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Month: December 2019

Aliens Smell Like a Fart

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Article By Eric Spitznagel                           November 25, 2019                        (popularmechanics.com)

• NASA’s roving Martian science lab, Curiosity, has detected dimethyl sulfide, methanethiol, and trace amounts of oxygen on Mars, along with the compounds we already know about, like nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. This is the same chemical composition as flatulence.

• Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysics postdoctoral associate at MIT, agrees. “Most of my work in astrobiology looks at anaerobic environments, which have a lot in common with the environments that produce farts. So, yes, aliens are reasonably likely to smell like farts.”

• There are other examples of planets and other celestial bodies with theoretically pungent life forms. For instance, Saturn’s icy moon Titan holds lakes of liquid methane. Using data from the Cassini space probe, NASA was able to replicate the mixture of nitrogen, methane, and benzene found on Titan to learn that Titan smells like farts and gasoline.

• Sousa-Silva points out that the molecule phosphine could be the key to detecting life on other planets. Phospine needs to be manufactured by a process associated with biological life on the earth, because it won’t exist naturally in a mild climate. So if phospine is detected on a habitable planet, there is likely to be life there.

• Carrie Paterson, an LA-based artist and expert in the “cosmology of the senses” points out that there are olfactory receptors not only in your nose but in our skin and internal organs. She thinks there is a “distinct possibility that we might be able to communicate with aliens through our sense of smell”. “A ‘moldy’ smell is not just a smell”, Paterson says, “it’s a sensation our bodies have in the presence of fungus. Fresh’ isn’t just about air without pollution, but rather, how a clean environment is sensed by our skin.” What might smell ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to an alien would depend on their particular ‘corporeal composition’.

• In 1996 in Varginha, Brazil, sisters Liliane and Valquíria encountered a creature they thought might be the devil. When their mother went to investigate, she noticed a putrid odor of ammonia hanging in the air. Ammonia is a sulphurous gas, similar to a fart. And it is the predominant odor on the planet Uranus.

• Michael Menkin, a former technical writer for NASA, has heard firsthand from extraterrestrial abductees that aliens “really smell.” Menkin says that “their alien-human hybrids (also) stink because they never bathe.” But as much as an alien’s odor may offend us, our human scent, and the scents we find appealing, might be just as offensive to them. “Right now I have an abductee who stops aliens by spraying Lysol all over her house,” said Menkin. “So Lysol works as well as perfumes.”

• [Editor’s Note] I recall Stewart Swerdlow saying that reptilians smelled horrible, like ammonia and sulfur. And it felt good to the reptilians to spray Lysol disinfectant spray on their body’s skin. Maybe that helped a little with the smell?

But something doesn’t ring true here. NASA is said to have detected dimethyl sulfide and methanethiol on Mars, supporting the flatulent atmosphere theory. But they found only “trace amounts of oxygen on Mars”. Those who claim to have been on Mars have all said that that there is enough oxygen in the atmosphere for light breathing without an oxygen tank.  I have never heard anyone who has been on Mars say that the air smelled like farts.

Is NASA feeding universities such as MIT data to make people think that the Mars atmosphere is not only uninhabitable but disgusting, to discourage anyone from wanting to go there?

 

Sometimes it takes a child to point out the important questions.

My 8-year-old is a burgeoning amateur scientist, so he keeps up with the latest science news a little more closely than I do. He learned recently that Curiosity, NASA’s roving Martian science lab, has been detecting some rather interesting organic and chemical molecules on the red planet, some of which could be clues of life. So far it’s discovered dimethyl sulfide, methanethiol, and most surprisingly, trace amounts of oxygen.

                       Clara Sousa-Silva

Along with the compounds we already know about, like nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, Mars has the same chemical composition of flatulence. Which led my son to one inescapable conclusion: If aliens exist, they probably smell like farts.

I don’t know enough about farts, Mars, or aliens to refute him, so I reached out to somebody who does: Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysics postdoctoral associate at MIT.

“Your son is absolutely correct in his inference,” she told me. “Most of my work in astrobiology looks at anaerobic environments, which have a lot in common with the environments that produce farts. So, yes, aliens are reasonably likely to smell like farts.”

And at least according to Sousa-Silva, the answer to that question is: not especially pleasant. Even if Martians denied it, they most definitely supplied it.

But we don’t need to single out Mars. There are other examples of planets and other celestial bodies with theoretically pungent life forms.

Saturn’s icy moon Titan has gotten a lot of attention of late, thanks to data collected from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft over a 14-year mission. Its lakes of liquid methane, which may be filled with alien crystals, have raised questions about the “possibility of life,” as NASA planetary geologist Rosaly Lopes phrased it to Reuters last week.

A few years back, some of the gases and hydrocarbons collected by Cassini were used to create a recipe that replicated the “aromatic flavors” of Titan. Composed mostly of nitrogen, methane, and benzene (and a few other aromatics), NASA researchers were able to create in the lab what could be dubbed Eau de Titan, the cologne of choice for Titan aliens (should they exist).

What they discovered: Titan smells like farts and gasoline.

Does that mean Titan aliens could conceivably share the hearty stench of a garage filled with flatulent auto mechanics? Possibly … but probably not, says Sara Seager, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT.

“If the alien life was producing hydrocarbons, that life would smell like gasoline,” she says. “Right now it sounds like the Titan atmosphere at large smells like gasoline, independent of life.”

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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Russia Reopens 60 Year Old Probe of Mysterious Soviet Hiker Deaths

 

November 25, 2019                           (stockdailydish.com)

• In February 1959, a group of Soviet graduate students were hiking 217 miles through extremely harsh terrain in the northern Ural Mountains of Russia known as the Dyatlov Pass. All were well-equipped, experienced hikers. They took pictures along the way and kept journals, describing the trip’s joyful atmosphere and other mundane things hikers do. All seemed like a typical trip to the mountains.

• But when the hikers failed to send a signal from the scheduled endpoint, a rescue team was dispatched to find them. The scene the rescuers stumbled onto was gruesome and puzzling at the same time. A tent was found empty, cut open from the inside. All belongings, including shoes, were left there intact. This led many to believe the students were forced to flee in terror, desperately trying to get out as quickly as they could.

• The first two shoeless hikers, dressed only in their underwear, were found lying under a pine tree about a mile from the tent. Three more bodies were located nearby. The last four victims were found several months later – buried under snow in a nearby creek. Four of the hikers had sustained massive internal injuries, skull fractures and chest damage. One woman had her eyes, tongue and part of her lips missing.

• A Soviet criminal probe could never establish why the hikers suddenly left the tent half-naked or explain the tragedy. The notes and photos made by the victims offered no clues. The final report only stated that everyone was killed by “an unknown overwhelming force.” Crime-related scenarios were discarded due to lack of evidence, say prosecutors. The case was shelved and by some accounts, even classified. More than 70 theories have been put forward on what may have caused the hikers’ deaths, ranging from secret military tests and radiation, to UFOs and paranormal activity.

• On November 22nd, a spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, Aleksandr Kurennoy, announced that investigators are officially reopening the case. Investigators and forensics experts will visit Dyatlov Pass in March to search for a plausible explanation for the incident. Said Kurennoy, the victims’ “relatives, media and the public want to know the truth.”

 

Army test, UFO or deadly blizzard? Russia reopens 60yo probe of mysterious Soviet hiker deaths Russian investigators are set to re-examine the chilling mystery of a deadly hiking trip made by group of Soviet students in 1959. The story spurred more than 70 theories and even inspired Hollywood thriller, ‘The Devil’s Pass’.

Known as the Dyatlov Pass incident the deaths of a Soviet student hiking group in a remote area in the Urals six decades ago remains one of Russia’s most chilling unsolved mysteries. It shocked and bewildered investigators right from the start. After the original probe failed to produce any results, the case was shelved and, by some accounts, even classified.

The eerie story inspired Hollywood director Renny Harlin to make the thriller Devil’s Pass in 2013. Now the authorities are determined to finally uncover what happened.

Investigators are officially reopening the probe, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, Aleksandr Kurennoy, on Friday. The victims’ “relatives, media and the public want to know the truth,” he said.

A group, led by Igor Dyatlov, embarked on their last hiking trip in February 1959. They were mostly in their 20s, graduate students at a local technical university. All were well-equipped, experienced hikers. The plan was to trek 350km (217 miles) through extremely harsh terrain in the northern Urals.

One student had to drop the hike due to leg pains, returning home early. That decision saved his life. Others went on. They took pictures along the way and kept journals, describing the trip’s joyful atmosphere and other fairly mundane things hikers do. All seemed like a typical trip to the mountains.

The hikers failed to send a signal from the scheduled endpoint however and a rescue team was dispatched to find them. The scene the rescuers stumbled onto was gruesome and puzzling at the same time.

The tent was found on a slope, which translates to ‘The Mountain of the Dead’ in the local dialect. It was empty, cut open from the inside by a sharp object. All belongings, including shoes, had been left there, intact. This led many to believe the students were forced to flee in terror, desperately trying to get out as quickly as they could.

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Ufology: From Fringe to Serious Science

 

Article by MJ Banias                          November 22, 2019                        (popularmechanics.com)

• In an interview with MJ Banias of Popular Mechanics, Richard Hoffman and Robert Powell discuss the creation of the ‘Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies’. Hoffman and Powell occupy two of the three seats on the non-profit’s governing board. The purpose of the ‘SCU’ is to establish a scientifically credible organization that will collect “multiple sensory data” on UAPs, such as radar tracks and video, which can be analyzed and studied by scientific experts, rather than to simply report and tally random UFO sightings. They intend to publish these studies in a biannual peer-reviewed journal set to begin next year.

• ‘Unidentified Ariel Phenomenon’ or UAP is the current rebranding of Unidentified Flying Objects because the term UFO carries too much cultural baggage.

• The SCU currently has 69 active members who are mostly scientists, former military officers, and former law enforcement personnel with technical experience and investigative backgrounds with companies and agencies such as Lockheed, NORAD, the U.S. Space Command, and NASA. Device physics expert Robert Powell says, “To date, there hasn’t been an extensive and well-funded scientific investigation of these phenomena using state-of-the-art investigative tools and a dedicated investigative team.” The SCU intends to change this.

• Richard Hoffman is a 25-year information technology expert on contract with the U.S. Army’s Material Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Hoffman notes that “The scientific community still has to deal with the decades of stigma associated with what they see as pseudoscience or fringe science.” “Many scientists do have interests in the phenomena, but are most often discouraged by others to embrace it so they hide it.”

• While the SCU doesn’t suppose that non-human intelligence is responsible for UFOs, some scientists have starting to ask more questions in the wake of revelations by the US Navy that UAPs having “capabilities…beyond any known technology” exist, and that the Pentagon ran an Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program to study UFOs. The organization has suggested that “the public release of all Navy records associated with (the Nimitz ‘tic tac’ UFO) incident to enable a full, scientific and open investigation is strongly recommended.”

• Still, contemporary ufology makes many academics and scientists nervous. For as long as humans have claimed to have seen UFOs, the established scientific community has been conditioned to consider them nonsense. And the decades-long taboo surrounding UFOs can still kill a professional career. When physical evidence or data has been presented, the well-established ufological conspiracy and myth-making machines set out to discredit that data.

• In 1953, the Robertson Panel was formed at the behest of the government to look at UFO reports after a string of odd aerial objects were seen over Washington, D.C. the previous year. The panel concluded that UFOs posed no risk to national security. Furthermore, it proposed that the National Security Council actively debunk UFO reports and make them the subject of ridicule. The Panel even recommended that UFO investigative and research groups be monitored by intelligence agencies for subversive activity. (see Robertson Panel Report here)

• In 1969, the US Air Force and the University of Colorado produced the Condon Report to close down Project Blue Book (see Condon Report here). A controversial memorandum surfaced that revealed that the report itself had to “trick” the public into thinking the study was objective, but would ensure that the final and official position is that all UFO incidents were hoaxes, delusion and human error. (see memorandum here) UFOs were lumped in with stories of space men from Venus, alien bases in Antarctica, and a subculture of people claiming to be alien channelers, time-traveling ambassadors, and new-age UFO prophets.

• Other UFO study organizations include Project Hessdalen in Norway that monitors strange light phenomena, and the UFO Data Acquisition Project that is designing computer software to monitor and track aerial phenomenon as well as provide metadata that can be analyzed. Alexander Wendt is a political science professor at the Ohio State University who sits on the board of UFOData which also tracks anomalous phenomena in the skies. According to Wendt, neither the government nor the established scientific community are going to fund UFO research. Says Wendt, “I don’t get the sense the scientific community is any more interested or open than it was before. The solution seems to be crowdfunding or finding private donors to invest in these projects.

• In the end, we are simply left to wonder, “What if?” Could the source of some of these data-rich UFO incidents be secret government technology, an alien intelligence, or something fundamentally beyond our physical and philosophical understanding?

[Editor’s Note]  While the purported intention of this article is to bring the UFO community the good news that “real” scientists have stepped forward to conduct “serious” study of the UFO phenomenon, the underlying design of the article, as is typical of this writer, MJ Banias, is to create ‘limited disclosure’ by separating scientifically worthy UFO data from the “conspiracy theories” that deserve to remain on the fringe. I suspect that Banias’ assertive use of the term UAP rather than UFO is also a subconscious cue to treat UAPs as legitimate and UFOs as crazy talk. Soon they will draw a hard line of demarcation as to the type of UFOs that people should pay attention to, and the type that people should not.

The clever Banias employs the mention of past official efforts to stymie UFO research to make his writing seem fair and objective, as if he is “fighting the stigma”. Banias ends the article with the open-ended question “what if” to make it appear that his limited disclosure camp would actually consider that these UFOs might be associated with intelligent extraterrestrial sources interacting with our world – which he doesn’t. MJ Banias can barely wrap his head around the Navy authenticating UFOs with unknown technology. He can’t even bring himself to use the term UFO. To Banias, the existence of anything beyond nebulous UAP sightings is still impossible, belonging to the realm of kooky science fiction rather than mainstream science. Banias maintains the same old dictum: ‘extraterrestrials do not exist, therefore it can’t be extraterrestrials’ while the deep state grins.

 

For as long as humans have claimed they’ve seen UFOs—and it’s been a long, long time—the established scientific community has more or less considered them to be nonsense. While that hasn’t changed much, even as we’re in the midst of a modern ufological renaissance, some renegade scientists are fighting to bring academic rigor to UFO research.

Take Richard Hoffman, a 25-year information technology expert on contract with the U.S. Army’s Material Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. As a Senior Lead Architect, he keeps the Army’s digital infrastructure running and safe from attack.

             Richard Hoffman

He’s also a UFO researcher.

“The scientific community still has to deal with the decades of stigma associated with what they see as pseudoscience or fringe science,” Hoffman tells Popular Mechanics. “Many scientists do have interests in the phenomena, but are most often discouraged by others to embrace it so they hide it.”

Hoffman is one of three board members who run a nonprofit scientific organization known as the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU). Unknown or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) is the current rebranding of unidentified flying objects (UFO), a term that many believe to carry too much cultural baggage.

                        Robert Powell

“There are very few UFO organizations remaining today,” Hoffman says. “Of the few that do remain, they each have their unique contributions to the phenomena, but most are in data collection roles versus long term scientific study of cases.”

The difference with the SCU—and it’s a big one—is that it collects data that can be analyzed and studied by scientific experts, subsequently generating peer-reviewed papers published in journals and on websites, says Hoffman. The SCU doesn’t collect day-to-day UAP sighting reports, but rather, digs into the more complex cases where multiple sensory data like radar tracks and video may exist.

 

An Objective of Legitimacy

The SCU played a significant role in studying the Nimitz UFO Encounter, when it released a nearly 300-page report on the incident. The requisite refresher: Two year ago, the New York Times posted a story about Navy pilots who intercepted a strange object off the coast of San Diego in November 2004 and captured video of the object with their F-18’s gun camera.

Earlier this month, Popular Mechanics published a story about several other military personnel who also witnessed the Nimitz encounter on their radar systems and over their ship’s video system.

The SCU paper examined the available public data and testimony available regarding the case and concluded that the “results suggest that given the available information, the AAV’s capabilities are beyond any known technology.”

To be clear, the SCU hasn’t concluded that some non-human intelligence is responsible. Fully aware of the significant gaps in data, the organization has suggested that “the public release of all Navy records associated with this incident to enable a full, scientific and open investigation is strongly recommended.”

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