes, they are not all at the same distance, so some will move away from the camera, some toward it when the jet hits them. Space is three-dimensional, y’know.” What? Phil, are you stopping to THINK for a second? If a jet fires at a particle, no matter where that particle is in 3-D space, the particle will be propelled AWAY from the jet! AWAY from the jet! Hello?? Both the camera and the jet are ON the space shuttle. Therefore, when the jet fires, the “particle” will propel AWAY from both the jet and the camera. You are just incorrect. There is no other way to state it, and people who use their brains for one second realize this.

  104. Eric

    Phil — Why don’t you answer my question. How is it that in the STS-75 video two of your “ice crystals” are moving TOWARDS one another? Explain in detail how that is possible when both of them have been propelled by the same thruster or set of thrusters that are all located within a few inches of each other on ONE side of the video image? EXPLAIN how the motion vector for BOTH of these “particles” was generated. What force was applied to make one particle move in the OPPOSITE direction to the other, given that the single propulsion mechanism you suggest, i.e. the shuttle thruster.

  105. Eric

    Phil Plait said, ” why do you assume the exhaust is “superheated”? ” Because the thruster gas is generated by a chemical combustion reaction!! You don’t even know THIS much? Any ice particles near the shuttle thruster when it fires will be certainly and immediately vaporized by the heat of the exhaust gas.

  106. Eric

    Luke said,

    ———

    WHY WOULD THEY HIDE IT FROM US. ESPECIALLY UFO’S. IF YOU SO BELIEVE, YET AREn’T SCARED OR ANYTHING THEN WHY WOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE SCARED OF RELEASING THE FOOTAGE!!?!?!?
    Oh, and there are other governments with space programs that HATE the U.S., so if THEY had evidence THEY would release it to SPITE them.

    ——–

    Luke — calm down. Instead of “yelling” at people who are trying to show you the evidence, just sit down and READ the evidence. First of all, there is a mountain of evidence that intelligently controlled objects are interfering with commercial and military airliners. Former NASA Ames Scientists who are tasked by the FAA itself to research pilot reports of UFOs have catalogued over 3,000 incidents. In a large number of these incidents both radar data and pilot testimony show that solid objects, emanating from either the upper atmosphere or outer space, which are capable of 20+g accelleration, are interfering with airline control systems and flight paths. Read the technical reports at:

    http://narcap.org

    Second, the government IS covering this information up. Nick Pope of Britain’s MI5 is DIRECTLY admitting this in his latest blog entry:

    http://x-journals.com/2009/the-real-british-x-files/

    The British government has over 60 YEARS of files that they originally claimed they “didn’t” have, and now they are releasing these files they “never” had. Amazing, huh? The same goes for the governments of France and Brazil.

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos/
    http://www.cnes-geipan.fr/

  107. @ Eric:

    Before, I thought you were just misinformed. Your latest comments prove you are an imbecile. Read my prior responses to your first post for an explanation about the shuttle’s maneuvering thrusters.

    While your at it, visit a library and check out a book on physics. Check out the chapter on the behavior of gases. Look in particular for something on expansion.

    Enlighten yourself.

  108. UmTutSut

    Eric wrote: “The FAA specifically tasks NARCAP to investigate UFO sightings by commercial and military pilots.”

    Nope, we don’t do this. Even NARCAP says in their “About” section: “We are not associated with the FAA or other government agencies, or the airlines.”

  109. Eric

    kuhnigget said, “While your at it, visit a library and check out a book on physics. Check out the chapter on the behavior of gases. Look in particular for something on expansion. Enlighten yourself.”

    No, why don’t you enlighten me. Explain how the expansion of the thruster gas in space causes two particles to move towards one another, such that the motion vectors of both particles are pointed towards each other, even though the propulsion source force vector points at MOST in every direction in ONE hemisphere, NOT both.

  110. ND

    Eric,

    you’re making several assumptions about the ice being vaporized.

    1) the exhaust expands by the time it reaches the ice crystals thus probably imparting less heat.

    2) the length of the burst is probably very short considering these are used for menouvering. the ice I saw appeared to move at a constant speed and not accellerating, implying that they felt a very short burst. But that’s an eyeball guess.

    3) you don’t know what temperature the ice is at. If it’s really really cold it would take longer to melt/vaporize.

    4) how hot is the exhaust to begin with? Do you know? Would it also not cool off?

    5) look up fried ice cream on wikipedia.

  111. ND

    (Buzz punching hoaxers in the face)++

  112. Sighhhhhh…..

    Okay, in simple steps, Eric the Idiot:

    1) The forward maneuvering engines on board the shuttle are arranged in an array around the entire upper surface of the shuttle nose. That’s a curved surface, Eric the Idiot.

    2) The exhaust from each thruster expands in an ever widening cone. These cones intersect at multiple points above the surface of the orbiter, and continue to expand in all directions, not just in the direction the thruster nozzle was pointed. By the time the exhaust gases reach the windows, both fore and aft, they will be swirling around in very complex vortices, just like any gas will do when interacting with other gases. Basic physics.

    3) A particle of ice caught up in these exhaust gases will move in similarly complex ways. If anything, a straight line of motion would be the last thing you’d expect of a particle caught in such a flow. Two particles in two different positions will be impelled by gases moving in totally different directions, just as a particle in an earthbound environment, interacting with expanding gases from different sources, would behave. There is nothing odd about two ice crystals heading toward each other, away from each other, toward the camera, away from the camera, up, down, in, out, and roundabout.

    There, enlightened yet?

    I’d still recommend that trip to the library. Trust me, the roof won’t cave in on you, and your fingers won’t crack if you open a book now and then.

  113. Eric

    ND said, “you’re making several assumptions about the ice being vaporized.”

    Let’s assume that you are correct and that the ice is not vaporized by the heat of the thruster exhaust, which is initiated by a violent chemical reaction which produces intense heat. Let’s just assume I’m wrong there (I’m not, but lets assume I am). You then need to explain to me how, in the STS-75 video(s), that we see several sets of “debris” moving towards one another. This means that each piece of debris has a motion vector that is parallel, and opposite, to the opposing piece of debris. The RCS thruster or the shuttle waste dump pump, is going to expel its gas with a force vector that averages out to one of the 180% complimentary directions. The jet CANNOT expel its gas in two opposing directions. You don’t even have to be highly trained in physics (as I am) to understand this. The gas is going to expand out into a SINGLE hemisphere. However, we see “debris” particles moving TOWARDS one another into different hemispheres. This proves beyond ALL doubt (not just some doubt) different sets of “debris” have different propulsion mechanisms. These objects are under their own propulsion. This is a clear conclusion that is difficult to oppose.

  114. ND

    Eric,

    I believe kuhnigget is addressing the movement issue. At what time in the video are the crystals moving past each other?

    Does your physics background include fluid dynamics?

  115. Eric

    kuhnigget said, “The exhaust from each thruster expands in an ever widening cone. These cones intersect at multiple points above the surface of the orbiter, and continue to expand in all directions, not just in the direction the thruster nozzle was pointed.”

    What are you talking about? Once a particle is set in motion in SPACE it continues on that path as long as it doesn’t collide with something. If you shoot a hose at an object, the object does not bounce back TOWARDS you. Second of all, the RCS jets are fired independently to make VERY precise adjustments to the shuttle’s position. Just because there are multiple jets doesn’t mean they are firing INTO themselves! You can think of the nose of the shuttle as one big jet. It is firing (HOT) exhaust gas OUTWARDS. In the STS-75 video, however, we see these objects moving TOWARDS one another. The shuttle (and the thruster) is situated in one point in space, and therefore it would propel any groups of debris in the SAME average direction, meaning the debris would be propelled from one hemisphere to the other, but NOT in the reverse direction (which is how the objects in the STS-75 video are moving).

    kuhnigget said, “A particle of ice caught up in these exhaust gases will move in similarly complex ways. If anything, a straight line of motion would be the last thing you’d expect of a particle caught in such a flow.”

    ALL OF THE PARTICLES IN THE STS-75 VIDEO HAVE A STRAIGHT LINE OF MOTION! ALL OF THEM! *NONE* OF THEM ARE “SWIRLING”. Why did you just post something that completely rules out your theory? Are you now saying that these “debris” particles are subject to “swirling forces” of exhaust gas from multiple jets, and therefore the motion of a given particle should be erratic at best? Because that is exactly what you just said, yet what you describe is not reflective of the motion of the objects in the STS-75 video.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o6v8_sts75-object-4_tech

  116. Eric

    ND says, ” At what time in the video are the crystals moving past each other?”

    ND — have you not even bothered to view the video in question here? Is this how skeptics operate? They don’t even bother to view the demonstration before they comment?

    Start by viewing the following video, which has an overlay which shows how one of the objects reverses direction in mid flight (even though none of the other objects near it change their direction). These objects are clearly under their own propulsion.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o6v8_sts75-object-4_tech

  117. So let me get this straight, Eric: you have no concept of how the Shuttle works, how basic physics works, or how to do any basic research into these areas, but you see fit to complain and be insulting when people try to show you where you’re wrong?

    Please continue, as you’re making my point in the article very well.

  118. ND

    Eric,

    I saw the video last night but can’t remember the opposite moving ice. I can’t view it at work here, but I will again when I get the chance.

    Also, I’m not sure how well you can tell if two crystals are moving in parallel (regardless of towards or away from each other) in a 2D video.

  119. Having been born originally on Tau Epsilon III and then left behind on Earth mistakenly after the captain of the “tour of the backwoods of the galaxy” cruise ship failed to realize I was still in the bathroom of an Exxon gas station in Idaho, I’m getting a kick out of these replies.

  120. Sighhhhhhh…..(again).

    Okay, Eric the Idiot, “trained in physics,” one more time:

    1)

    Once a particle is set in motion in SPACE it continues on that path as long as it doesn’t collide with something.

    “doesn’t collide with something”… Er…such as another particle of gas from the same exhaust plume? Again, and for the third time, brush up on that physics you claim to be trained in.

    2)

    Second of all, the RCS jets are fired independently to make VERY precise adjustments to the shuttle’s position.

    The jets are frequently fired together…to make adjustments to the orbiter’s attitude. They are also fired in sequence, which can make for some pretty complicated vectors, indeed, among the particles in the exhaust plumes.

    3)

    You can think of the nose of the shuttle as one big jet

    Only if you are an idiot. Oh, wait…

    4)

    ALL OF THE PARTICLES IN THE STS-75 VIDEO HAVE A STRAIGHT LINE OF MOTION! ALL OF THEM! *NONE* OF THEM ARE “SWIRLING

    See ND’s comment, above, #112. And stop shouting.

    5)

    Are you now saying that these “debris” particles are subject to “swirling forces” of exhaust gas from multiple jets, and therefore the motion of a given particle should be erratic at best

    No, I’m saying all else being in stasis, a particle caught up in the flow of gas around a static orbiter would move in such a manor. You need to take into account the motion of the orbiter itself, including the changing attitude imparted by the thrusters. If the thrusters aren’t firing, the particles will slowly drift along in the same general direction as the orbiter, shifting slightly as they interact with slowly attenuating gases around the spacecraft.

    6)

    These objects are clearly under their own propulsion.

    No, they are clearly drifting along with the orbiter. Their motions are entirely consistent with the behavior of large particles interacting with the very thin halo of gas that surrounds the spacecraft. Again, Eric the Idiot, this is basic physics, which you claim to know!

  121. Remind me never to cross a bridge, get in a car, fly in an aircraft, or interact in any way with any object designed or built by Eric “trained in physics” the Idiot.

  122. Eric

    kuhnigget said, ” A particle of ice caught up in these exhaust gases will move in similarly complex ways. If anything, a straight line of motion would be the last thing you’d expect of a particle caught in such a flow”

    kuhnigget (who is afraid to use his real name), says that the last thing we would expect to see in the STS-75 video is particles moving in a straight line motion, because the “swirling” gas from the RCS thrusters would cause “complicated” motion vectors. Yet all of the objects in the STS-75 video, from beginning to end, move in the “straight line” motion that anonymous “kuhnigget” says should not happen.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o6v8_sts75-object-4_tech

    kuhnigget (who is afraid to use his real name), does not understand that there the shuttle thrusters, which CAN be considered a point source in the nose of the cone for this demonstration, are emitted a plume of (superheated) gas that travels in an average direction away from the shuttle. At NO TIME is a force applied to these gas particles that directs itself TOWARDS the shuttle. Therefore any force imparted on supposed “debris” surrounding the shuttle will be imparted in a set of directions that never point towards the point-source we consider in the nose of the shuttle. The gas is further expanding outwards and at NO time is there ever a force applied to the gas particles that is 180 degrees reverse to the average direction of the initial burst. This means that any supposed “debris” propelled by the thrusters can not move towards each other at any time because there is no external force vector that will allow that movement.

  123. Eric

    Anonymous kuhnigget (as I refer to you, because you are not certain enough in your analysis to use your real name), explain how the thrusters caused the object in the following video to reverse direction, while at the same time not interfering with the flight of ANY of the other surrounding “debris” particles.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o6v8_sts75-object-4_tech

  124. Jason

    ‘kuhnigget’ — If I were you, I’m not so sure I’d be calling people ‘idiots’ when in fact from your webpage it looks like you are an author who probably has a liberal arts degree from a brain dead college, and surely no physics education. People like you, who copy/paste information from web sites to prove your “point”, and don’t bother to think the issues through, are an unfortunate part of the human species.

  125. Lol @ Eric’s new ‘you’re too afraid to use your real name’ tactic. So hilariously transparent.

  126. kuhnigget, drop the insults. NOW.

  127. ND

    Eric (the half-a-bee? the orchestra leader?), you’re resorting to ad-hominem attacks now.

  128. Okay, Dr. BA.

    Me so sorry.

    Sighhhhh…. The Great One spoke, well, typed, my name…..!

  129. Eric

    I’m not attacking or insulting anyone, contrary to what is occurring to me simply because I am making observations and points. Look, I will make the assumption that ALL of us would be fairly interested in finding out that we’re not alone in the universe IF in fact this is the case. I COMPLETELY agree that we should be as skeptical as possible. However, I do not think resorting to debunking is a good idea. You see, a skeptic is someone who has an appreciation for science and weights the evidence, but more importantly, one who thinks through the possibilities. A debunker is someone who has no value for science and who’s only wish is to see any opposing opinions decimated. I find that most people who wish to consider themselves skeptics are allowing themselves to be diminished into debunkers via a group think/attack that does not apply critical thinking and which is aimed at insulting or ridiculing other opinions.

    Now, I completely agree that exhaust from the space shuttle thrusters is a VALID explanation for the propulsion of external debris. Nobody is going to argue that CORRECT fact that the skeptic will offer. However, if you just relax for a moment and set aside your original opinion, and you think through how a given piece of debris would be propelled, you may come to a different conclusion than what you originally had. If the space shuttle (and the thruster) is in one (relative) position in space, it will emit a hot plume of gas in a cone arrangement. If there are thrusters all around the nose of the shuttle on both sides (but they don’t all fire together; that would defeat the adjustment purpose), then the propulsive force is always directed with an average direction whose vector can never become oppositely parallel to the initial direction. Correct? I believe this is a correct statement. This means that if there are two pieces of debris that come in contact with this gas, they will both be propelled in the same average direction as the plume. There is no atmosphere in space, so no “swirling” happens if the bursts are separate in time by a reasonable amount. The gas particles just continue to travel in the line they were originally set on. IF the particles collide with each other near the nozzle, they STILL cannot have a direction that averages INTO the nozzle, correct? I believe this is a correct statement. Therefore, even with collisions from multiple particles and multiple jets, there is still no force vector from a jet that is outside the shuttle pointing back inwards. So the AVERAGE direction is still away. Therefore, all “debris” affected by the thrusters will be propelled from an angle of 0-180 degrees into the outward hemisphere. However, what we are seeing on the STS-75 video is that particles are traveling towards one another. This means that whatever objects are traveling in the opposite direction of the thruster must have been propelled by a separate force. A collision with another particle traveling in the same AVERAGE direction will NOT result in a reversal of the collided particles direction!

    None of this is to even mention the fact that, as I reference, not only are objects traveling towards one another, but I referenced an overlaid video which shows one of the objects stopping and reversing direction in a field of other near objects that are continuing along their flight path. This means that this particular object is being acted on by a force that is focused on it alone, AND it is being acted on by a force that is opposite its original direction so it is plain to see that the shuttle thruster is not responsible for this reversal in direction.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o6v8_sts75-object-4_tech

  130. m.t.reznor

    Phil,

    Congratulations! You’ve managed to rack up an organized group of scoffers masquerading under the term “skeptics” who deny, ridicule and suppress anything progressive that challenges the static views of the establishment. All you and your following do is debunk with a tendency to distort, dismiss and obfuscate any phenomenon that challenges a conventional materialistic view of reality. In truth, you guys aren’t true skeptics engaging in open inquiry, but a selective group of extremist debunkers with an agenda to defend the establishment. A “true skeptic” engages in open inquiry and doubt toward all views and belief systems, including their own. But you never question the views of the establishment, materialistic science or anything presented as “official,” as Chris Mazzagatti stated up top.

    You’re a joke.

  131. #76 Umtutsut said:
    “I’ve mentioned incidents in response to other posts, and they’ve been summarily dismissed.”

    Yes, they have been dismissed by people providing a rational explanation for what we are seeing.

    What seems the more logical choice:

    Orbital debris, such as ice particles,
    OR
    Alien spacecraft that can apparently defy all known laws of physics???

    I would dearly love to believe that a highly advanced ET civilization is sending emissaries across hundreds of light years of interstellar space, and that they are here to lead humanity into a glorious age of exploration and advancement. BUT, the fact is, there is NOT one shred of evidence to support that belief!

    To believe that they are here, but the government is covering it all up is a similarly absurd belief! That would mean that every government on Earth is involved in this conspiracy! That would mean literally hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people, from government officials, to military officials, to defense contractors supposedly back-engineering crashed saucer technology.

    I fail to see how people can be so deluded into believing that aliens are here, without one shred of evidence! Show me the proof!

  132. @ Eric:

    Okay, sans name-calling, I will try one more time. Honestly, you are forming your argument based on several misconceptions, and it’s affecting the conclusion you’re making.

    Point by point from your last post:

    If the space shuttle (and the thruster) is in one (relative) position in space, it will emit a hot plume of gas in a cone arrangement.

    This is the initial “arrangement.” The cone rapidly spreads out, and in fact the part of the cone nearest to the thruster nozzle , or more precisely, the gas molecules within that part of the cone, will spread out and come into contact with the orbiter itself.

    Here’s why: you’re starting with the misconception that each gas molecule in the exhaust is flying out of the nozzle into a vacuum. They are not. They are surrounded by zillions of other gas molecules. And while their initial trajectory is set by their escape from the nozzle, this is not the only factor that influences their path. A gas injected into a zone of lesser pressure will start to expand in all directions. The shuttle’s maneuvering thrusters shoot out a stream of what was very pressurized gas into the near vacuum of space. As soon as that gas leaves the nozzle, it starts to spread out. The reason it spreads in a cone shape is because the majority of gas has a high enough velocity to keep going in the general direction it started. But some particles bounce off others, which in turn bounce off more, and so on, and the end result is that expanding and ever more fuzzy cone, and a thin halo of gas molecules that end up surrounding the orbiter.

    I don’t mean to be insulting, but this is basic physics. No advanced degrees required. You don’t need to be a physicist or go to a fancy school to learn it. A high school physics textbook would suffice.

    If there are thrusters all around the nose of the shuttle on both sides (but they don’t all fire together; that would defeat the adjustment purpose), then the propulsive force is always directed with an average direction whose vector can never become oppositely parallel to the initial direction.

    Two things here. First: firing more than one thruster at the same time does not defeat their purpose. In fact, it is precisely this capability that makes them effective at changing the attitude of a massive spacecraft such as the shuttle. The RCS thrusters are fired together, alone, in tandem, front, back, 1 side or the other, depending on the maneuver that’s required.

    Second, you are confusing the motion of the shuttle in reaction to the thruster firing with the motion of the exhaust from the jet itself. Two different things. I’m not sure what you mean by “oppositely parallel” – wouldn’t that mean perpendicular? – but again, the shuttle’s vector – which will be a straight line (because the shuttle is a solid) – is not the same as the vectors of each individual exhaust gas particle. That’s how you get that expanding cone. The exhaust is a gas, not a solid. Again, basic physics.

    This means that if there are two pieces of debris that come in contact with this gas, they will both be propelled in the same average direction as the plume

    No, for reasons outlined in my initial posts and again above. The plume is not a solid. Gas particles will be moving willy-nilly in all sorts of directions, particularly when you get two plumes interacting. And the ice particles that are drifting up by the orbiter’s windows are not in the main stream of the exhaust jets, rather they are being impacted by molecules within the tip of that expanding cone of gas, which by the time it has expanded to reach the windows is made up entirely of molecules of exhaust gases whose motions are pretty much unaffected by their original courses jetting out of the thruster.

    There is no atmosphere in space, so no “swirling” happens if the bursts are separate in time by a reasonable amount. The gas particles just continue to travel in the line they were originally set on

    Again, a misconception is tripping you up here. The “atmosphere” that is causing the gradual expansion of the exhaust plume is the exhaust gas itself.

    If you had a single molecule ejected from the nozzle, it would indeed travel in a straight line (curved line, actually, since it’s in orbit around the earth). But that’s not the case here. And again, that’s why some of the gas can and does end up hanging around the shuttle itself. The orbiter essentially travels with its own tenuous atmosphere of exhaust, one which quickly disperses after each thruster firing, but not before it has the opportunity to interact with the cloud of ice crystals which also hangs around the shuttle.

    This means that this particular object is being acted on by a force that is focused on it alone, AND it is being acted on by a force that is opposite its original direction so it is plain to see that the shuttle thruster is not responsible for this reversal in direction.

    Again, a couple of things wrong with this assertion, Eric.

    One: as someone pointed out above, it’s impossible to determine the actual direction that particle of yours is moving because we are only seeing its apparent motion in 2 dimensions. It is simply not possible to state with authority, as you do, that whatever is influencing it’s motion is a force directed in the exact opposite direction. In 2D, it appears to move parallel with us, but that could just be because we aren’t able to see it’s motion away or towards us, too. Likewise, once the change occurs, it could be moving toward or away from us as well as apparently in the opposite direction. There’s just no way of telling from a flat video.

    Two: as noted above, your conclusion about the inability of thruster exhaust to transfer force to this particle in the direction required is not valid. Furthermore, it’s impossible to state what might be the vehicle for such a transfer, simply because we can’t see it. It might be exhaust gas, it might be another ice particle that happens to be oriented such that it’s not reflecting light toward us. (In that same video, there appear numerous particles that change brightness, even disappear, exactly as you’d expect a rotating faceted object to do.)

    Summing up, I think you should take your own advice and apply some more critical thinking to this. BUT…that critical thinking needs to be backed up with a little more basic research on your part. You got a lot of stuff wrong. Fair’s fair. If you’re going to suggest extraordinary possibilities, you need to start with a really solid foundation. Your posts have not done this to date.

  133. Eric

    kuhnigget — Thank you for your thoughts. However, you are continuing to miss *the* point. The point, which you did not address at all, is that no matter how many collisions the particles have that are ejected from the nozzle, they cannot possibly collide with each other such that they are propelled back towards the nozzle. Do you understand this concept?

    I will simplify it for you. Put two beach balls on the ground. Take four of your friends and form the shape of the shuttle nose. Give each person a hose and have them spray their hoses outwards, with the five people forming an arc. Point the hoses in the general direction of the beach balls. No matter how much you spray, and how much the water droplets collide with each other, or the beach balls, neither the beach balls nor the water droplets will EVER collide in a way such that they will be directed back towards you, the people holding the hoses. This is because the sum of all of the force vectors points AWAY from the source.

    Now, as you spray the hoses, the beach balls get further and further away from you (as the space shuttle gets further from the debris. The water droplets from the hose are spreading out in a cone, but they NEVER break the cone plane (think of the letter V as the cone, and underline the V. The underline is the cone plane. No matter how much you spray the hoses, the water nor the beach balls can never reverse direction such that they come BACK below the underline. Therefore, since the beach balls were put into motion by the hose, they can continue to collide all the want, but there can never be a case where one beach ball suddenly reverses direction and comes back towards the other beach ball UNLESS someone sprays a hose from the OTHER SIDE of the yard.

  134. Eric

    Michael L said, “What seems the more logical choice: Orbital debris, such as ice particles, OR Alien spacecraft that can apparently defy all known laws of physics???”

    Michael, you left out an important qualifier about the orbital debris. You should have said, what is the more logical choice, orbital debris that defies the laws of physics, or alien spacecraft that USE the laws of physics. As I have exhaustively demonstrated, because the relative motion of the objects in the STS-75 video is sometimes TOWARDS one another, then it must almost certainly be that the objects are either under their own propulsion, or an external propulsion source that is NOT the space shuttle. Read my above posts carefully.

    So, if you submit that what we are seeing in the STS-75 video is orbital debris, then it must be defying the laws of physics unless there is a hidden propulsion source we don’t know about. Let’s contrast this with an advanced civilization living somewhere on the roughly 100 billion planets that are within 50 light years of earth. Why would these alien civilizations need to defy the laws of physics if they simply flew at near the speed of light to reach the earth within 50 very, very short years? In fact, intelligent life on Pluto might right now be saying it is not possible that the voyager probe is anything other than a natural asteroid, because it’s not “possible” for an “alien” civilization to travel 9 billion miles.

    Regarding your assertion that all governments on earth must be “conspiring” to keep the existence of alien life secret. I don’t think you understand the secrecy classification system very well. First of all, if you do not have an agent in the government that is proactively searching out files on potential alien visits, then those files will remain compartmentalized and hidden. It’s not that there’s a “conspiracy” to keep the data hidden, it is that when an event does occur the half dozen or so people who have access to all of the data decide not to release it either because it compromises military data gathering systems, or because a few more dozen people get involved in the loop and decide that it is not worth admitting there is a civilization more advanced than we are who has access to us such that we have no possible means of defense if they are hostile. The British government has testified in COURT several times that they have “no” data on UFOs, and yet they announced a major declassification initiative last year where they now admit they have over 10,000 documents that span 60 years! Please don’t patronize this discussion by taking the naive view that the secrecy classification system does not work, because it DOES work and I know how it works.

  135. Eric

    kuhnigget — Can I ask you again to explain how the thrusters caused the object in the following video to reverse direction, while at the same time not interfering with the flight of any of the other surrounding “debris” particles?

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o6v8_sts75-object-4_tech

  136. teitan

    All skeptics should watch this video asap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZb1xhC8fs0

    Debris and/or ice particles? I don’t think so.

    Eric, keep doing what you’re doing.

    A recent AOL poll showed that over 90% of Americans believed that ET life exists, and as much as 80%% believed we’ve been visited.

    Skeptics are becoming the minority.

  137. ND

    Eric,

    Water coming out of hoses at beachballs on earth is not the same as hot gas coming out of nozzles in near vacuum with tiny debris floating about. The water is not going to expand like a hot gas will. It’s not the same dynamic. We have no concrete idea of what’s going on when those thrusters fire (which thrusters excactly? what direction?) and how the gas moves. And you need this understanding before you can rule it out.

    Also were you talking about the video on the PM site or just the dailymotion site?

    Also, what is your scientific background?

    You said “100 billion planets that are within 50 light years of earth. ” 100 billion? in 50 light years?!?! How did you figure that?

  138. @ Eric:


    However, you are continuing to miss *the* point. The point, which you did not address at all, is that no matter how many collisions the particles have that are ejected from the nozzle, they cannot possibly collide with each other such that they are propelled back towards the nozzle. Do you understand this concept?


    I’m sorry, Eric. That is just wrong. Go to a library. Check out a physics book. Turn to the chapter on gases. Learn about them.

    As ND has stated, beach balls are not gases, nor does the exhaust from the space shuttle’s maneuvering thrusters behave like beach balls propelled by water hoses. Your analogy is invalid, and because you are not understanding this you are not getting how absolutely easy it is to account for the movement of those ice particles.

    Sorry, but that’s that.

    I’ve tried, and I can do no more without getting in trouble again from the good doctor.

    Have a nice day.

  139. So, teitan (#138), Chris Mazagatti (#71) and m.t. reznor (#132), tell me: how is it all three of you have the same IP address when you post, yet seem to reference each other by name?

    Sock puppet much? Oops.

  140. Eric

    ND said, “Water coming out of hoses at beachballs on earth is not the same as hot gas coming out of nozzles in near vacuum with tiny debris floating about. The water is not going to expand like a hot gas will.”

    It doesn’t matter. All that one needs to understand is that a gas is not going to “expand” backwards towards the nozzle it came from. Is that statement correct, or do you disagree with that? If that statement is correct, then that means that a gas expanding away from a nozzle cannot possibly cause an object it comes in contact with to travel towards the nozzle, can it? If I am making an incorrect statement there, please correct me.

  141. ND

    Eric, don’t go away. I really really want to know how you got the 100 billion figure and what scientific background you have. I’m really curious.

  142. teitan

    Hey kuhnigget, why don’t you enlighten him yourself? Don’t take the highway out of getting owned and send him off to go “read a physics book,” you arrogant moron.

    Your motives for arguing aren’t even to possibly learn something new or expand your viewpoint; you argue for the sole purpose of having the last say in said argument; to feed your withered ego by trying to be RIGHT all the time, no matter what method you use.

    You give “real skeptics” a bad name.

  143. Eric

    teitan — Thanks for the link, but the music that is associated with the video you sent is really stupid. The reason people don’t take UFO researchers seriously is because a lot of them attach really dumb music to their demonstrations.

    One does not need to do this to make a point about a topic that would itself be dramatic enough if proven true, correct? That is why I posted the video from dailymotion.com. It simply shows a single object being tracked which happens to stop and reverse direction without any of the surrounding objects having their motion affected. Because there is no thruster flash during that timeframe, and because IF this were all local debris then it should all be affected by the external forces fairly equally, then I think this alone proves that some other source of propulsion is present.

    And again, you can’t just throw up your arms and say because the expansion of gas is “complex” we can’t know how it behaves in general. That is a false assertion. You can sum the motion vectors of all the gas particles and learn the average motion vector, which is always going to point in the direction the nozzle points. It will not point back towards the nozzle! Ever! Therefore, if you have a set of debris in a localized field it is all going to move in the same average direction. Because independent objects are moving TOWARDS each other and CANCELLING their motion vector sums, that tells you right there that they are NOT being propelled by a common mechanism. If they were, the sum of the objects motion vectors would not cancel to zero.

  144. ND

    Eric,

    I honestly don’t know how the exhaust from the menouvering thrusters behaves after it leaves the nozzle. You don’t either. And honestly the videos do not give a good idea of how far away the debris is, how it’s moving and how big it is. And since we can’t see the exhaust we have no idea on exactly how it’s expanding. These videos do not give enough info and therefore I don’t think you can even say how the debris is even moving. To say that we are seeing alien crafts moving arbiteraritly under their on power is an extreme stretch to say the least.

  145. Eric

    ND — I did NOT mean there are 100 billion planets 50 light years from earth. I have a LOT on my mind that I’m trying to get across and my mind is working faster than my fingers. I meant to say:

    “Let’s contrast this with an advanced civilization living somewhere on the roughly 100 billion planets IN THE GALAXY *that are within* 50 light years of earth.”

  146. Eric

    ND — I have a masters degree in nuclear engineering.

  147. ND

    An engineer! I knew it! It’s always an engineer! :)

  148. Remind me not to live next to a nuclear power plant.

    (Nothing personal, Dr. BA, nothing personal…)

  149. Eric

    ND said, “I honestly don’t know how the exhaust from the menouvering thrusters behaves after it leaves the nozzle. You don’t either. ”

    ND — Why do you keep saying the above? You are not correct. We DO know that none of the gas particles leaving the nozzle have a motion vector that points towards the nozzle. In layman’s terms, we know that the gas leaving the nozzle, even after colliding with other gas particles leaving the nozzle and even after colliding with the nozzle itself, cannot ever travel back behind the direction that the nozzle points. Come on, my friend. Once you get past this simplest of points you will begin to understand my larger point.

  150. Damon

    Right Phil, because someone misconstruing some ice-crystals for UFOs completely discredits thousands of years of UFO sightings, literature, photos, video…

    Come on. NASA is renowned for clumsily disavowing this sort of thing. They even have an entire department devoted to “treating” (airbrushing) anomalies out of satellite photos of other planets, up to and including the Moon. Just look at how poorly they handled the “face on mars” controversy.

    And you so easily dismiss the most obvious cases for that very reason: they are easy to dismiss. What about the sightings at hundreds of miles away? Pretty big ice-crystals. What about shapeshifting debris? What about shapeshifting ice-crystals with multiple light-sources?

    Nice try, Disinfo Astronomer.

  151. Mark Hansen

    Phil, Phil, I have solved the mystery of the #138, #132, & #71. They’re the Lone Gunmen!

  152. Eric

    teitan said, “Eric, keep doing what you’re doing. A recent AOL poll showed that over 90% of Americans believed that ET life exists, and as much as 80%% believed we’ve been visited.”

    teitan — again, thank you for your words of encouragement, but again, this is not a popularity contest. I am not trying to get another 20% of the population to “believe” that aliens have visited us. I am just trying to get people to analyze in a very critical way the objects in the STS-75 video because I think the motion of the objects therein point to them being self propelled.

    This is really the crucial point. IT IS NOT ABOUT WHETHER ALIENS ARE VISITING US. Maybe they have lived here the entire time? Maybe they created the human race? Maybe there is a civilization that lives 15,000 feet below the ocean surface? Maybe there is a civilization that resembles a form of energy (without a physical body) that just lives in space? OK? This really is not the issue. The issue is that people continually adhere themselves to ONE side or the other and they dismiss the possibility that something can be true because it is “too unbelievable” or “physically impossible” to be true. If you are going to take that approach, then you have to at LEAST look at the data you HAVE and analyze it carefully.

    This is why I ask people to focus very pointedly on the motion of the objects in the STS-75 video. Ask yourself why is object “A” moving in this direction while object “B” is moving in the completely opposite direction if in fact both A & B are being propelled by a force vector that only moves in A’s direction. Ask yourself questions like this. Why did object “C” suddenly stop and reverse its direction, without any of the other neighboring objects doing the same? Why is object “D” following a parabolic course and not a straight line like all of the other objects? Why are objects E-Z entering the video frame from ALL different directions if in fact the propulsion vector would tend to have them enter the frame from the lower left side?

    If you really study the motion of the objects and try to understand why they are moving the way they are, you get past the “that’s impossible it can’t happen” and you then start working towards, “what is happening and why”.

  153. ND

    Eric,

    You started talking about sts-75 before you posted the dailymotion link and I presumed it was the PM video I was confused at first. In the PM it’s clear it’s exhaust as far as I’m concerned. As for the dailymotion I don’t know. The video is not clear enough to discern what’s going on. The data is not good enough to analyse. It looks like random debris floating about in the field of view and considering other videos and experience with the shuttle, that’s not surprising.

    You’re guessing the movement of the object that was circled is self-propelled because you’re assuming it can’t be anything else. That’s not good enough. You’ve been making assumptions from the very beginning.

    Can you tell how far away the object is? How fast it was going? How big it is? Can’t tell between an alien spacecraft and debris? I really don’t have much else to say duder.

  154. Damon, where did I say this discounts all UFO sightings?

    What I did say is that these are very clearly ice crystals and other objects near the Shuttle, and I also remarked that once you understand the Shuttle and how it works, the claims that these are alien spaceships under powered control is essentially laughable.

  155. UmTutSut

    Michael L. says: “What seems the more logical choice: Orbital debris, such as ice particles, OR Alien spacecraft that can apparently defy all known laws of physics???”

    I thought I made it clear in my first post on this topic that I side with Phil and Jim Oberg on these shuttle videos. The well-documented incidents I’ve cited in the past — RAF Bentwaters/Rendlesham, Malmstrom AFB and JAL 1628 — involve sightings/encounters which skeptics insist can have ONLY a prosaic explanation because extraterrestrial visitation is impossible or, at best, extraordinarily improbable.

    I disagree, but no further discussion I could offer would change the opinion of anyone with that mindset. Again, I don’t believe any evidence I know of PROVES that an extraterrestrial encounter occurred — only that such an explanation is possible or even probable.

  156. fred edison

    @ all of the STS-75 “tether incident” giant UFO believers

    STS-75 was the Space Shuttle mission where a 12 mile long tether (TSS-1R) broke loose from an experiment they were conducting and drifted off. Upon viewing the video of the tether as it moved away from the Space Shuttle, there appeared to be objects/orbs moving in back and in front of the tether, leading some people to believe they were gigantic spaceships, since the tether was 75 to 100 miles away from the Shuttle at the time. Not really.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuFBUS0kiSA

    The History Channel’s ‘UFO Hunters’ aired an interesting episode dealing with NASA and the claims of UFO coverups. If you can find the episode to view it, which I recommend, it was season 1, episode 14, ‘The NASA Files.’ John Tindall, UFO Hunters experiments producer, discovered these supposed huge UFOs were nothing more than ice and debris around the Space Shuttle that was out of focus with the telephoto lens used to view the tether. The same explanation that NASA proposed, it was an optical illusion.

    In a nutshell and paraphrasing explanations from the episode, a reflective mirror with a hole in the middle was used with the camera. Sunlight illuminated debris and ice crystal from behind. This light then bounced off the mirrored lens. These objects will now appear to have the form of the lens, that being a circular object with a hole in the middle, even though that is not their actual shape. It’s an aberration with the camera and reflective lens. The reason these objects appear to move behind the tether is because the image in the camera was overexposed, so any objects moving about would appear brighter than they actually were. This gave the illusion the objects were behind the tether, when in reality they were small and in front of the tether and near the Space Shuttle. Again, an optical illusion makes some people think they’re giant UFOs, while they are clearly not anything but ice crystals and debris floating about the Space Shuttle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs7e-6wpCs4 (starts 3:50 pt. 4, continues pt. 5)

    Tindall’s demonstration should make people like David Sereda eat their words. Sereda is one of those people (2012/UFO snake oil salesmen) who despite evidence and detailed explanations to the contrary, continue to use the false giant UFO story as proof giant UFOs exist. And worse, that NASA is lying about it. The only one who must be lying and creating a conspiracy from thin air is Sereda, because he should know better and have the honest integrity to call something for what is is, and not something he merely imagines it is or wants it to be. It only proves that he knows there are gullible people eager enough to believe in something that isn’t there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW78l1tOj14

    Now we know that everything Sereda says can’t be believed. And we know that NASA isn’t guilty of the accusation lodged by too eager to believe UFO proponents. Don’t drink too much of the UFO propagandist’s kool-aid or you’ll become drunk with their delusions.

  157. ND

    Eric,

    From the article “The pilot, whose identity was not reported, said the object appeared to possibly be a missile or rocket.”

    Dude, UFO as in Unidendified Flying Object. Not alien spacecraft. If it was an alien spacecraft then it would not be UFO. Are you off your rocker?!

  158. Eric

    ND — If it was a missile they were certainly find the debris, correct? I know for sure they are searching for it. If they don’t find missile debris, then it wasn’t a missile, correct? I’ll guess we’ll know in short time.

  159. Nigel Depledge

    Hammster said:

    How does everyone explain the 400+ former military, FAA, CIA, etc people that came forward with their first-hand experience of alien coverups? In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the UFO Disclosure Project.

    Are these people ice crystals too? Were they paid handsome sums of money to lie? Are they all mental?

    No, but it is extremely plausible that they are all honestly mistaken.

    They are confirming that there is a coverup. Only one of them has to be right.

    So, you freely accept that 399 out of the 400 could be wrong, then, yes? Well, if it is so easy for you to accept that 399 out of the 400 could be wrong, why not take that last little step? What if all 400 out of 400 are wrong?

  160. Eric

    Nigel said, “So, you freely accept that 399 out of the 400 could be wrong, then, yes? Well, if it is so easy for you to accept that 399 out of the 400 could be wrong, why not take that last little step? What if all 400 out of 400 are wrong?”

    Nigel, I understand your logic, but doesn’t your logic also suggest that witness testimony in a court of law should not be allowed? If there is a chance even one person can be wrong, let alone 4 HUNDRED attesting to the same thing, then certainly any defense attorney would be able to prove that there is a reasonable doubt about a case based solely on eyewitness testimony.

    Didn’t we go through this with the Holocaust? Most of the Holocaust “evidence” is in the form of eyewitness testimony. It sounds like, if we were discussing that topic, you would lean towards not believing these eyewitnesses. In fact, the US government did the same thing in the TWA Flight 800 case. There, over 6 HUNDRED people clearly saw a projectile rise from the ocean surface, merge with the plane, which then resulted in a bright flash, and the plane was destroyed. The FBI wrote a letter to the NTSB (which you can find on the Internet and read yourself) which asked the NTSB to SKIP the eyewitness panel that would normally be held during the public hearings on the incident, because the FBI did not want those 600 documented eyewitnesses to give their accounts. The FBI indicated that all of these people, every single one of them, was mistaken in their observation. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit too cynical?

  161. Greg in Austin

    I’m late to the party on this one (was on vacation for a week.)

    I’ve only read a few of the comments here, but let me guess how things are going…

    • * Some people claim that photos and videos and eyewitness testimonies are sufficient evidence for UFOs=Aliens from other worlds.
    • * Some people who do not understand physics or the scientific method think that their opinion is equally as valid as those that study physics for a living.
    • * Some people claim that until you “have a UFO/Alien encounter,” you will never understand.
    • * Some people do not understand the difference between a court of law and scientific evidence.
    • * And finally, not a single person has provided a single piece of testable evidence that proves the claim that Aliens exist and are visiting earth.

    Did I miss anything?

    8)

  162. @Greg in Austin

    I think you pretty much summed it up. Eric seems to be particularly guilty of the misunderstanding between the evidence required for a court of law and that required by science (see his last post at #163).

  163. Greg in Austin

    53. keithlegg Says:
    June 2nd, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    “Yes these videos are just space dust. Yes most UFO sightings are explainable / hoaxes. However , this does not dismiss all UFO stories as being erroneous. Maybe the skeptics and debunkers should do a little research of their own before opening their opinionated,idiotic mouths. Once you’ve seen a “real” UFO your life will never be the same and you will understand that we as a species are very very small and we know almost nothing. I gave up years ago getting into this argument , but yes people, Aliens ARE in fact real and they have been coming here for thousands of years. Its not that strange , it makes sense.”

    Wow, you hit almost every one of my points. If you had only said something about court cases, you could have won a prize.

    1) There are no UFO stories so far that have real, testable, scientific evidence to back them up.

    2) This isn’t about people’s opinions. If the evidence were there, it would speak for itself.

    3) Please define a “real” UFO. I don’t want to confuse them with the “fake” UFOs.

    4) Surely you have a piece of evidence to support your claim that Aliens (as in extraterrestrials) do indeed exist?
    4b) Why only thousands of years? If aliens with advanced technology do indeed exist, wouldn’t they have been around for millions of years, instead of just a couple of thousand?

    8)

  164. Eric

    Greg & Todd: Why are we now back to insults? Why would you choose to spend your time insulting someone when you could be reading up on some of the evidence that has been catalogued?

    For those of you who have the capacity for analysis, you can read a good summary of UAP interaction with commercial and military jets in the following documents.. (Unless, I suspect, you are like Greg and Todd who will give us some excuse like, “the radar operators and commercial and military pilots in the documents you referred are not ‘trained’ observers).

    The fact is that objects which are not authorized to be flying in a given airspace are putting commercial and military jets at serious risk, via both electrical interference and mid-air collision potential. Furthermore, in a large number of the over 3,000 incidents catalogued thus far, the UAP in question exhibit acceleration and maneuverability capabilities that far exceed the military jets that are often scrambled to intercept them.

    http://www.narcap.org/reports/001/narcap.TR1.AvSafety.pdf

    http://www.narcap.org/reports/006/narcap_radcat_textwebsite_MShough_12-8-02.pdf

  165. @ Greg:

    Did I miss anything?

    Yes. I got in trouble for calling someone an ____ too many times. Bad, kuhnigget.

  166. Greg in Austin

    152. Damon Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    “Right Phil, because someone misconstruing some ice-crystals for UFOs completely discredits thousands of years of UFO sightings, literature, photos, video…”

    Eyewitness testimony has been proven hundreds of times to be unreliable. That’s why the scientific method aims to remove human error. Photos and video are easily faked, and are equally unreliable by themselves. As for literature, um, you do know the difference between Fiction and Non-Fiction, right?

    “Come on. NASA is renowned for clumsily disavowing this sort of thing. They even have an entire department devoted to “treating” (airbrushing) anomalies out of satellite photos of other planets, up to and including the Moon. Just look at how poorly they handled the “face on mars” controversy.

    What “face on mars” controversy? The one where some people claimed a face-shaped hill was actually signs of intelligent life, when it was obviously a case of pareidolia (like seeing shapes in a cloud?) And of course, you have examples of NASA airbrushing out an anomalies from photos of the Moon? For what purpose?

    8)

  167. Greg in Austin

    158. UmTutSut Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 5:37 am

    “I thought I made it clear in my first post on this topic that I side with Phil and Jim Oberg on these shuttle videos. The well-documented incidents I’ve cited in the past — RAF Bentwaters/Rendlesham, Malmstrom AFB and JAL 1628 — involve sightings/encounters which skeptics insist can have ONLY a prosaic explanation because extraterrestrial visitation is impossible or, at best, extraordinarily improbable. “

    I’m not familiar with RAF Bentwaters/Rendlesham, Malmstrom AFB and JAL 1628. Can you provide more information?

    As to your statement of skeptics, I think you are slightly confused. Its not that skeptics say “That can’t be alien because aliens don’t exist.” Rather, most skeptics will say, “Until you have proof that aliens exist, its most likely something else.”

    Extraterrestrial visitation is not impossible. Its just never been proven. Until it has, you might as well say that it was leprechauns or flying pink unicorns. Those are not impossible either, but there’s no evidence for them.

    8)

  168. Greg in Austin

    @kuhnigget,

    Oh, I should add to my list:

    * Kuhnigget insulted someone with his facts, data and In-Your-Face attitude.

    8)

  169. ND

    Eric in Austin,

    Eric says “However, I do not think resorting to debunking is a good idea. ”

    * Debunking considered harmful

  170. ND

    doh!

    s/Eric in Austin/Greg in Austin/

  171. Eric

    Greg in Austin said, “I’m not familiar with RAF Bentwaters/Rendlesham, Malmstrom AFB and JAL 1628. Can you provide more information?”

    Huh? What do you mean you are not familiar with these cases?? Later on in that same post you said,

    “Extraterrestrial visitation is not impossible. Its just never been proven.”

    So, as a “skeptic” (or debunker) you are saying that extraterrestrial visitation has never been proven, but yet while you proclaim to make a statement of fact on that matter you haven’t even bothered to research some of the more interesting cases at all?? You don’t even know any of the details of the Rendlesham Forest case? I mean, that is quite, quite telling. Honestly. I am not trying to be rude here, but this is the problem that I have with “debunkers”. A “skeptic”, before making a broad statement that there is no “proof” would spend the proper amount of time at least convincing himself that there truly is no proof before making a public statement. Yet, by your own admission, you don’t have the first clue about any of the details of probably the most important UFO event in modern times (because this particular event involves a human being actually touching with his hand what is described by the team of military police as an alien spacecraft)?? This is not a case of “ooh, look at that in the sky”. This is a case of a group of military policemen who make the claim that an object which exhibited flight characteristics they considered impossible for a conventional aircraft, landed near them, and they observed symbols on the surface similar to hieroglyphics before one of the soldiers touched the craft with his hand, making solid contact. You really should do some reading.

  172. @ greg in austin:

    Yet, by your own admission, you don’t have the first clue about any of the details of probably the most important UFO event in modern times

    Yeah, geez, Greg, get with it. You know that case…the one with the Yoo-foh that looked like the lighthouse that just happened to be visible from the site, and the “landing pad” impressions that were amazingly disguised as bunny burrows? That one?

    For a terrific intro into the “most important UFO event in modern times”, try this:

    skeptoid (dot) com (slash) episodes (slash) 4135

    Of course, that’s just one o’ them critical thinking skeptics doin’ his thang.

  173. Eric

    kuhnigget — I see you still haven’t read the NARCAP technical reports. And you certainly haven’t read the Rendlesham documents on the British Ministry of Defence website either. It’s quite unfortunate that you continue to act like a child (which you probably are, literally; I’d guess you’re in your early 20’s from your level of discourse). In any event I am very glad to know that the people who are responsible for our safety take these events seriously.

  174. NARCAP…. Oh, lordy, it just gets better and better.

    Honestly, Eric, do you read anything but woo-woo websites? What next? MUFON?

    Seriously. Broaden your horizons, dude. Being a trained nuclear engineer and all, I know you have something going on upstairs, right? Do yourself and your intellect a favor. Visit a library. Read up on physics some more. Read something…anything…but UFOlogy stuff.

    Honest, amigo, you might be surprised.

  175. Oh, and I’m sorry, could you please provide a link to the Rendlesham documents “on the British Ministry of Defence website”? I did a search on their website and couldn’t seem to find any reference at all to such. I’m sure I just missed it, so would you be so kind? thanks.

  176. Mori

    “Didn’t we go through this with the Holocaust? ”

    That’s it. I’m calling Godwin’s Law on this one. Everybody out of the pool.

  177. Markle

    @74. kuhnigget Said:

    @ #71, with a snicker:

    Has to be Poe. Right? Tell me it’s Poe.

    Doctor Who at the least. A cell phone that functions in the absence of supporting infrastructure? World leaders replaced by aliens? (No flatulence, I guess that was over-the-top)

    @The Chemist in general:

    You should have paid attention in Physics class

  178. Eric

    kuhnigget said, “NARCAP…. Oh, lordy, it just gets better and better.”

    Now what are you attempting to imply? What is it about the two NASA Ames scientists who founded NARCAP that you don’t find credible? I’d be interested in hearing why you find the technical reports at the NARCAP website in error, if that is the case? Did you find something wrong with any of the extensive radar data analysis they performed? Or did you find an inconsistency in any of the commercial or military pilot transcripts that they either recorded or referenced? Please fill us in on the errors you found.

  179. Eric

    kuhnigget — Regarding the MoD website, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you have never bothered to read any of the documents the British government decided to release in 2007. I’ll make it easy on you and just point you to an executive summary (because I realize it will take you longer to read these documents in between your insults).

    http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7D2B11E0-EA9F-45EA-8883-A3C00546E752/0/uap_exec_summary_dec00.pdf

    Note that this executive summary is worded in a very interesting fashion. The scientists who wrote it refer to the UAP as “buoyant charged masses”, and they go on to say they are not of “intelligent” origin (but there is a reason for that, see below). They then go on to say, however, that these “unintelligent” charged masses notice that they are about to collide with an aircraft, and they know when they are being chased by an aircraft, and they are able to “form, separate, merge, hover, climb, and dive”.

    So, if you are intrigued by the executive summary, read the three full volumes, which completely contradict the “unintelligent” claim that was only made in the executive summary because the government knows that most people will read that (if anything), and believe me here, they do not want to alarm people. But the fact of the matter is that objects which are capable of taking on both a completely non-physical form, and then transition into a physical mass, are entering the earths atmosphere from outer space.

    http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FreedomOfInformation/PublicationScheme/SearchPublicationScheme/UapInTheUkAirDefenceRegionVolume1.htm

  180. Eric: Please search Dr. BA’s blog for previous posts on UFOs. I believe the one you are looking for was about three months back. Your delightful NARCAP reports, including Dr. Haines own rather creative survey techniques, were discussed in detail. And ad nauseum.

    By the way, the “founders” of NARCAP do indeed include scientists and engineers and other specialists. Co-founder Richard Haines was a “perceptual psychologist”. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, if you’re sticking with perceptual psychology. Co-founder Ted Roe has been a professional “UFO researcher” for decades. Nothing wrong with that, either….tho…after 40 years he still hasn’t found anything. Board member Bernard Haisch is rather fond of the equivalent of quantum physics perpetual motion machines. Jacque Vallee prefers to focus on UFOs as a “psychic phenomenon.” He rather likes the religious angle over the spaceships and hardware angle.

    Goes to credibility, as the lawyers say.

  181. Nigel Depledge

    Jedd (47) said:

    Columbus made it politically accepted that the world was not flat, even though most mariners new the truth

    This is wrong.

    No-one at the time of Columbus believed the world to be flat. Columbus thought it was smaller than did most other people. He was told “sail east to get to the Indies? That’s way too far, you’ll run out of food and fresh water before you’re half way”.

    What no-one knew was that America was only about 1/5 – 1/4 of the way to the Indies. Columbus’s mistake is the reason that the West Indies are called thus. As has been pointed out by other commenters before you (but that you seemed to ignore), Columbus was wrong, but that wrongness gave him the impetus to mount an expedition. By accident, he discovered a new continent.

  182. UmTutSut

    I’m gonna don my flame-retardant spacesuit and write a rather long (for me) post. The way I see it, there are three broad categories of people who speak to the UFO phenomenon. (Please bear with the artistic hyperbole here)

    Skeptics: Those who will accept nothing less than a televised landing at the White House, Kremlin, Tiananmen Square (insert location of choice) as “proof” of alien visitation. Known physics makes interstellar travel extremely difficult, they say, and there’s no logical reason why intelligent beings from another solar system would try to come to Earth.

    Believers: Those who are extremely accepting of an extraterrestrial hypothesis to many UFO encounters/sightings. Reliable witnesses report a “craft” that seeming performs maneuvers contrary to the known laws of physics, so it must be from somewhere else. Other more prosaic explanations – e.g., mistaken identity or natural phenomena – are ruses to cover up the “truth.”

    Semi-Skeptics (my term): Those who are open to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but realize “proof” of visitation is elusive. The overwhelming majority of sightings/encounters have a prosaic explanation, but for some – many, perhaps – the explanation that BEST fits the evidence (“testable” or otherwise) is the possibility of an extraterrestrial craft. “Known” physical laws, while they’re all we Earth folks have right now, may not be what is actually happening in the universe, as future generations may demonstrate.

    Yeah, I count myself in the third category.

    The rhetoric that people I’d put in the first two groups post in this blog’s comments is, to me, dumbfounding. I don’t understand how people intelligent enough to have a skeptical mindset can be so apparently closed-minded about evidence from UFO encounters. Is some of the evidence “proof?” No, not even by my standards. Is it suggestive of an extraterrestrial hypothesis? By my standards, sometimes yes. But any discussion of the “best” encounters or researchers who study such phenomena is met with derision. You can’t prove it, so it must be B.S.

    I also empathize with the believers, but often they come across as zealots for the extraterrestrial hypothesis regardless of the apparent evidence. If 19 of 20 bits of evidence suggest a prosaic explanation, they will seize on the ONE questionable bit to show that the encounter must involve something extraterrestrial. I believe Eric, who made many post on this topic, is well-intentioned, but some of his facts have been demonstrated to be just plain incorrect.

    I’d love to see discussions on this blog about the UFO phenomena that don’t involve vitriol, absolutes, exaggerations and misstatements. There is room for genuine debate on this issue if folks in the first two groups I described will just be more open-minded.

    Just my .02 zlotys.

  183. Nigel Depledge

    Sam said (inter alia, but I can’t be bothered to address all of the drivel):

    You’ve sworn your devotion to today’s scientific dogma and you’re sticking with it, no matter how many unexplainable events occur, no matter how many undebunkable videos or photos are shot, no matter the quality and number of witness accounts.

    You seem to ignore several things here:

    (1) The “scxientific dogma” boils down to one thing: show me the evidence.
    (2) “Evidence” does not include dodgy videos or eyewitness accounts. It means reproducible observations.
    (3) Science thrives on the unexplainable. However, scientists will always wish first to confirm that what is under investigation really is a new phenomenon, and not merely something that has been described before.
    (4) There is no such thing as an “undebunkable” video or photo – and, if you care to investigate, nearly all of the UFO videos and photos that have been debunked were debunked with ease.
    (5) While it is a common claim among the alien-spaceship-concluders that some eyewitnesses are so reliable their testimony should not be questioned, this is false: all eyewitness testimony is suspect, especially when trying to identify or describe an unfamiliar object. (Otherwise, how would Venus be reported as a UFO so often?)
    (6) Just because a phenomenon is unidentified, it does not follow that it is likely to be an alien spaceship. Aside from known atmospheric phenomena, there could still be unkown but mundane atmospheric phenomena that can explain some sightings.
    (7) Even the best alien spaceship candidates are supported by pathetic evidence. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence – not vague and conflicting eyewitness accounts.

  184. Greg in Austin

    Eric said,

    “You don’t even know any of the details of the Rendlesham Forest case?”

    “Yet, by your own admission, you don’t have the first clue about any of the details of probably the most important UFO event in modern times (because this particular event involves a human being actually touching with his hand what is described by the team of military police as an alien spacecraft)??”

    Well, since you have not provided any links to the scientific journals, reports of physical and metallurgical analysis, or a single peer-reviewed independent analysis, how can I look at the data and come to my own conclusion? In a rudimentary search online, the only things I can find are anecdotal stories and claims of conspiracy and government coverups. But all of these were debunked, some of them 30 years ago. I can’t find ANY real evidence, so if its there and I’ve simply missed it please provide the link.

    What’s the logical fallacy called when someone gives a report and says, “then the alien spaceship did this,” but fails to prove the most important point: HOW DO YOU KNOW IT WAS AN ALIEN SPACESHIP?

    8)

  185. Greg in Austin

    @UmTutSut,

    How do you separate your belief that unexplained events (such as UFO’s) could be Aliens with the belief that unexplained events could be flying unicorns? There is equal amounts of evidence for both.

    8)

  186. Greg in Austin

    @Eric,

    I read some of the Executive Summary you posted. Of interest, it says:

    Page 6
    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    10. Causes of UAP Reports In the absense of any evidence to the contrary the key UAP report findings are:

    * Mis-reporting of man-made vehicles, often observed by perfectly credible witnesses, but with unfamiliar or abnormal features; or in unusual circumstances.

    * Reports of natural but not unusual phenomena, which are genuinely misunderstood at the time by the observer.

    * The incicence of natural, but relatively rare phenomena. These may be increasing due to natural changes and possibly accelerated by man-aided factors, such as smoke and dust.

    Further:

    * No evidence exists to associate the phenomena with any particular nation.

    * No evidence exists to suggest that the phenomena seen are hostile or under any type of control, other than that of natural physical forces.

    * Evidence suggests that meteors and other well-known effects and, possibly some other less-known effects, are responsible for some UAP. (R)

    So, that pretty much sums it up. There is no evidence that any of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are alien spacecraft. This directly contradicts what you are claiming, and it is certainly not evidence to support “the most important UFO event in modern times.”

    8)

  187. @ Umtutsut:

    I’d love to see discussions on this blog about the UFO phenomena that don’t involve vitriol, absolutes, exaggerations and misstatements

    Unfortunately, if you take out those factors, there’s just not much left. Not much at all.

  188. @ Eric:

    kuhnigget — Regarding the MoD website, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you have never bothered to read any of the documents the British government decided to release in 2007. I’ll make it easy on you and just point you to an executive summary (because I realize it will take you longer to read these documents in between your insults).

    Actually, Eric, I stated quite clearly that I could not find the documents you referenced on the MOD website and asked for a direct link. Fair is fair, eh, amigo?

    They then go on to say, however, that these “unintelligent” charged masses notice that they are about to collide with an aircraft, and they know when they are being chased by an aircraft, and they are able to “form, separate, merge, hover, climb, and dive”.

    I could not find the section in any of the documents where it is stated that airborne plasmas “notice they are about to collide with an aircraft” and “know when they are being chased”. Again, pardon my obvious lack of reading skills, Eric. Could you please point me to that section? I’m very eager to see it.

  189. I just looked at the STS-75 clip Eric resented; there is one object which does appear to reverse direction. Interesting. But in that rather low-resolution clip I note that a very faint object appears to come from the top of the screen and apparently collide with, or come very close to, the object in question. I suspect that this fast moving object, probably a stray particle from a thruster somewhere beyond the top of the image, imparted some of its momentum to the slow moving object and reversed its direction. Note that the slow-moving object is not under acceleration, either before or after the collision, as its location moves smoothly from frame to frame.

    Alternately a different object, travelling at roughly the same speed and in roughly the same direction as the barely visible object did the same thing. This may even be a plume of gas rather than a solid object (note that expansion in a vacuum will rapidly cool such a plume). Newton’s laws are still observed, and there is no need for an independently propelled craft in these images.

  190. Greg in Austin

    I was at a gas station a few months ago, here in town. There were two folks in the parking lot (one of them a store employee) looking at something in the sky. It was very bright, colorful, and no other stars could be seen. This light seemed stationary, but was fluctuating in brightness and color. It was interesting to hear the comments these two people were making.

    “I don’t know what that is. Is it a plane? Its not really moving. Is it a UFO? I’ve never seen anything like that.”

    I just laughed. I had just spent the afternoon 20 miles or so from the city. I was able to watch the sun set and the stars come out. Venus was especially bright, visible even before the sun had gone down all the way. I had looked at Venus to the west as I was heading south on the interstate, just before I pulled into the gas station. The gas station lights, along with the city glow, pretty much drowned out all the rest of the sky, except for Venus.

    These two folks were not stupid people, but they were seeing something they weren’t familiar with. They are what I would call credible witnesses – they are sure that they saw something, and they could probably very clearly relate exactly what they saw. However, neither one of them knew what it really was, and all of their guesses were wrong. Just a testament to the unreliability of eyewitness accounts.

    8)

  191. @ Greg:

    Add to that an industry that makes tons of money off of those people, and you have the modern UFO culture.

  192. In my earlier post I said “I just looked at the STS-75 clip Eric resented;”
    Apologies for the typo: I meant “I just looked at the STS-75 clip Eric presented” rather than resented. Silly me.

  193. UmTutSut

    Greg in Austin says: “How do you separate your belief that unexplained events (such as UFO’s) could be Aliens with the belief that unexplained events could be flying unicorns? There is equal amounts of evidence for both.”

    Flying unicorns? When did They let you in on the secret, Greg????? :-)

    As my post suggests, my standard for “evidence” likely differs from yours. It also depends on what you think evidence does. If you think it “proves” the existence of something, then — as I also said in one of my other posts — the evidence does not “prove” the existence of extraterrestrial craft. If evidence, or preponderence thereof, is thought to lead toward a logical conclusion, then SOME evidence leads to the conclusion that SOME encounters COULD be extraterrestrial in origin.

    Skeptics are entitled to their opinion and to argue same. So are those of us who believe that SOME encounters COULD represent extraterrestrial visitation. I simply don’t see what purpose a derisive attitude on the part of EITHER position serves.

  194. UmTutSut

    I should add that I’ve never seen anything in the day or night sky I couldn’t identify.

    As I’ve told others, I think it’s damned decent of those E.T.s to put flashing red strobes on the bottoms of their craft…just as we do with our pathetic terrestrial aircraft…. ;-)

  195. Greg in Austin

    @UmTutSut,

    My standards are for scientific evidence. That is, evidence that can be independently tested and verified. A physical ship that you and I and anyone else can see and touch and measure in 1,000 different ways, that has a propulsion drive system unlike anything humans have ever created or imagined, flown by beings that do not have human DNA, who can explain the mathematics and physics with which they used to travel thru space to get here. That’s all. ;)

    You still didn’t answer my question, so let me put it another way. I can walk into any toy store in the U.S. and purchase a plastic UFO, a little rubber green alien, a warp ship, and an anti-gravity gun. I can also purchase a little pink pony with wings, a unicorn, a troll with fuzzy hair, and a leprechaun action figure complete with a plastic pot of gold. All of these things have a significant history in our art, our literature, and our imagination, and none of these things have any actual physical evidence that shows they actually exist outside of fiction. So again, what makes UFOs=Aliens any more credible than UFOs=Leprechauns?

    The UFO proponents are doing the exact same thing that humans did 500 years ago to explain the unexplained. Some people believe aliens from other worlds use different laws of physics to travel to earth and evade our aircraft, as if by magic, just like fairies and pixies were once believed to lure people into the woods, cast spells and cause havoc. It is safe to say that fairies do not exist because there is no evidence that you and I can test to show that fairies really do exist. It is safe to say that UFO’s are not aliens, because there is no evidence that you and I can test that shows that aliens do indeed exist.

    Unless you have some you’d like to share?

    8)

  196. UmTutSut

    Greg in Austin writes: “So again, what makes UFOs=Aliens any more credible than UFOs=Leprechauns?”

    You forgot the flying unicorns.

    Yours is a specious argument, Greg. As far as I know, leprechauns, unicorns, fairies or pixies have not been seen by airline pilots, military personnel, physicists, astronomers and other similary experienced people who, even given their supposed unreliability as witnesses, have reported APPARENTLY non-natural objects exhibiting behavior unexplainable by our current knowledge of physics. Nor AFAIK have leprechauns, et al. generated documented electromagnetic effects or left apparent physical traces.

    Unless you have a pot o’ gold you’d like to share?

    :-)

  197. Eric

    Greg in Austin said, ” There is no evidence that any of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are alien spacecraft…..So, that pretty much sums it up..”

    I am glad (and a bit shocked) you actually read the executive summary. But as I pointed out in post 183, that doesn’t “pretty much sum it up”. It is your prerogative if you don’t want to learn what is going on, but if you do, read the other 3 volumes.

  198. Actually, UmTutSut, I think you missed GiA’s point.

    Airline pilots and other similarly experienced people have not seen leprechauns and fairies because there were no airline pilots in the middle ages when such things were the normal explanations for something that wasn’t understood. Leprechauns and fairies were seen, I imagine, by masons, and architects and sea captains and other educated folk of the time…but then as now, the vast majority of “sightings” were probably among the hoi polloi, those whose limited educations presented a much broader range of phenomena which might prove “unknown.”

    The situation today is no different, really. Fairies and unicorns don’t cut it anymore, so different memes have to replace them as stand-ins for the unknown. It doesn’t make today’s memes any more “real” than yesterday’s, nor does it change the essence of the phenomena itself: people confronted with something they don’t understand needing to label it as something they do understand, even if their label is nothing more than an image from pop culture.

    This has come up in these threads before. You can trace the evolution of “ufos” in parallel with popular culture and get a remarkable match. The modern “spaceship” meme itself has evolved consistently with our perception of what such a craft might look like, from projectile shells and antigravity machines, to rockets and Buck Rogers-style ships, to “flying saucers” – a term never used by the man whose story started that particular phase – and now, moving past hardware as our understanding of its limitations relative to interstellar travel continues to evolve. The hippest alien visitors of today wouldn’t be caught dead in a flying saucer; pan-dimensional psychotronic travel is the way go, baby. Hence you’ve got people posting videos of cirrus clouds on YouTube, claiming they’re the latest incarnation of our “visitors.”

  199. Greg in Austin

    UmTutSut said,

    “As far as I know, leprechauns, unicorns, fairies or pixies have not been seen by airline pilots, military personnel, physicists, astronomers and other similary experienced people who, even given their supposed unreliability as witnesses, have reported APPARENTLY non-natural objects exhibiting behavior unexplainable by our current knowledge of physics.”

    Ok, STOP. It has been proven thousands of times that eyewitness testimony is not reliable, regardless of the individual. It doesn’t matter that they are pilots, policemen, astronomers, or whomever. If they are human, then their eyewitness testimony is fallible, and cannot be considered as scientific evidence.

    But just to play along, lets assume the pilots, military personnel, et. al. DO see a craft that moves in a manner beyond anything any human has ever built. How do you know the thing flying it is an alien from outer space, and not a leprechaun?

    8)

  200. Greg in Austin

    Eric said,

    “It is your prerogative if you don’t want to learn what is going on, but if you do, read the other 3 volumes.”

    A) Why should I read any further. The executive summary completely contradicts your claim.
    B) You are the one making the claim. It is entirely up to YOU to provide the evidence to support it.

    If I get time, I’ll skim thru the other documents, and I will be happy to report on my findings.

    8)

  201. UmTutSut

    Greg in Austin says: “But just to play along, lets assume the pilots, military personnel, et. al. DO see a craft that moves in a manner beyond anything any human has ever built. How do you know the thing flying it is an alien from outer space, and not a leprechaun?”

    I will say for the umpti-umph time: I(We) don’t KNOW that any of these encounters was with an extraterrestrial craft because, as you and others have laboriously pointed out, there are no artifacts of unquestinable provenance, no unimpeachable “secret” classied documents.

    I don’t know WHAT any of the witnesses to these encounters actually saw. So, Greg, if it makes you happy to win a solely intellectual point — yes, they COULD be Leprechauns. :-)

    All I AM saying and all I have EVER said is that a thorough examination of SOME evidence SUGGESTS that some of these encounters COULD involve extraterrestrial visitation because a more mundane explanation requires a convoluted manipulation of the facts to arrive at that conclusion. (And yes, I’ve seen “convoluted manipulation” on BOTH sides of the issue.)

    As an aside, I’ve covered the accident investigation beat in the Friendly Airplane Asylum flack shop for 14 years, so I, too, know more than a little bit about the fallibility of eyewitness accounts. But a good accident investigator knows how to sort out the eyewitness evidence and glean enough information to have a reasonable idea of what people actually saw and what it PROBABLY means. Remember, the NTSB always issues the PROBABLE cause of an accident based on the preponderance of evidence.

    It’s no different with UFO eyewitness accounts. People are (usually) making an honest effort to describe what they saw. I’m not a UFO investigator, but I suspect they use many of the same techniques our FAA and NTSB investigators use. Most of the time, it’s probably not that difficult to come up with a prosaic explanation. But in the three cases I mentioned, and probably others, the preponderance of the eyewitness evidence SUGGESTS (there’s that word again)that people saw a non-natural craft of unknown origin that defies known laws of physics. Therefore, it COULD be of extraterrestrial origin.

    I want the same “proof” most of you want! In the meantime, I try to make sense of the evidence we have — eyewitness or otherwise — and come to a likely conclusion. You may disagree with that conclusion. What I can’t stomach is the dismissive tone and the self-assumed intellectual superiority that is demonstrated by some posters whenever the UFO topic arises.

    Clearly no one, especially me, is going to convince skeptics to accept the possibility of an extraterrestrial explanation for some encounters. And that’s not what I’ve been advocating. All I’d like to see is a few more open minds.

  202. ND

    UmTutSut said “All I AM saying and all I have EVER said is that a thorough examination of SOME evidence SUGGESTS that some of these encounters COULD involve extraterrestrial visitation because a more mundane explanation requires a convoluted manipulation of the facts to arrive at that conclusion. (And yes, I’ve seen “convoluted manipulation” on BOTH sides of the issue.)”

    Do you have any specific examples that fit this category of encounters?

  203. UmTutSut: I’m not a UFO investigator, but I suspect they use many of the same techniques our FAA and NTSB investigators use.

    With at least one hugely major difference: FAA and NTSB investigators do not have websites and magazines and books and videos and DVDs and traveling shows and action figures and conventions with which they make tons of money selling their conclusions to a gullible public. UFO “investigators”, however much they claim to the contrary, are not unbiased. Though they may couch their language and hide behind a layer of feigned impartiality, they are in the business of “investigating” that which they have already concluded exists, that which they are eager to convince others to believe in.

    Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

  204. And BTW, still waiting for Eric to link to those quotes he pulled from that UK Ministry of Defense Report. I’ll assume he’s just busy on the weekend…

  205. UmTutSut

    ND says: “Do you have any specific examples that fit this category of encounters?”

    I recall reading a book by the late Phil Klass many years ago in which I thought he used some convolution of the facts to arrive at mundane explanations for several incidents. Both the title of the book and the specific encounters escape me right now.

    Perhaps the best recent example is the “lighthouse” explanation for RAF Bentwaters/Rendlesham Forest. An interesting discussion here:

    http://www.rendlesham-incident.co.uk/the-lighthouse-theory.php

  206. Greg in Austin

    UmTutSut said,

    “All I AM saying and all I have EVER said is that a thorough examination of SOME evidence SUGGESTS that some of these encounters COULD involve extraterrestrial visitation because a more mundane explanation requires a convoluted manipulation of the facts to arrive at that conclusion.”

    I think we can agree here, as long as we can equivalently replace the words “extraterrestrial visitation” with, “imaginary being,” “fairy folk,” or “flying pink unicorns.”

    “I’m not a UFO investigator, but I suspect they use many of the same techniques our FAA and NTSB investigators use. “

    Except for that one significant difference: Most UFO investigators function under the assumption that UFO’s are indeed alien spaceships, and attempt to find evidence to support that conclusion. It is flawed reasoning, and its bassackwards to actual science.

    “But in the three cases I mentioned, and probably others, the preponderance of the eyewitness evidence SUGGESTS (there’s that word again)that people saw a non-natural craft of unknown origin that defies known laws of physics. Therefore, it COULD be of extraterrestrial origin.”

    Unless you have more information than you have provided here, the three cases you’ve mentioned have been thoroughly investigated and thoroughly debunked for decades. So, again, the eyewitness evidence suggests nothing other than eyewitness evidence is unreliable, and there’s no more reason to believe those 3 events were caused by ET than they were caused by the Lucky Charms guy.

    “Clearly no one, especially me, is going to convince skeptics to accept the possibility of an extraterrestrial explanation for some encounters.”

    Clearly not until you or someone can provide the EVIDENCE, otherwise, they wouldn’t be very good skeptics, now, would they? ;)

    “And that’s not what I’ve been advocating. All I’d like to see is a few more open minds.”

    I am very open minded. I say Aliens from other planets are not visiting us, because there is no evidence that Aliens from another planet even exist, much less can get here in a human’s lifetime, much less move through the sky in a way that defies all known laws of physics, and so on, and so on. HOWEVER, if such evidence were discovered, and it could be verified, then I would certainly accept that evidence. Please, show me the evidence.

    8)

  207. @UmTutSut:

    A few things about that analysis on site you linked to. Numbered italics indicate quotes from the site:

    1) Basically, there is a little notch on the horizon where the lighthouse is visible, if you move, the lighthouse disappears. I have to some photos to prove it:

    Yes, indeed, he’s got the photographs…taken over 25 years after the incident in question. And what he does not mention, is that the witnesses said they saw the lights through the trees, which, from the author’s own photographs, clearly extends the range at which you could see the lights by many hundreds of yards, if not significantly more.

    2) Is the lighthouse visible from East Gate? No. It is not visible now and was not visible in 1980 from RAF Woodbridge’s East Gate

    But none of the witnesses claimed to see the same lights they saw through the forest from the gate. What they saw were bright objects streaking overhead. Oddly enough, their descriptions and the time the observations were made coincide with the re-entry of the Russian Kosmos satellite reentering the atmosphere, an event witnessed by hundreds of others in the UK on that same night. There was also, on the same evening, a very bright meteor observed in the sky at 2:45 a.m., the same time the UFO witnesses described making one of their observations “around 3 a.m..” Coincidences? Doubtful.

    3) The amusement of the situation soon disappeared and I was left feeling quite angry. The sceptics claim that the UFO story has grown over time and become more elaborate in a negative sense. In my opinion, it has “grown” for one reason only – researchers have dug deeper and uncovered more information.

    Indeed, and the information they’ve uncovered includes the fact that the stories told by the “eye-witnesses” have gotten remarkably more elaborate over time. One of the participants, later claimed to have spent nearly three-quarters of an hour in the forest, walking around the object and taking photographs…which have never been produced. This, despite he and fellow airmen made no such claims in their initial reports, and indeed the times given in their initial reports preclude any such 45 minute saunter around “the spacecraft.”

    4) Jim Penniston said the UFO was triangular in shape, he estimated that it was “three meters tall and about three meters wide at the base”. He said it seemed to be made from ‘opaque, black glass’. Here is a sketch of the object, taken directly from Penniston’s notebook: [photo]

    Trouble is, again, according to the first reports the men routinely filed, Jim Penniston didn’t have a notebook on that night, didn’t take notes and make sketches, didn’t have time to do so, and in fact the times in his notebook don’t match at all the times the men gave in their official reports. Penniston didn’t produce his notebook until much later, when the UFO promoters had picked up on the story. Once again, the UFO industry promotes its own.

    5) All of the eyewitnesses are certain that they did not mistake the Orford Ness lighthouse for a UFO.

    What the author of this website fails to tell his readers, is when his quoted statements were made. None of the original reports even mention the lighthouse. Again, these statements were made much later, after the “incident” had become part of the UFO industry’s bankable lore. Here’s a quote from the local police report, which tells a slightly different story:

    Air traffic control West-Drayton Checked. No knowledge of aircraft. Reports received of aerial phenomena over southern England during the night. [That’s important, BTW. There were sightings of the falling satellite and meteor from all over England, not just here, as the UFO nuts would have you believe.] Only lights visible this area was from Orford Light House. Search made of area- negative.

    No landing site. No impressions left by footpads. Nothing. Of course, the UFO industry says, the police were told to keep mum….

    6)

    But there is one problem with Penniston’s statement – something that doesn’t fit in with what he has recently claimed. Penniston has recently said that he was able to get close enough to the object to actually touch it – but his statement contradicts his claim:

    “When we got within a 50 metre distance, the object was producing red and blue light. […][…][…] This is the closest point that I was near the object at any point.”

    50 metres is equal to ~164.5 feet, that’s quite a big distance. But does this mean Penniston’s claim of touching the UFO is a lie? I don’t think so. We know that the witness statements were deliberately ‘sanitized’ and for a very good reason too – they were afraid that the UFO sightings could jeopardize their career – they feared they could even loose their pensions.

    Ah, here is the UFO industry’s classic dodge. “Oh, yes, the statements are contradictory…but that’s because they were afraid of the evil conspiracy!”

    Utter trash. There is no evidence whatsoever for any sort of harassment, coverup, or anything other than the RAF’s standard operating procedure in this case. Nothing. Except the made-up conspiracies of the UFO industry, which makes money off of them.

    There’s more, but I’ll stop with this one:

    The people who investigated the supposed “landing site” concluded that the “landing pad” marks were, in fact, rabbit burrows.

    The author of UmTut’s website says: I have never seen rabbits create geometric shapes. They may be clever enough to give up digging but they are hardly artistic in nature.

    And yet, what he fails to highlight is the fact that the only one who has ever claimed there were geometrically shaped landing pad impressions was Jim Penninton, he of the fictional notebook created later, with the dates and times that don’t match the original reports.

    Folks, this is typical UFO industry claptrap. Books are writen. TV programs made. DVDs produced and sold. Money changes hands. It’s not about Truth, or Believing, or anything else. It’s about the money and self-aggrandizing of these folks.

  208. UmTutSut

    Greg in Austin writes: “Unless you have more information than you have provided here, the three cases you’ve mentioned have been thoroughly investigated and thoroughly debunked for decades.”

    Greg, you and others have made your position clear: No “testable” evidence = no POSSIBILITY of extraterrestrial visitation. And that’s fine. Others, including myself, feel that eyewitness evidence and reports of physical traces (such as they are) lead to the POSSIBILITY of an opposite conclusion.

    In the grand scheme of things, I don’t give a flying fu…er, unicorn…whether you and others agree or not. As I said a couple posts back, what DOES get my back up is the dismissive, intellectually superior attitude that some skeptics have toward people who disagree with them. Look at my very first post on this thread; it was in response to the words “stupid” and “redneck” being used to describe those who see the possibility that extraterrestrials are or have visited Earth. Your first sentence — invoking fairies and unicorns, et al. — in the post I’m replying to (210) exhibits more than a faint whiff of that attitude.

    I’m not going to convince you or other skeptics. But arriving at a different conclusion does not somehow make me or anyone else a fool or a pollyanna.

    I’m checking out to go look for the pot o’ gold the leprechauns supposedly left about a mile from here….

  209. Greg in Austin

    @UmTutSut,

    I never once called you or anyone else names, and my attitude is not at all dismissive. In fact, in almost every one of my posts I have simply asked for evidence. I would love to believe aliens are visiting Earth. I am open to the possibility that life exists elsewhere. (I am excited to see the results in a few years from the Kepler observatory.) However, there are reasons that science works the way it does. It rules out false assumptions and allows the facts to stand on their own.

    If you honestly were not trying to convince anyone of your beliefs, you would never had posted here in the first place.

    And I totally agree: you are never going to convince a skeptic that some imaginary being has come to Earth in a magical spaceship and taunted humans with its blinky lights without a shred of evidence to support your claim.

    8)

  210. Greg in Austin

    UmTutSut said,

    “Others, including myself, feel that eyewitness evidence and reports of physical traces (such as they are) lead to the POSSIBILITY of an opposite conclusion.”

    If you will read my posts again, I never said alien visitation was impossible. I clearly said that there is no evidence that it has ever happened.

    I’ll rephrase the last statement of my previous post, because this is important: You can believe whatever you want. But if you want anyone else to take you seriously, you need to learn how to back up your claims with evidence. And if that claim is extraordinary, the evidence must be extraordinary as well.

    I have already stated that I am willing to change my mind in the face of real evidence. Are you willing to do the same?

    8)

  211. UmTutSut

    Last words from the Mothership at L5.

    Greg in Austin says “If you honestly were not trying to convince anyone of your beliefs, you would never had posted here in the first place.”

    My only “belief” is that extraterrestial visitation MAY have occurred. My first post — I was mistaken earlier — was in AGREEMENT with Phil’s blog entry about the shuttle video. I only got into the thick of things when the name calling started. If you choose to believe your “attitude is not at all dismissive,” fine. Your words and the posts of many others on this topic speak for themselves.

    Die-hard skeptics and those of us who think extraterrestrial visitation MAY have occurred differ on the nature and value of evidence. Time will tell, won’t it?

    One comment on kuhnigget’s statement that “Books are writen (sic). TV programs made. DVDs produced and sold. Money changes hands. It’s not about Truth, or Believing, or anything else. It’s about the money and self-aggrandizing of these folks.” Regrettably, that seems to be true for many of the so-called experts. “UFO Hunters” and ALL of the “documentaries” I’ve seen are laughable. Some of the written words are a bit better, but they often strike me as far too accepting of dubious premises. In my OPINION, that’s all the more reason for the UFO phenomenon/phenomena to be taken seriously by science, thereby removing it from the province of, um, entrepreneurs.

    Signing off.

  212. Greg in Austin

    UmTutSut said,

    “Die-hard skeptics and those of us who think extraterrestrial visitation MAY have occurred differ on the nature and value of evidence. Time will tell, won’t it?”

    Since you keep bringing it up, please explain to us what your version of evidence is. Why do you consider heresay, rumors, fuzzy pictures and unsubstantiated claims evidence?

    And what will time tell? That one of us is wrong? Well, duh. If we both can’t both be right, then yes, eventually, WHEN or IF the evidence presents itself, one of us may be wrong.

    8)

  213. Greg in Austin

    @Eric,

    I read thru many of the documents you suggested. NONE of them supported the conclusion that anyone saw anything that was extraterrestrial. The conclusions in the reports are identical to those in the Executive Summary.

    So, do you have any evidence that supports your claims:

    “The fact is that objects which are not authorized to be flying in a given airspace are putting commercial and military jets at serious risk, via both electrical interference and mid-air collision potential.”

    As I said, the reports you linked to say the opposite of this.

    8)

  214. Ah, yes. Another dedicated UFOlogist plays to type!

    Show up making grandiose claims and touting loads of earth shattering evidence, then lie about same and disappear when called on the b.s. History repeats itself.

    Of course, Eric is probably off doing some nuclear engineering, so I shouldn’t be too hard on him. And besides, I’m just being an obnoxious skeptic who refuses to open his mind to the Truth™. (Now on DVD for only $49.99!!! Act now, before the black helicopters come and confiscate all the disks! Cuz, you know, they will!)

  215. Acronym Jim

    Sockpuppet #71 said: “If you were to time-travel back some thousand years with a Blackberry Storm….”

    Wow, MY Blackberry didn’t come with that app. Where can I buy one?

  216. Jimmy

    I see a lot of long winded comments by a lot of obviously egotistical people.

    Here’s the bottom line, ready?

    NOT ONE OF YOU KNOW JACK SQUAT ANYTHING. so stop writing diatribes of
    absolutely no meaning. Nobody reads the long ones anyhow. bla bla bla

  217. Lars

    Eye-witness testimonies must be taken with a kilo of salt (grains don’t cut it!). With every aircraft investigation many “eye-witnesses” report completely opposing facts. With TWA 800 in 1996 people “saw” a missile shooting up towards the aircraft. This was after the sound of the initial explosion hit them and they turned to look in that direction. The pictures taken were found to be false. One photo was discovered to have been taken in the opposite direction as that to the aircraft. The others were shown to be artifacts from the lenses and internal components from the camera itself. Much like many UFO pictures. Investigators have staged UFO sightings: standing on hill tops with lighted hats and the like. Then they inquire about what people called in to the police to report. They invariably report large, round objects, moving, etc. It was a man with a lighted bar on his head, not moving. These weren’t pranks, mind you, but investigations into the psychology of what people see and why. After looking at the video in question here with the ‘ice crystals’ I can say that nothing is really descernable from it. We don’t know how close the image is to the hull, or what is happening outside the orbiter. If I had to guess at what I was seeing I’d say insulation or ice floating around the shuttle. I saw nothing going in opposite directions though. Oh, and I always had issues with Columbus “discovering” a continent. There were people already living here. And my ancestors the Vikings landed in North America hundreds of years earlier but that pesky mini-ice age was too much for them.

  218. Acronym Jim

    As we all know, Vikings, because of their addiction to wind power, caused global cooling*.

    Sorry Lars, I couldn’t resist.

    *For global warming deniers, It’s a joke, not a call to arms keyboards.

  219. @221:

    Actually, Jimmy, some people DO know squat about something. UFO nuts who claim to be nuclear engineers yet don’t understand the physics of gases would fall into that category, I’d say.

    People who make comments on blogs dismissing everyone and everything while admitting they don’t read “the long ones” would be another.

  220. Jeff in Tucson

    Arguing with people who believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft is like arguing with creationists…it can’t be done. You can’t debate someone who bases their viewpoint on philosophical belief from a position of logic. I, for one, believe that the “ice crystals” are ACTUALLY leprechauns–they just got tired of sharing their gold with us humans and went to hide out in space. That’s why they seem to scatter every which way when they see the space shuttle coming. They don’t want the astronauts getting their gold! ;) Ice in space…geeze…

  221. Greg in Austin

    @Jeff in Tucson,

    How do you know they’re leprechauns, and not mostly-invisible pink unicorns? Where’s your evidence? ;)

    *hehe* Leprechauns.

    8)

  222. @221 Jimmy

    Clearly, quite a lot of the people on here know what they’re talking about – those were pretty good descriptions I read of the behaviour of gasses in a vacuum. And, just so you know, there are those of us with a pretty good attention span. I read all 226 posts, because I found it, y’know…interesting. Then again, it’s easy to criticise those who are clearly quite clever – they’re just so downright threatening, aren’t they?

    Indy

  223. Shutterbugtodd

    I think that someone needs to experience a UFO within a hundred feet and have knowledge of what is within the realm of what G forces a person could survive. I never believed in UFOs and always thought there was some natural or earthly explanation for the sightings people have witnessed. One evening, my son called me outside my home, excitedly telling me to look up our driveway. An oval shaped disk a hundred yards across, “I know this because it was at the top of our trees”, moving at a walking pace out to the middle of a field. This craft proceeded to move skyward to the point that it looked like a million other stars in the sky. It happened within a second. I served many years in the Air Force training pilots and know that the G forces that this craft would of sustained would of killed anyone. You tell me. I still believe that most sightings out there are explainable, but I now know that there is something out there that is unexplained and not of our making.

  224. Humansnotidiots

    IF NASA IS NOT TAMPERING WITH PICTURES AND EVIDENCE SUCH AS IN GOOGLE MARS, AND MOON, AND IF THERE EXISTS NO UFO, WHY ALL THE ”NERVOUSNESS”? PEOPLE ARE SERIOUSLY STARTING TO MAKE CONNECTIONS LIKE WHEN THERE’S A SUPPOSED UFO AND THEN THEY HAVE SOMETHING ON TV TO PROVE IT WAS FAKE, AND ALL THESE ATTEMPTS LOOK VERY EXTREMELY DESPERATE, THEY’RE BASICALLY GIVING THEMSELVES IN. THERE’S A HUGE COVER UP BECOMING MORE AND MORE OBVIOUS TO PEOPLE AND WORD OF MOUTH IS GETTING AROUND VERY RAPIDLY! IT’S VERY OBVIOUS THAT ALL THIS IS FOR SELFISH REASONS, AND THAT MOST PEOPLE TYPING HERE HAVE EITHER BEEN PAID OR WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO STICK UP FOR THEM. IN THE END THE TRUTH WILL SHINE AND OUR BROTHERS FROM THE STARS WILL COME, SADLY THE GOVERNMENT HAS SOLD THEMSELVES TO THE GREYS.

  225. I’m sure that “most” ufo’s can be explained as natural phenomena or optical illusions. However, some, for example, when multiple airline pilots (on different airlines) verify a strange object, which is also captured on radar -deserve closer attention and …honesty!

    I am frankly disappointed in the gross display of prejudicial, unscientific thinking and willingness to accept unproven hypothoses & erroneous conclusions; after all, its Bad Astronomy. Not to mention, the name-calling is disappointing as well.

    I would think that subscribers to “Discover Magazine” would be more willing to …discover, and explore intruiging and mysterious new data. To simply dismiss data, or a hypothesis, just because there happen to be “nutjobs” who believe in ufos, is not at all logical. There are also pulitzer prize winning doctors, professors, scientists, astronauts, etc. who also attest to the existence of extra-terrestrial spacecraft, or ufos.

    But to get back to the topic, there are a lot of really compelling videos from NASA (some of it live-feed) that show truly bizarre anomalies. As with “ufos” many of these anomalies aren’t actually anomalies, rather, they represent particle reflections, satellites, debris, etc. But many obviously do not fit these explanations. Now, I’m no astro-physicist, but I know that “they’re just ice crystals” doesn’t cut the mustard for many of the anomalies photographed by NASA.

    For instance, the video in question (I believe) is that taken from the Discovery shuttle in 91, which shows a light colored object (or “ice crystal reflection”) seeming to appear in Earth’s atmosphere, travel slowly, slow down and stop right before a flash, and then take off in another direction (seeming to leave the atmosphere & jet out into space). My questions are as follows.
    1) How is it physically possible for an ice crystal to change velocity (slowing down and stopping) and direction due to the impact of thrusters or jets.
    2) Just after the object stops, there is a flash, and then a beam of some sort that shoots out from the Earth directly toward where the object was prior to jetting away. What is this “beam” that seems to have been aimed in the direction of this object.
    3) Since the camera is focused on infinity, as it is apparantly focused on the far away Earth, how would an object of any moderate size very near the shuttle show up, as such, on camera? We can see that when the camera pans down to the shuttle bay, everything is blurry until the camera focuses on close-range.

    If anyone can offer me an explanation that is logical and physically possible, I would gladly accept it. Sure, its not as fun as government Star Wars equipment shooting at giant ufos, but I’m all about finding the TRUTH (whether its unbelievably strange OR undeniably boring). I discuss this NASA video, (as well as the multitude of astronauts who claim to have seen alien spacecraft) on my humorous blog, What’s Up With Aliens. Feel free to comment “politely” on any of my posts, at whatsupwithaliens.blogspot.com

    This has been a truly invigorating discussion!! Let’s keep our eyes and our minds open.

  226. I’d be very surprised if any of the NASA shuttle videos turned out to be flying saucers. I see ice particles.

    But I feel I really have to take issue with the very unscientific ad hominem attacks on anyone who believes UFOs might be real, calling them “nutjobs”, “red necks”, “hillbillies” etc.

    That’s not a very skeptical position, either. It’s not true that there’s no physical evidence for the existence of UFOs. Photos are evidence, and there are some that still defy explanation after decades of analysis. Videos are another. There are many cases of UFOs showing up on radar. And thousands of cases of UFOs reported by credible witnesses and trained observers, including astronomers and astronauts.

    I’m not saying “they’re here”. I’m just saying that generalising anyone who has seen a UFO as crazy, stupid or ignorant isn’t a scientific argument.

    There _is_ a case to be answered here. These sightings represent perhaps some as-yet unknown atmospheric phenomena or maybe, just maybe even, extraterrestrial visitation. I mean, there’s no reason why not, let’s face it. The galaxy is very, very old and we’re learning more and more that life can thrive in a much wider set of circumstances than we thought even 20 years ago. And it won’t be that long before we can build machines that could be smarter than we are that would be capable of “living” in deep space for thousands of years – more than long enough to traverse the vast distances between solar systems at comfortably sub-light speeds.

    As Fermi asked: where are they? But at the same time we argue that flying saucers can’t be real because “how would they get here?” It’s circular logic. Fermi’s paradox suggest we’re alone because if aliens did exist they’d be here by now, and anyone who sees what might be evidence of alien visitation is obviously mistaken because Fermi’s paradox suggests that we’re alone.

    Did someone mention Occam’s Razor yet? Well, here’s one for you. Which is the simplest explanation?

    Personally, while not at all convinced yet, I think dismissing the possibility that _some_ UFOs (maybe one in a million) are extraterrestrial spacecraft completely out of hand would be a mistake. The scientific community do themselves a huge disservice by leaving that question entirely to the “nutjobs”.

    I mean, when you see some of the risible “me too” research that gets funded these days, something like SETV doesn’t sound all that wasteful:

    http://www.setv.org/

    Personally, if I were looking for signs of alien life out there, I’d look for signs of artificiality in our own solar system, too.

  227. TBTO

    NASA had a moon rock within it’s grasp and could not tell that the moon had water in it. It took India to discover water on the moon. I doubt NASA is capable of seeing a real saucer even if it landed at the Cape. What a bunch of idiots. All the money given to NASA is rerouted to special research. NASA has barely enough funds left to do anything at all.

    We are not alone guys. If DNA is discovered in Martian rock that fell out of the skies, then we are not the only species that were made with DNA instructions. Then we must surmise that we are not alone.

  228. TBTO

    Scientist in General are parasites. I say this because most of the time they are just speculating. If you were a scientist and discovered a cure for cancer what would you do.
    Well the capitalistic corporations would sell the cure to the wealthy at overwhelming prices and give a watered down drug to the middle class just to keep them alive. You might even want to call it Medical slavery just like it is now health care.

    The Supreme court just ruled in favor of the drug companies by allowing Corporations to buy Presidents, Senators and Congress and judges.

    NASA should be dissolved because it cannot show result for all the investment that were put in it. We the people should push for dissolving this entity that is swallowing money year after year.

  229. RSleepy

    Of course there are conspiracy theorists who like to believe incredible stuff. On the other hand, of course science doesn’t know everything. And for that reason, reality very occasionally may throw us a curveball, something we really cant explain.

  230. qwyzl

    i believe in the POSSIBILITY of people from other planets. but i can’t believe every thing i hear about ufos either. a lot of it doesn’t ring true with me. on the other hand – oops, gotta go. a huge alien craft is hovering above my house, and the captain is calling to me telepathicsally. darn. i hate all these medical experiments. then again, may be i can ask them to remove that chip they put inside me. it really hurts…..

  231. I just wonder, if NASA is hiding to the general public the existence of UFO’s, why is it starving for money and resourses and don’t use that information to get public support and get HUGE ammounts of money from the government? I mean, seriously guys! The very thing that would solve NASA’s budget, hiden from everybody.. does that sound logical? Alas.

  232. Haplo

    I’m really annoyed with all the people that think there is this giant cover up. They say that the US government is running the cover up, but then would have to go on to involve just about every government in the world in this cover up as well, in order to explain why no OTHER government has reported aliens. Let’s assume this is true. Now, how exactly do they explain how not a single astronomer, the people who perpetually have telescopes aimed at the sky and have satellites in space staring out into the universe, has ever put forth an alien claim with the photographic and spectroscopic evidence to back it up. Every single one of them must be in on this huge conspiracy, too! Duh!
    Of course, every single astronomer on the face of the planet would want to be the first person to publish conclusive evidence of alien life, and would jump at the chance for the fame (and more importantly, the funding) this would bring them. So my question for all the cover up conspiracy theorists is ‘why exactly would every single astronomer on the face of the planet be involved in this monstrously huge cover up?’
    My guess is that the only answer I’ll get is *cricket*, *cricket*

  233. Damon

    Sorry, but too many educated minds (including my own) have seen too many strange things in the sky for it to be one long contrived series of coincidences and physics lessons. As for the government’s involvement in the coverup, that’s old hat. NASA’s JPL has it’s very own established internal process for airbrushing photos. Sorry Phil, but yours is just the opinion of one desperate, closed-minded scientist versus thousands of years of data which will exist whether or not your choose to ignore it.

    Bundling every single NASA UFO claim into “it’s just ice particles” was my first clue. You obviously only watched one or two videos and called it a night. Tsk tsk. So much for objective observation.

  234. eddie

    In reading these comments, I’ll have to say eric is a *classic” conspiracy theorist. Honing in on what he sees as one small inconsistency (although it doesn’t even exist), and making the argument all about that rather than backing up and looking at the big picture to aid his argument.

    And, oh, yeah, he’s. Wrong. About. Everything.

    But this has been vastly entertaining, I will say that.

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